It occurred to me as I cycled my dutch cruiser bike through the dead streets of Nuremberg early one Sunday morning, why is happiness so elusive? We are constantly striving for it, but the truth is we cannot be happy all the time. But we can damn well try!
I am in the middle of a world trip as I write this, and I should be happy right? I should feel amazing!! I am living the dream! I am ticking that bucket list off like a crazy woman possessed, but I will be honest, I am not always happy.
I find it hard to show my sadness; no one wants to be around a sad sack right? My parents were very good at concealing their emotions, and only showing positive good happy everything is awesome in life type ones. And generally I am that person too. When I wrote my Cranky Pants post, I had a great response from my readers, which has encouraged me to keep working on my authentic writing voice, regardless of emotion. It is a false perception that travelling the world is always fun and awesome, some days it is hard work, and fucking tiring. Like really exhausting. Try continually getting orientated in a new city over and over for weeks on end, god, it is draining! Fun, yes, mostly, but sometimes hard work.
Like this morning; I was mostly in a good mood. I had a great evening with a friend touring around Nuremberg by bicycle the night before. We stopped heaps for drinks and food and photos and it was so nice for me to let go of worrying about;
“Where in the hell am I?”
This constant concern about being lost; is just an emotion you have to face full frontal when you travel heaps. My mood was great after spending time with my high energy friend, I was sad to wave him goodbye, but he had other things to do. And a wife!
So, the next morning I found myself flying solo once again. I rose early-ish, and made my way out on my blue cruiser, feeling optimistic. To my shock and horror, nothing was open! I mean nothing! Not even a coffee shop. All my good intentions of buying my vanilla infused black coffee and crispy oven heated croissant were out the window! I nearly wept a tear at this point.
But no, I soldiered on, because I am strong, and capable and not crazy. Much. I finally found THE only cafe open in town, so wheeled up and made my way inside. Now I just want to point out I am a super fussy and pedantic eater. I can be a complete pain in the arse when it comes to food. I know that. But hey I know what I like. So, I ordered a black coffee and croissant, hoping to get that same satisfaction I felt from eating them only the day before at (small cough…please don’t hate me) Starbucks. I am usually not a fan of chains but they put vanilla in the coffee! I love that! And they use an oven to heat the croissants! So much better!
I sat with my purchases looking forward to them, then boom. The coffee is bitter and tastes like shit, like bitter weak lousy nasty yucky spit that shit out coffee. And the croissant, fuck! SOGGY!! She heated it in the microwave!! Who does that??? Completely ruins a good croissant. I literally took one bite then spat it out in disgust. I nearly threw it against the window, but I thought that might be a slight over reaction to my dissatisfaction. Muttering a very audible “Fuck this shit” I get up and leave. Pissed off, disappointed, and now in a filthy mood. Not only did I pay 6 euros maybe about $10, I hated every aspect of what was served. Not happy Jan. Told you I was fussy.
So then I shook all that shit off. It wasn’t at that point I was feeling all philosophical, more mad. I pedalled on into my day, gradually letting my disastrous breakfast go. I rode my bike out of the city centre and towards the river and around lovely green and tree lined pathways to the pool where I was planning to swim. I went in, it was cold, I swam about 6 laps and then couldn’t really be bothered swimming any more. The weather had turned cold and rainy, damn it! But I didn’t mind so much, my mood had lifted again. And the pool was awesome, well it would have been more awesome if it was a sunny day. The best part, my cycle and swim had cooled me down and enabled me to let my stress go.
As I rode my bike back from the pool in the pouring rain, getting drenched, I thought:
“Wow, travelling is so fun, NOT.”
As the rain splattered my face, and I felt cold and wet, I did wonder to myself
“What the hell was I doing?”
Travelling has a way of stripping you bare, it makes you vulnerable, it makes you face your true self. Face the facts sister, the reality is life does have its ups and downs. We travel to be happy, well we think this will make us happy. Reality check, just like being at home, you can feel up and down as you travel too.
My main problem is that I was still grieving. My grief waves are all consuming, and I get all teary, and feel terrible. I open that door to my memories and feel so sad. Travelling has made me feel very isolated too. When I am with my friends I am good, but on my own, I am on my own. And it makes me realise, I am really ON MY OWN. My family have all died. I do have some extended family who I have been reaching out to and I thank you for your support and love, I love you too. I really miss the love of my Mum and Dad. This unconditional love is irreplaceable. Their memories are all I have now; and I cherish them, even when they make me sad.
I feel compelled to write their stories, my story, what they taught me, because they are no longer here to tell it. If something happens to me, its all gone! Everything they taught me, kapoof. I want to share my teachings with the world, and I am already, hopefully. Love your family as much as you can, make the most of your life, and try and find happiness in the simple things.
Happiness is a choice.
This is what I have been trying to get at in this post. As I rode my bike getting drenched from the rain, I thought;
“I could choose to hate this or laugh at it, I choose to be happy and enjoy this as a unique experience.”
So I did. I quite like the rain, oh yeah I love that wet stuff! I smiled, facing my adversity, laughing at it in fact, like a complete nutter, riding along in the rain laughing to myself. Deciding to be happy, regardless of my soggy croissant, bitter coffee, fear of getting lost and fear of being on my own. I choose happiness, it is so much more fun.
I went to the shops and bought raspberries. I love raspberries, raspberries make me happy. Keep it simple. I also love dark chocolate with mint, in moderation, also good. I also love writing, this makes me happy, so I wrote this. And now I feel even happier. What can you do to feel happy? Like right now? Do not put off your happiness. Also accept that you can not be happy all the time, but you can try and work on it most of the time…
Choose to be happy now, and try do simple things that do not cost a lot of money to stay happy. Riding a bike in the rain is free, may not make you super happy, but it’s fun right? Haha!
Love Anita xxx
P.S. Please tell me what makes you happy? One small thing? One little comment! Just for me!? I dare you!
P.P.S I just knocked off another block of Ritter Sport Dark Peppermint Chocolate, damn that stuff is good!