What is the secret to a happy life? Is it that dream career? Is it finding love? Is it earning lots of money? It’s one of the biggest questions we can ask ourselves and the answer is different for every individual out there.
My quote for this week is “What if you gave someone a gift and they neglected to thank you for it – would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have“.
When we are not feeling good about our lives, we struggle to see the bigger picture (I know I am a culprit of this!!), and it’s usually because we are either too busy focusing on what went wrong, rather than how to fix the problem or we become obsessive to the point of not being able to see the good that is all around us. I truly believe we stress way too much and enjoy our life too little. We find ourselves stressing about minuscule things, things that we are unable to control and always expecting the worst to happen. We are obsessed with talking about our problems, whether they may be in the past or present… and we even talk about our worries for the things that may go wrong in the future! Why can’t we channel our thoughts to only talk about the good things?
We have lost all sense of how to enjoy our lives, how to be truly grateful with what we have, who we are and where we are right now.
I only realised how much I was like the above this year… I was living in an incredible country, surrounded by interesting people, visiting beautiful places that I could have never dreamed of seeing… yet all I wanted was to be back “home” with my family and friends. I compared the negatives of my life in Hong Kong (of which I now realise that there are not all that many!), with the positives of my life back in England. As they say, we always think the grass is always greener. I spent years of my life in England commuting into London, day-dreaming of the day I would be working in another country, having no need to commute for hours upon hours, being able to travel to wonderful destinations often and having the power to start a new chapter in my life. Yet when I had this given to me, I struggled to disconnect my worries and fully embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity for all that it was worth.
It was only until June this year I understood just how lucky I have been over the past few years and the realisation hit that no matter what happens to us… as humans, it seems to me that we are in a constant chase to acquire the next best thing. We waste so much of the present by constantly chasing for more of everything, and in the process of wanting to have more and do more, we lose all perspective about what is truly important.
We are human beings and we are made to feel, to appreciate and to enjoy life… not run like machines, constantly trying to become more or have more.
I have spent 2.5 years comparing my life in Hong Kong to everything I had back home… I focused on what I was missing out on rather than focusing on all the amazing opportunities that I have been given by being here. In June 2017, I came home after a terrible month or so in Hong Kong… wishing that I was never going back. Instead of announcing that I was coming home to family and friends (making it a happy occasion like I normally do), I pretended to myself that this was my life now, I was back living in England.
Each time I have returned from Hong Kong previously, its been a big occasion and so much fun… but I lost all perspective that this was not actually real life. If I lived back here full-time, I would not be doing fun things every day of the week, I would not see my family and friends every waking moment. I remember so vividly, sitting on my sofa at home and thinking… is this really what is best for me? Will I really prefer being back in England over Hong Kong? If I moved back to England, I am pretty sure it would not take too long for me to start thinking about my old HK life. For the first time ever, I got some real perspective on how fortunate I am to have been given such an incredible opportunity to see another part of the world, to learn a new culture, a new way of life and to meet new and exciting people that I would have never come across before. I finally got excited to get back to Hong Kong and my life… the life I chose nearly three years ago.
I realised that everyone’s lives are always changing. It’s impossible to compare your life now to the life you had 4 or 5 years ago and you will never remember the worst parts when you are reminiscing. Naturally, when we compare our current situation to the past or to other people’s lives, we compare the worst parts of us… to the glossy and best parts of others and this means that we will never win.
I am so thankful to have a wonderful home with amazing family and friends back in England, but for the first time I am so content that my life has brought me over to Hong Kong and this is exactly where I am meant to be. I had the most amazing week seeing my favourite people and saying goodbye is always hard but I know that no matter the time or distance, nothing will ever change the bond I have with people back home. For now though… it’s time to embrace the life I have made over in Asia with Scotty and my gorgeous pup.
I have a quote in my bedroom that I wake up to every morning and I didn’t realise just how significant it was until I started to write this blog post… “Happiness is not a destination… it’s a way of life“. Stop chasing happiness elsewhere. Happiness is about living each and every day and appreciating each moment you are given. It’s about loving all that you are right now, all that you have right now… yet being excited to knowing more, having more and becoming more. Your life is here, in this moment, in this place. This is exactly where you are meant to be, so treasure it.