I went for a run this morning. This is not entirely unusual, but today I had been awake for an hour and a half thinking about stuff before I left the house ... at 7am, on a Sunday. What a waste of a good sleep-in opportunity!
As I was jogging through the sunrise, listening to my running playlist and noticing that no-one else was up, I realised that I felt happy. Relaxed. Content even. Such a difference from the hour and a half I had just spent lying in bed but not relaxing.
This post is more about life lessons than formal education, but that is the whole point. Learning isn't just in the classroom or lecture theatre. Some of my hardest lessons in the last few years have been about life. And they have been some of the most important things I have learned too.
What I remembered this morning was how important it is to notice those moments of happiness when they happen. Often things are really busy, and there is so much going on in my head about what has happened, and what is going to happen, and what I need to do to make it happen, or not happen as the case may be, that there is no space for what is happening now. In psychologist-speak being able to look at that now is called mindfulness (I think), and I am very bad at it.
It is so important to be able to find that clear space though.
When I run, I need to go out for quite a while (as in an hour or so, not a marathon). I spend the first bit running myself in and going through the things that have been bugging me, one by one, until I have some sort of resolution or action plan for each. I need to know where I am going, so I always run the same basic route, because at this beginning point of my run I am not actually focussed on the run itself.
Once I am about a third of the way around, I have to focus on the running as there is a bit of a hill and some blind corners, and it's a country road with no footpaths. I have injured myself both going up this hill and stretching out and speeding up at the top before my legs were ready, so I have to really watch my technique here. This is excellent, because if I haven't finished dealing with all my issues by then, I am forced to give up on them and ignore them. And if they are so far down my priority list that I haven't got to them yet, they actually can't be that important.
Then I get to the top, and the fun bit. This morning the birds were all out finding breakfast, so there were loads of them flying around. The light was all pinky-sunrise and clear, and all the smells were variations of green. This is where I find happiness. Once I get around that top corner and onto the gravel road that comes back down I have dealt with the things that bother me, I don't have to think about technical stuff, I can just stretch out, turn the music up, look around at the empty countryside and feel good.
This is my time to find and notice and acknowledge happiness.
I think it is a really important part of life to have something or somewhere that you know you can be happy. Somewhere that you can consciously let go of all the dumb stuff, and the niggly stuff, and the mundane. For me, in my introverted little world, that means being alone and having space to open up my mind. For you, it may be something completely different.
But finding that place, each for themselves, is something that is actually very hard to learn, and yet so very important.
Where do you go to be happy? Is it a conscious thing, or do you just fall into it by default and then remember, like me? How did you learn to notice when you're happy?
And how do I set the timestamp to here, so it knows it is actually Sunday, and not Saturday like it says at the top?