Monday, 2 April 2012

My Happiness Project - Day 8

Happiness is a curious catch-all word that we use to cover an utter plethora of emotions: from a gentle contentment to manic joy; from a quite inner-smile to a cheshire-cat-wide grin; from a quiet buzz to zinging elation.  Now that I am allowing the good times in, I have started to feel the enormous range of the happiness spectrum.  Yes, I know, it's taken me 37 years but, hey, better late than never right?

'Happiness' does not quite describe this evening's emotions.  Nervous energy with a side-order of astonishment, topped with a sprinkling of elation starts to move towards the mark.  I tend to think of myself as a bit of a scaredy-cat - until it was recently suggested to me that I had come out surviving from divorce, redundancy and a few other bits of nonsense over the years.  I am not quite certain how I arrived at wanting to tackle a life-long phobia of water after an incident that happened to me as a child, leaving me waking in cold sweats from  nightmares of swimming pools, but I have a suspicion that feeling generally more content and less-stressed was a major contributor.

So, to cut a long-story very short.  Eight weeks ago I faced swimming lesson number one.  Bearing in mind that I stop breathing if the jet from a shower hits my chest when I'm not expecting it, it was no surprise that I was in tears in the pool changing room.  Just eight lessons later, this evening I managed my first ever unassisted swim.  It wasn't for long and is the kind of thing my seven-year old nephew nailed a couple of years ago, but the sheer elation and happiness I felt in achieving something I never thought possible is enormous.

Happiness obviously ranges from the quiet, content moments such as the perfectly brewed cup of tea, to the brimming elation of pushing oneself way beyond one's comfort zone and feeling smugly proud.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing however is that this broad spectrum does exist.  So that everyday can contain a glimmer of happiness - if only we are open to recognising it.

So, end of lesson eight - first swim.  Next stop - team GB?!

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