un jour très heureux

Lunch.  It happens in the middle of the day typically between 12 noon and 2pm in the UK but for the past four years I barely had chance to experience it.  The long gap between breakfast and dinner probably played havoc with my sugar levels and metabolic rate; who knows what else it impinged on.  Since deciding to take this summer off I’m experiencing and thoroughly enjoying the concept lunch. My lunchtime can be anywhere from 11.30am and 4pm because I’m not compelled to fit around anyone else’s schedule, particularly endless meetings that go on too long and achieve too little.

Yesterday I caught up with two friends for lunch in Ledbury, a pretty town just over 20 miles away that’s full of quirky old buildings and quaint little alleyways. We had crepes and salad in the garden of a tiny French bistro while enjoying 31 degree sunshine and brilliant blue skies. Five years ago the three of us worked together in a telecommunications company.  We were younger, none of us had turned 40 and we hadn’t experienced the various life events of the past few years – new babies, career changes, relocation and regaining wellness.  Financially we were all successful career women earning good salaries but the corporate world ruled our lives.  We rarely had chance to spend the money we worked so hard for and lunch was virtually unheard of. When we weren’t working the chances were that we were talking about work!

Five years on and one of us runs a holiday letting business as well as being a full-time Mum, another is setting up her own company while studying for an MBA and I’m taking summer off to make good on some long overdue promises I now have the opportunity to keep. Times have changed and although none of us has the potential spending power we held back in 2008, its obvious we’re all happier, more relaxed and genuinely enjoying our lives morning, noon and night. Meeting up to have lunch at our own pace in agreeable surroundings while we talked about living (not working) made for a very happy day.

When I returned home I found Maurice at Duck? Starfish? but…23   had kindly introduced me to SuperBetter. Working through a few of the introductory stages I was drawn to the following:

“It turns out that having someone on your side – 

  • someone who makes you smile,
  • who you can be yourself around, and
  • who you can ask for help

– actually improves your physical well-being more than starting an exercise program or losing weight and it helps your health as much as quitting a pack-a-day cigarette habit. It seems there’s scientific evidence behind these claims and I also know from experience that spending time with people I’m relaxed around and who make me smile gives an enormous boost to the spirit. That can only be a good thing and it seems SuperBetter thinks so too 🙂

Blissful

Yesterday I had a very special visitor.  He traveled 80 miles to see me in spite of being at work until lunchtime and really brightened my day.  Later in the evening,  I had an amazing chat with my son.  Nothing remarkable there one might think.  But I wonder how many 19-year-old lads sit down and really talk to their Mom’s these days?  I also wonder how many Mom’s (or Dad’s) really make time to listen fully and intently to what their teenagers have to say?

As a mother I’ve tried to be a good parent but more than anything I’ve tried to be a true friend.   True friends can tell each other anything – hopes, fears, dreams, aspirations – and they love each other unconditionally. Unconditional love is, I think, quite rare these days but where it exists it’s blissful.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the things that make us happy because at the moment I feel deluged with advertisements for expensive jewellery, perfumes, clothing and accessories.  I see the (fake) smiles of the actors/actresses/models presented with these gifts and I read the subliminal messages.  Buy this, you’ll be ecstatically happy and feel exquisitely gorgeous.  Give this and your loved one will be overwhelmed and overjoyed.   I wonder how many of us are taken in by the hyperbole.

In my world, blissful can’t be found in or through material goods.  It’s a state of mind, body and spirit engendered by meaningful interactions.  It might be stroking a purring cat, having a great conversation, sharing a hug, walking in the park, watching the moon rise or the sun set. I am a creature of simple pleasures.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like choosing gifts for my loved ones and I very much enjoy the act of giving, but I’ve come to appreciate that the greatest gifts cannot be bought or sold.  Unconditional love isn’t available on Amazon. A shoulder to cry on can’t be found on eBay.  Supermarkets don’t do buy one get one free offers on hugs.   Only we can give each other these precious gifts and no cash is necessary.

Credit: Phandroid.com

Credit: Phandroid.com