There are lots of things that make me happy, some ordinary and some slightly odd (yes some of these are people). If I were to produce a list of things that make me happy it would be vast and even the speed readers amongst you would still be ploughing through it come Christmas Day. (I actually read quite slowly, I think I may be a slightly remedial reader but there are worse afflictions right?)
So if I know that there are so many things that make me happy why, oh why, do I dwell on the other stuff? Don’t get me wrong I’m not on the edge or anything but I do find myself worrying over things that I shouldn’t be wasting valuable energy on. For example Christmas presents (apologies for using the C word twice in one post) I try really hard to find great gifts for people, spending hours trawling gift guides, shops and online to make sure I have something they will really enjoy (sometimes I question this when I open my own parcels). However, I do suffer from buyer’s remorse – that feeling when you suddenly question your purchase. Is it the right thing? Will they like it/use it? Have I spent too much/too little.
I feel awful when my daughter pitches up to Brownies and we’ve forgotten whatever random item that was vital to the success of that week’s session – it’s often bottle tops, empty packages, socks etc. The leaders are always lovely and have spares but I am despairing that I have failed my daughter. I feel bad if I let the door go on someone by accident or not respond when someone speaks to me (I frequently have my head in a book plot so my brain is elsewhere). And particularly now I am worrying if I’m giving enough support to fellow NaNoWriMo writers as I selfishly grab every few minutes to write.
But in the bigger scheme of things does any of it really matter? Um, probably not. There is nothing here that because of my actions people will need therapy – so I have pledged to lighten up and focus on the happy list and say ‘Oh well, never mind’ to the other stuff.
A great example of this in action was a recent trip to a multi-storey car park. The special chip coin was dispensed and the barrier opened but instead of grabbing the plastic coin tightly and putting it inside the car I managed to drop it. I peered out of the open car window but it was not in sight. I thought of all sorts of swear words and then glanced in my mirror to see the small queue of waiting cars behind me. I tried to open my door but I was too close to the coin dispenser and had to inch the car back to the next car’s bumper to get out. I smiled at the occupant behind who tried to ignore me and that was the point where I stopped worrying and starting smiling. This was just one of those things, I was not intentionally making an idiot of myself but it was happening, so I decided that I may as well enjoy it. I had a good hunt round my side of the car and the front but there was no coin. I pressed the Call for Assistance button and a gruff voice informed me that they couldn’t issue another one so I would just have to reverse back. I surveyed the now growing queue of cars entering the car park and backing up onto the main road.
Still smiling and calm I signalled to the furrowed brow drivers behind that it would be awfully helpful if they could back up a little. I reversed back so that all of the space my car had been occupying was free. I hopped out of the car awaiting a Ta Dah moment but there was no small coin. I scanned the space again, my happy mode dangerously close to failing, and then out of the corner of my eye I spotted it! It had managed to roll right under the car over to the other side of the entrance and was resting on its edge making it very tricky to spot.
I almost skipped over to pick it up. I held it aloft and pointed to it so my fellow drivers could see that I had achieved my goal. Bizarrely this was met with stony faces. I jumped back in the car and sailed through the thankfully still open barrier with a huge grin on my face and another slightly odd thing to add to my happy list.
Bella has just finished her first novel, Acting on Impulse, which earned her a runner-up place for the New Talent Award at the 2013 Festival of Romance. Every fortnight, Bella will be sharing her experiences and advice as a new author. She also has her own blog – www.bellaosborne.com