“On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous
I have been procrastinating this morning, which, with thanks to the interwebnet, we can all do spectacularly well; a technological advancement, allowing us the chance to look at cats in bread whilst forgetting we have ‘stuff to do’. I have just read an article which opened with the above quote from Anonymous. I’m not sure who Anonymous is, but they give amazing quotes. They are all over the internet. Anyway, it got me thinking – I touched on life being about forks in the road on my first blog post, but what about the path you are on right now? Is it making you happy?
“You are free to make what ever choice you want, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice” – Anonymous
Every single day, we make hundreds of subconscious choices, from what we eat, when we eat, whether to watch TV or go for a walk, and whether to update your facebook status to a controversial topic which will make imaginary-Brenda spit fire, or whether to just post a picture of a cucumber sandwich with the aspiration of getting 50 likes from fellow procrastinators.
But what about the big choices we have made?
In my life, I can think in an instant of life decisions i have made which were disastrous, but also, ones which have changed my life for the better. When you really think about the choices we make, ultimately, it all comes down to our pursuit of happiness, or the happiness of others.
The last thing anyone wants to do through their life is think ‘What if…’. What if I had taken the job opportunity… what if I had said yes… what if I had moved to Bognor-Regis… what if I had eaten lunch after that gym session. Is it time we asked another question? ‘When and how…’. Sometimes we let once in a lifetime opportunities pass us by, and in the moment, we make a choice which is driven by our quest for happiness. Why would anybody make a choice that will make them unhappy?
I made a life changing choice 11 years ago. I was a Support Worker in Bradford, West Yorkshire. A superb job, helping the unemployed back in to work. However, as it was a government funded programme, the powers-that-be cut funding, and the project was dissolved, thus, I was made redundant. So, what next? I could jump into yet another call centre job, but I felt the need to broaden my horizons. I have always been a bit of a risk taker, and a complete magpie in my personality so *insert weeks of looking for jobs and going for interviews here* I was offered a job based in Madrid. I gave notice on my gorgeous rented home, sold my car, packed up my life and moved! It was a move that made me nervous as it was a step into the darkness – I had no idea what was going to happen and how I would put one foot in front of the other, but isn’t that a real motivator to keep going? As it happens, the job was not the one for me, and after 4 or 5 months I decided to move back to the UK. Do I regret it? Not at all. Admittedly, I came back to the UK absolutely broke, with no car, no house, but… not for a moment did I think that moving overseas was a bad move to make. I was happy in Madrid. Happiness is living in a vibrant European capital city and thinking ‘this is my home’.
I would hate to think, as I get into my twilight years, that I sit there in my comfy lazy-boy sofa, looking back on my life, thinking ‘I could have done so much more’. I am 36 now, I own my own business, I have a beautiful home, a gorgeous dog, a loving partner, a great family, a small group of loyal and amazing friends – so there is not much for me to think bad about my life at the moment. I am not a greedy person. I do not crave excessive money or ‘stuff’ (it would be nice, but it doesn’t keep me awake at night). I am currently studying to improve myself in my career and have plans to emigrate to Canada in the future, so I like to think I am feathering my nest for years to come.
I went to Prague in December 2015, and saw this quote, which I adore. It was emblazoned on a wall which gets freely and regularly graffiti’d.
“May the best of your past be the worst of your future” – Graffiti wall in Prague
Isn’t that true of all of our lives? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to be better than we were yesterday, by using those hundreds of choices we make each day to create a legacy of happiness? Rather than falling down a rabbit hole of several hours of social media and shopping, could that time be used to improve your life?
…and would that make you happy?