While organising all the old blog posts last week, and assigning them categories, I was startled to see just how many of them fitted into the Moan Groan category. I was slightly put out, actually. For one reason or another, this has been the toughest twelve months of my life. But it has also been one of the happiest.
I’ve lived a very cushioned life for most of my 32 years, especially when I look at some of the ongoing tragedy that some people have to endure. But familiarity does breed contempt. I’m sure that the reason why so many of us go through life discontented is that we have so much, and our life is so easy and comfortable, that we haven’t learned how to appreciate the good and deal with the bad. So we are blind to all the beautiful things in our life, and focussed on all the little niggly things instead, thinking about what we don’t have, instead of glorying in what we do have. We have all the reason to be happy, but none of the tools enabling us to be.
Then life dishes you out a sharp blow, perhaps something precious to you is threatened, someone you trust betrays you, or you lose something or someone you love. And it hurts. Appallingly. And that hurt will keep on pouncing on you when you least expect it, long beyond the time when you are sure you are through it.
But. Life is all about balance. While life is knocking you over with one hand, it is picking you up and dusting you down with the other. You learn, quickly, where to look for consolation and comfort. You start to see that happiness is available everywhere, even in the grimmest situations, through the tiniest things. And it’s those tiny things that become valuable to you, not the big obvious things in life, job, money, prestige, popularity. Because no one can ever take away the tiny things.
And it’s my opinion that it’s not until life teaches you that lesson (and you accept it as such, instead of becoming bitter or running away), that you can truly grow up. Which is why some children have a wisdom beyond their years, and some adults can behave like sulky discontented brats.
This year, I grew up. Some days I hardly recognise myself, and it’s an uncomfortable feeling, like have a new skin that is a little too tight and itchy. But at the same time, I have a safe feeling, a reassurance that whatever life throws at me, I can handle it. I can still find happiness, and quietness, and comfort, somewhere in the middle of the worst situation. That’s a good way to feel, my friends.