Happiness, or; Francesca goes all preacy

Warning: this blog post contains opinions that you may disagree with. I've been debating whether or not to publish this for a while, but here we go. It's not about my adventures, but hopefully you'll enjoy reading it. Apparently the best writing provokes a reaction; I just hope your reaction isn't 'oh my god, what a crock of shit'.


People keep telling me how lucky I am. That good things just seem to happen to me whether they're getting to come to Australia, finding a wonderful flat or finally getting to start my dream career over this summer.

But in my opinion luck has nothing to do with this. I'm a positive person, something that was half a conscious decision, having spent most of my teenage years feeling pretty fucking sad, and half a realisation.

A string of things happening that seemed like bad luck - not getting a job I desperately needed, not getting a role I really wanted in a play, being too poor to hire a care to get to a job interview - resulted in my getting a job in London and consequently moving there. If any of those things that I wanted so badly at the time had happened, I would still in all probability be living in Tamworth; trust me, London is better.

Even hating my old job so much proved to be a blessing - if I had even felt like I liked it even a little bit would I have made the decision to come out here on such short notice? If I'd got the first flat I wanted in London - and I really, really wanted it - I would never have moved into The Manor or Plush Towers and met some of the most amazing people I know, people that I literally can't comprehend not having in my life.

Even in Melbourne - if we'd found a place to live and I'd liked my job there is no way I'd be typing this in my gorgeous little granny flat, getting to spend my 3 month 'rural work' having brilliant fun with three amazing kids a really short drive from my Mum. I'd be looking for a job in desperation, probably ending up picking sweet potatoes and living in a dingy outback backpackers. If my job in Tully hadn't fallen through I wouldn't have ended up living in Mission Beach...the list is endless.

In short, you never know how something that seems crappy right now could result in something brilliant happening further down the line. So stop worrying - if it's happened then it's happened, work through it and move on to the next adventure.

A few weeks ago someone said to me: "Isn't it exhausting being so happy all the time?"

What a stupid, stupid thing to say. What makes you feel more tired in the mornings? Waking up with a smile and deciding to try and be happy, or having the mindset that at some point in the next 16 hours something's going to happen to screw you over or piss you off? Happiness is a self fulfilling prophecy, assume the worst and it's probably going to happen.

I'm not lucky, I just throw myself into things and hope for the best. You don't get your dream job without applying for it, and you won't travel unless you work hard to get wherever it is you want to go. If you concentrate on the good things in your life, and don't worry about the shit ones then you're going to seem pretty lucky too - because you're reinforcing the positives and pretty much ignoring the negatives. Talk about the great things that happen and it's going to look and feel like lady luck is on your side.

And if something is making you miserable but it's within the realms of change then, for god's sake, change it. Don't moan about having a big arse while eating a cake, or hating your job if you can find another. I did exactly this - spending half my life whinging about being poor without ever actually sitting down and sorting out my finances. If I'd bothered to be sensible and bring food to work then would I have spent £3 on breakfast and £7 on lunch every day? Nope. If I'd worked out, and stuck to, a weekly budget would I be left living on £100 for the two weeks until payday? Nope. And would I have been hundreds of pounds better off a month? Yep. I wish I could go back two years and give myself a massive 'stop-fucking-moaning-and-sort-it-out' slap.

Elizabeth Gilbert, being a professional and award winning writer, puts it pretty well here:

"People universally think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend on you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it...You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it."

I'm sorry if this is annoying you, but I wanted to share my thoughts on my new motto. It might not work for everyone, but it works for me; having experienced a lot of irritating negativity lately I sincerely felt the need to vent on this subject. Trust me, misery is just as infectious as laughter.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not floating around on a little cloud, all serene and content. Things piss me off, and lord knows I love a good moan - who doesn't? But don't let the crap dictate your mood and life, decide to shrug it off and keep on smiling. If you can't change something then have a good rant and move on.

Someone once said/I read somewhere/it was quoted on QI that life is a mirror and it reflects back at you. It's up to you to decide whether or not to frown or smile.

In conclusion:
Perhaps I'm being young and naive (read: definitely) but it works for me. And I've been a lot happier since I actively decided to be a lot happier. I imagine that when I'm back inside the bubble of 'real life' it'll be a more difficult philosophy to remember, which is partly why I'm writing this. It's way easier to smile on beach in the sun than it is at 8am crammed into a tube carriage.

Hopefully I won't forget to take my own advice; feel free to remind me of this at a later date. I'm sure you'll all take pleasure in doing so :)

Peace x

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