No, beer is not the answer, but sometimes it helps. In the past year, I’ve got much better at feeling good. I haven’t made any dramatic changes to my life, although I wasn’t unhappy before, I think I’ve just found a few easy ways of keeping my fun levels topped up. I’m more active, fitter and healthier, but I am spending less time in the gym. I’m learning new things all the time, but I’m not studying. I’ve balanced myself.
I think living in a city tricks you into thinking you have to go to the gym to keep fit and be a healthy person. In fact, cities and life in general can trick you into all sorts of stuff. I’ve been following, subconsciously, a set of rules recently. I thought writing them down might help others find their balance.
- Wake up early, not because you have to get to work early, but so you can enjoy a decent breakfast and watch the news. If you get up really early, you could have time to watch the sun rising from a hill somewhere. I put this one first for a reason.
- Explore your surroundings. Start small by looking on maps for green places you’ve never been near your house. Then, go further afield. You might find your own secret place.
- Challenge yourself and commit to it. It’s easy to say you want to do something and forget about it. Make a plan. Do it for charity. Then you’re committed.
- Observe nature. Actually look for plants and animals around you. You’ll learn real stuff. Don’t just go for a walk while texting or checking your twitter feed… you’re far more likely to step in dog shit.
- Exercise for a reason. Don’t waste hours in the gym pulling all your muscles so they look better. Pull your muscles climbing rocks, running up hills, swimming in the sea or doing something you’d want to hear a story about. Honestly, nobody wants to hear about how you did a really big leg day in the gym.
- Leave work, at work. Even when you love your job, like I sometimes do, there will be things you don’t like about it. I prefer to do all my complaining at work, while I’m getting paid for it. If your boss is Hitler reincarnate, don’t take them home with you.
- Go at your own pace. Some people are always looking to tell you how you should do things and how easy you should find it etc. It’s hard to ignore that sort of stuff. I like to do things nobody else wants to do, like walk home from the M25. This way nobody can tell you how long it should take. Do it your way, at your speed and for your own reasons.
- Write. I’ve always written bits, mainly poetry. Recently I’ve been blogging, as you know because you’re here. I go on adventures because I want to write about them. I look for animals so I can see how they move and get a sense of their character… so I can write about them.
- Share. Share your adventures. You might have to compromise on some things but an adventure shared can be worth it. This isn’t always easy. You might end up not being able to go at your own pace. You might have to pretend to be interested in the history of tin mining (actually really interesting ). You will however, be able to talk about your shared adventures for years to come.
- Be alone. Not all the time, that would make you Howard Hughes, but do give yourself some time. If there’s something you really want to do, and you don’t want to compromise on anything, then just do it yourself. Nothing kills the fun more than flogging a dead horse.
Here’s a collage of recent happiness, that I stumbled upon by unknowingly following these rules.
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