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Are you happy?

Do you know how to answer that question?

Is it something you try for?

Does it feel false because it's not all big smiles, but you're generally content?

It's an odd one. Right now, I'd say I'm happy. Happier than I've been in a while. I have a sense of balance and I'm doing exciting things, and seeing more of the good people in my life. But it still seems odd to say "I'm happy." But I am.

Maybe we always want to say we're fine, list the stresses, list the highlights. That it's never as simple as happy. I suppose it's the goal and maybe that's why it seems so ethereal and elusive, this saccharine concept that's hard to realise or accept. We can be happy in a moment or an afternoon but overall are we happy or are we fine? Does it matter?

If you have it as a goal without changing anything you might struggle, it's not something that can just appear. I think it's about doing more of the things you enjoy and doing so mindfully rather than out of habit - connecting with loved ones and creativity and anything that you love, devoting time to it and to yourself. And then happiness will be a by-product of that.

I think we all have a baseline, where we naturally sit, and that baseline can change with a new job, relationship, friend, etc and then you'll sit there. My baseline has definitely improved a heck of a lot over the last few years for many reasons.

These are just thoughts, but originally the prompt of happiness made me just want to write a long list of the things that make me happy, so I'll finish this rambley one with that.

Things that make me happy:
The question "does anyone fancy a cup of tea?" / Staying up talking until the early hours and laughing and being honest with someone I love / My mum holding my feet / Curtain call at a brilliant show / People sharing good news, especially people I really care about / Getting so absorbed in a really good book it feels like you're in that world / Unpacking a bag of new clothes, removing the tags and placing everything in the wardrobe / A walk somewhere lovely, preferably after a roast / A knock at the door meaning takeaway has arrived / Getting a message from someone saying that my writing has helped them, to understand or be understood / Feeling proud of people I love / Feeling proud of myself when I've pushed myself / Doing something unexpected and novel / Animals at the zoo / People rallying together to help others

Written as part of Cassy Fry's DIYCreativeClub challenge.