“And they lived happily ever after.” Think about this line for a few minutes. Are you living happily ever after? If not, what will it take for you to get there?
It is tempting to state “I hope so” and argue that we can not know what the future holds for us. When I faced the question, my mind immediately leapt to my very own personal Fairy Tale – in which my Prince Charming came into my life one Saturday, and moved in with me on the next Friday and we have been happily together for fourteen years so far. We expect the situation to remain unchanged — but who really knows. Might we wake one morning to find that one of us has suddenly developed a distaste for the other. Might one of us meet another mate around the next corner. Might Death come and steal one of us away.
How can anybody state with certainty that they are living Happily Ever After?
I feel that I can.
Shall I tell you for why?
There is an old adage that says that Happiness comes from wanting what you have and not from having what you want. Another says that Money cannot buy you happiness. I am sure that there must be many more sayings holding similar wisdom.
You may huff and you may bluster. You may tell me that your happiness would be complete if only you had x, y or z. That pay rise that would remove the worry about meeting the bills, that larger house, a new nose…
Let me repeat, so that there can be no doubt: Happiness comes from wanting what you have. I have learned the truth in that. Really, truly learned it. It is embedded in me now and I feel my happiness daily. Oddly, it came from letting go. I quit my well-paid job, halving our income, and we fled to the country to live a down-sized life. We swapped our new-build 4 bedroom detached house on the edge of the green belt and went to live in a wooden chalet in the Scottish hills. Most of our belongings went to the charity shops and Freecycle. The television was given away, and the video recorder and all the things that we had worked hard for to buy. Pfft – just gave them away!
We had nothing except each other, the view, and our pets. We learned to manage within our means and ate a lot of lentils. Happiness is not money, nor the stuff that money can buy, or holidays or cars or anything material. Happiness is living in the moment. Being beside the one you love and supporting each other through the struggle. Happiness is knowing what the important things in life are – a mountain top, a sunset, good health, a shared laughter – and appreciating them when you have them.
Once that lesson is learned, and Happiness comes to stay and is resident in your life, there can be no doubt that you are living Happily Ever After. That kind of happiness just does not go away.
In fact, I am better than Happy, I am Content. My needs are met, I have no wants.