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Month: July 2017

Earn your happiness

Earn your happiness

“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object”

Herman Hesse

Spending time with Psychiatrists and Speech and Language Therapists with our son, dealing with understanding his emotions and terrors, often he gets asked ‘what makes you happy’ ? Our son can never answer this and in truth, it’s difficult for me to answer it for him. One day he can appear happy and thrilled undertaking some activity, or doing nothing at all and the next, he appears unhappy doing exactly the same thing.

I’ve learned to turn thing son their head and look at it completely differently and when I found this quote many years ago ‘Happiness is a how ….’ I began to realise that it was not so much our son, listening to music, or being with his pet cat or dog, but more about how he enabled the music to play, the selecting a disc, setting the volumes and tones or what game to play with his dog, choosing a ball to play catch with and then, his dog chasing after it and bringing it back, or his selected piece of music actually playing and his listening to the beat, repeating the process to catch every beat played.

This, I learned is happiness, not just the result, but the journey taking you to it.

When our son is now asked ‘what makes you happy?’ I get them to reword their question to ‘what activity do you enjoy doing to listen to music?’ to which he answers, in considerable detail and with a passion how he selects a disc, examines the cover (he can’t read, so it is the design and colours) chooses the volume, the level of bass and treble and then the track number or how he decides which coloured ball his dog will play with, where he will take his chair to play catch. Again with such detail and passion as he talks.

I have realised that happiness can be, and certainly is for our son, a ‘how’ not a ‘what’ and this too has taught myself some very valuable lessons understanding this.

 

Happiness

Happiness

I’d rather be happy than right, any day.

Douglas Adams

Sound words, and ones that I hold close as I strive to learn each day. I don’t know all the answers. I’m sure not many of us do. But we do our best and seek input and guidance from elsewhere to fill the gaps or to look anew at the issue, while sharing what we ourselves have learned along the way.

This philosophy does gain cooperation and partnerships, even friendships as we share what we know and to be open to change our opinion based on sound information and argument.

I know I’m not right, not always. I have an opinion, that is strongly held. Ways that we would do things, or not, but through discussion and transparency of knowledge, I will build on my understanding and I will be prepared to change. Does this make me happy? Yes, it does and I feel more fulfilled because of it.

Present

Present

Enjoy every moment

Don’t spend time worrying about the future, it will ruin your present!

I picked this tip up a while ago and initially I thought, I can’t agree with this as we need to ensure the future is secure for our son. A place to live, money to live on, a care package in place, what will happen when my wife and I do ‘pass on’ and care passes to another for our son, will he be looked after etc.

Shortly before I took early retirement, now 18 months ago, I was in a particularly bad place with worry. Our son had been going through really bad terrors and meltdowns and the future, his future looked so bleak and thoughts about the future for him seemed to be going round and round without any answer.

A close friend told me, ‘you can plan so much, but beyond that, you have no control. Do what you can and then enjoy the time you have together’ I don’t know why, but those words began to make sense to me and I began understanding that I cannot have the total control I thought I needed. Suddenly, I saw our lives as ones that we were struggling with, to get through each day, worrying about things that in truth, couldn’t have answers, but I realised we needed to accept some things don’t have an answer.

We wrote up our Wills, took advice on ensuring that if my wife and I passed, before our son, his inheritance would be held in trust so as to avoid impact on his social benefits. We made contact with Carers and Care homes, just in case, so we are known to them and we review these annually in line with current legislation provision and then we leave it alone.

I took early retirement and now spend every day we have, together. Sometimes getting out and about, wheel walking and photographing what we see, other times, we need to respect our sons need for the security and quiet of home, and busy ourselves in the garden, or books, or music until he feels better. We have become more relaxed, we see things clearer and in fact some of those worries are also being answer, and in different ways than we though they would.

Our worry had became so excessive, that our ‘present’ was being affected, by not enjoying it and not living it, but waiting for the future to arrive and no fond memories to look back on.

The present is called that for a reason, it is a gift. Tomorrow it will be in the past and gone, unable to be altered and tomorrow, the future has yet to come. If you don’t treat today as a gift, you will not have fond memories and fail to see the future with excitement and anticipation.

I learned a lot in these few words.

Our friend did also say to us, ‘if we, as is expected, survive our son, then what have we done with today’s present, that will allow us to still enjoy those days after, without succumbing to a sense of worthlessness at that time.

…. that is another chapter and more difficult, right now to consider.