I am learning to get better at taking a breath and saying to myself, 'let go, hold life lightly and find the funny'. I realise in that moment I am OK. And when I am OK, I'm in a far stronger place to help others feel OK too.
In many cases once the destination of yesterday's more is attained, this now creates a hunger for a new level of more. It's no different from the concept of a goalpost that keeps moving. Take one of my clients for example, finally in the job role of her yesterday's dreams.
I was 28 and he was 50 at the time. He sported long, silvery hair that was always clasped into a thin ponytail. He looked like an active member of a retired rock band. His name was not Paul. But I'll call him that anyway to respect his desire for anonymity.
Craig, you made my day. Actually Craig, scrap that. You made my week. You reminded me that regardless of the dire political and economic states of my two residences (London and North Carolina), there are still some incredible people out there. You may not have written an acclaimed novel on the collapse of the Soviet Union or performed Chopin blindfolded but you made me and my mum smile a lot.
Our minds become cluttered, thoughts, ideas and memories whizzing around with no place to rest. If our environment mirrors this inner chaos, our senses pick up on it and the inner chaos is likely magnified.
I never entertained the thought of a gap year. I thought such a year was meant for traveling and I've never been enamored by the idea. Schools don't really talk to you seriously about taking a year out; it's sort of a "you're on your own" policy, which is a scary concept even when your gap year is premeditated.
One of my favourite places to go and visit is the local graveyard. We live on a square block, the streets conveniently named North, East, South and West, and the cemetery is on the North side of the square. I have no relatives or friends buried there, in fact, I have no connection to anyone there. But there's something about the ambience, the peace and the love that has gone into that patch of land that permeates the air and is hard to find anywhere else.
How therefore can the process of finding happiness be termed as 'simple'? Once we get over the first step of taking responsibility for our lives on our terms - which is the hardest part of self-discovery and which takes real courage- the rest is easy.
Is there a formula for happiness? Well not exactly - lots of things contribute to how we feel in the moment and about our lives overall, and it varies from person-to-person and over time. But if I had to pick a number - when it comes to happiness that might well be three.
Happiness is an inside job. No one can make us happy. There is no point in waiting for someone to come along and take that responsibility for us - it's ours. And on top of that - if we assign the responsibility of our happiness to someone else what a huge burden we are putting on their backs.