Stop waiting to be happy

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Featured, Life | 0 comments

Stop waiting to be happy

The place to be happy is here,
the time to be happy is now”.


This quote really resonated with me.  We are always waiting for the weekend, the next holiday, payday, retirement or some other future event to make us happy.  How often have you heard (or said) the phrase “Once I get (a new job, that house, that car, more time, more money) I’ll be happy“.

There is no secret to happiness, no luck involved, happy people make their happiness a priority.  I have learned that you need to put time and energy into making yourself happy, it is not something that just happens on it’s own.  This means doing the things that make you feel energised and happy, spending time with people who inspire and support you, and taking time out for yourself.

Do what you love with people you love.  For me, happiness is travelling, getting to experience new places and cultures while learning about myself in the process.  I surround myself with people who make me want to be my best and challenge me to be better, people who inspire me.

I am proud of myself for having the courage to recognise that I wasn’t happy, and changing my circumstances.  When I made the decision to quit my job and move overseas there were many people who made me feel like I was the opposite of courageous – that I was a coward, copping out, that I wasn’t tough enough for the “real” world.  Or worse, that my life had no meaning now I wasn’t a money hungry corporate lawyer.

It’s hard not to let those voices get to you, it’s enough of a struggle trying to overcome the one in your head!  But ask yourself right now – am I satisfied with the life I am living? Is this enough for me? If the answer is a hesitant no, only you can change your circumstances to change it to a wholehearted yes.

Living in Beijing is not easy and fun all the time, there is pollution, people spitting in the street, language barriers and no beach!  But I feel alive every day.  I am experiencing amazing new things, broadening my horizons, expanding my mind, and that’s more than I can say working 9-5 (or more like 8-8) did for me.

Ask anyone who is doing what they love, and they will tell you that even though it might be hard work, they are happy.  We should be interested and inspired by what we do, not just blankly go through the motions.




Ask yourself, what is it that you want to do? Not what you should do, or are expected to do, but what do you actually desire?  Die with memories not dreams, because in the end you will regret the chances you didn’t take.  I guarantee even if it doesn’t work out as planned, you will learn something valuable about yourself and life along the way, I know I am.

You can choose to be happy in each moment, so chose to be happy now.  I woke up one morning so. not. happy.  It was a gloomy Beijing winter morning with a temperature of -10 degrees celsius and a dense cloud of pollution sitting over the city, so it basically felt like the apocalypse was coming.  I spent a solid half an hour grumbling to myself and feeling generally cranky with the world.

Then I literally stopped and had a stern talk to myself.  I was choosing to be negative and unhappy, and all that was going to achieve was make me feel down, and likely those around me as well.  I could continue on that path, or I could chose to be present and grateful, and decide to have a good day.

I chose to have a good day (seems like a pretty obvious choice right?!)  I left early for my language school on my push bike, and slowly rode my way to school, stopping along the way to appreciate all of the things I would never have gotten to see if we hadn’t moved to China.

You are always in charge of your attitude.  Yes annoying things will happen to you, people will say stupid things and your boss might have chosen to be a nightmare, but you are in charge of your reaction to all of it.  You cannot control other people or their actions, the only thing you have control over is yourself.  So, what kind of day do you want to have, or better yet, what kind of life do you want to have?  We are not given a good life or a bad life, we are just given life, it’s up to us what we do with it.  The choice is with all of us.

Don’t forget to keep some perspective too.  At the end of the day if you have clean water, shelter, safety and health be thankful because there are billions of people around the world who are fighting for survival.  As the song goes “accentuate the positive” – focus on the things you have, and the things that make you happy.

Something that took me a while to learn was not to ‘globalise’.  If one thing would go wrong I would go down a negative spiral and everything else would be viewed in a negative light as well, I would allow that one bad thing to get to me.  I would also play out a range of negative “what if…” scenarios in my head and get stressed and worried about the possibilities.

I now realise this is such a waste of time and energy – there is no point worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet.  Don’t hold grudges, anger or resentment, if you keep these feelings inside you are just causing yourself to feel negative emotions.  Let it go, and move on.

If nothing ever changes nothing ever changes.  If you never challenge yourself to try new things you will never achieve new things.  Only you have the power to create the life you want to live, no one else can do it for you.

Every second of every minute of every day you make choices.  How you react to things,  whether you chose to be present in the moment or worrying about the past or the future.  If you want to lose weight chose to love your body and nourish it with good wholesome food and move more.  If you hate your job get a different one, or change your attitude.  Stop complaining and take responsibility, your life is the way it is because you have made it so.

If you want to be happy, be happy!


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