The Pratical Guide To Being Happy

I saw this post on Instagram this week, another in an ever growing list of misty eyed, ‘far away look’ quotes, set in a sepia tone, that are meant to make the person posting look like a social media philosopher.

I don’t know why, but they get right on my goat.

It took me on to search the #happiness hashtag to see what other absolute classics cropped up. In delightful scripts and set over pictures of beaches, I found some real golden nuggets.
‘Expect Less’
‘Give More’
‘Do More of What Makes You Smile’

& my all time favourite…

‘Have happy thoughts. They will shine out of your face and you will always look lovely’.

Please.

As great as these quotes look tattooed on your wrist or written on your chalk board, they aren’t very applicable to everyday life are they? They are kind of only suitable for those of us lucky enough to be lying in a hammock with a muscly man fanning us with banana leaves, whilst we look down at our naturally toned stomach.

This isn’t to say there’s no hope for us…the commuting, working, gym goers of the world. But there’s a much more sensible and pragmatic way to seek contentment.
And here it is.
.The Practical Guide To Being Happy.

Accept situations for what they are, don’t judge them against how you thought they were going to turn out.
Life aint a fairytale, and as it goes, you are actually more likely to find the love of your life on bloody Tinder than catching the eye of someone across a crowded room at a party ‘you weren’t even going to go to’. Doesn’t make your story any less lovely. Be ok with it.
Make an effort with yourself.
 If you go out looking like a bag of shit, you’ll feel like a bag of shit. It’s science. Get to the gym, buy a hairbrush, find your inner peace.
Learn to enjoy your own company.
There is no truer state of happy than that found in a pair of jogging bottoms, on your sofa, eating Dominos straight from the box, in the view of nobody. Apart from, perhaps, the state of happy found at the bottom of a pot of hummus. But to save the cholesterol, just jam on your own one night a week. It’s bliss.
Don’t expect less.
That’s literally the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Expect more. Why lower your expectations? Live by the analogy that you would never settle for a Happy Meal when you had every intention of going Extra Value with a side of nuggets. Life should be like this. Chase the Big Mac dream.
Delete people that make you feel bad about who you are or what you do.
 In short, avoid arseholes. Being judged for drinking on a school night, or getting sideways glances for going back out with the guy you know isn’t really very good for you, isn’t what you need in life. Stay close to the mates that will open the wine for you and give you a high five for getting your kicks. Everyone else can play with traffic.
Be ok with the past being the past.
Things end for a reason. Jobs, relationships, friendships, Breaking Bad. Leave them where they belong and don’t dwell.
Don’t over commit.
You’ve set amount of hours in the day and days in the week. Don’t try and tear yourself in five different directions. Be practical about what you can do. Don’t stress yourself out and don’t piss people off by always being late. Simples.
  
 Realise your worth.
If you’re a bit of a bastard, then fully expect to be kicked around. If you’re the best then demand to be treated as such…or just not like an idiot. Don’t get too ahead of yourself, but don’t be a doormat.
Don’t compromise on the big things.
Yes, back down on the inane crap like bed linen colour choices and washing up. Don’t compromise on the things you’ve always dreamed of. Travel, kids, an x-box in the bathroom etc.
Stop trying to improve your physical self. 
Ok, be healthy and abide by the basics of personal hygiene. But on the whole, you got what you got. Deal. True story – confidence is attractive. Constantly folding your arms in front of the bust you view inadequate isn’t. Enjoy the fact that your bras don’t resemble circus tents.
Don’t focus too heavily on work.
True, enjoy what you do, you are there A LOT. But don’t blur the lines. It’s the thing that should pay for us to get on planes, treat ourselves and eat in places that aren’t Wimpy. It shouldn’t be the thing that gets in the way.
Stop planning.
My least favourite people are those with ‘five year plans’. Something will f-up in the matrix and you’ll end up disappointed. Have a vague idea of what you’d like. Other than that, go with the bloody flow.
Don’t be uptight.
Not only will it ultimately lead to wrinkles and early onset angina, nothing is really worth it. Save getting wound up for the day you get declared bankrupt, for the day you loose someone close, for the day United get relegated. Don’t waste energy on delayed trains or arsey emails. Chill, Winston.
& lastly.
Have a vice.
Smoke, swear, juggle naked, eat Doritos in the morning, drink gin through your eye if you want. But have that little thing that’s yours, that you probably shouldn’t do, but that makes you feel nicely dirty.
Bliss.
LL x

      Autumn

      So this week someone decided it was a good idea to turn the tap on in the clouds and remind us all that a summer of festivaling and beers in the park is well and truly over. The heating went on and the commutes home are now officially done in the dark. Autumn’s here, Christmas is round the corner and I’ve well and truly got the hump.
      So here it is.
      My list of the 20 things that I hate about Autumn.
      1. You realise that months spent with your feet in flip flops has meant that they have spread, which means that everything closed toe that goes on them now feels like a mouse trap. Hello blisters!
      2. Your skin dries out. You look like an elephant. End.
      3. Conversations begin to centre solely around Christmas which does nothing but make you realise that another year is nearly over and you’re STILL not a millionaire.
      4. Your depressing lack of remaining annual leave dawns on you…
      5….as does the realisation that you need to pay all the holidays and festivals off of your credit card in one month flat so you can actually afford Christmas.
      6. You need to update your wardrobe but realise there are only two types of clothes available to purchase now – 1) the slutty sequined Christmas dress, 2) the rank novelty jumper. Joy.
      7. Oh yeah, the fact that someone turns the sky off at 5pm everyday. Love that.
      8. Girls – the drama of wearing tights in general. But especially wearing tights on office chairs. HELLO ITCH – HOW ARE YOU?
      9. Having to wear clothes that are suitable for scuba diving and sunbathing everyday because the weather has an undiagnosed bipolar disorder.
      10. Your Instagram feed is filled with pictures of leaves. And puddles. And people’s feet in boots. Yawn. I’m only interested in rudely placed conkers. Thanks.
      11. You start to gain weight at a rate of knots. You go into ‘I’m a bear’ mode and feel the need to eat everything in sight in preparation for the hibernation that will never occur.
      12 . ADVENT CALENDARS ON SALE IN OCTOBER. NO!
      13. The fact that you’re expected to wake up in the dark. Not natural. Not. Natural.
      14. Your skin looses any element of glow it had. You are now required to carry out some sort of foundation based plaster work to stop you commuting looking like Casper The Friendly Ghost.
      15. Having to try and remember how your boiler works, and spend the evening in fear you’re going to gas yourself out. Every single girls worst nightmare FYI.
      16. You get all your jumpers out of the deepest darkest drawer from February to realise they kind of smell of must. Grim.
      17. Drinking inside of the pub is now required. Not happy.
      18. Having to put up with Louis Walsh on your TV every weekend between now and Christmas. Just disappear/ get arrested already. 
      19. The revival of the onesie. The least flattering, most awful item of clothing anybody, ever invented.
      and last but by no means least….
      20. The Pride of Britain awards are on TV. Which means two things and two things only. 1) Two hours of Carol ‘my dress is inappropriate for this occasion’ Voderman 2) two hours of endless sobbing at the kids with no arms that are already such better people that you will EVER be.
      LL x

      The Subtext of That Text

      Yes. I sat at home on Sunday afternoon, alone, and in a hoodie. I ate burritos, with my hair piled up on my head and I watched Sex and The City: The Movie. Contentment doesn’t even cover it.
      I watched for 90 minutes of cliches and really dramatic break ups whilst secretly praying that work will one day relocate me to New York. What can I say? Writing this blog looking out over Central Park will top Croydon Tramlink any day of the week. (I’m joking flatmate…our home is lush!)
      I forgot about the one scene in the film that rings truer with me than any of the rest of them (mainly because they all involve million dollar apartments & $400 shoes). Carrie and Louise from St Louis sit in a bar, Louise receives a ‘booty text’, Carrie goes into real detail about understanding the ‘subtext of that text’ and how apparently a man wanting to meet for drinks after 11pm, obviously means he actually wants to get his leg over, and not meet the girl in question for a quiet cocktail.
      Well you know, she’s a writer, so she knows this shiz. Ahem. 
      Watching this scene from SATC made me chuckle. The amount of conversations I’ve had of late with girls at work where minutes and minutes (read hours and hours) can be spent talking about the possible meanings behind, what is probably, a half arsed one liner from guys they are dating. Women are over-thinkers to the very end and dissecting text messages is one of our biggest flaws.
      I decided it was time to tackle this head on and stop us all from trying too hard to get to the bottom of what the ‘subtext of that text’ really is. To do this, I’ve chosen some prime ‘bloke’ texts and some classics from the last few months of chatting over the photocopier to use as an example. I hope this comes in useful and helps you to chill the hell out.
      **
      What he text: ‘Let me know when you get home x’ (after a date)
      What a girl reads it as: He really cares about my safety and obviously had such a good time that he couldn’t wait until tomorrow to text me. Maybe we’ll get married. Although, hang on. There’s no question mark. Does that mean I have to reply? Will I hear from him again? AH MY HEAD HAS EXPLODED.

      What he meant: Get home safe, I was brought up well so have manners enough to check. 
      **
      What he text: ‘It would be good to catch up’
      What a girl reads it as: AAAAAAAH he’s asking me out on a date. What am I going to wear? Oh I wonder where we’ll go. 
      What he meant: I might give you a ring over the weekend.
      **
      What he text: ‘how’s it all going?’ – after several months of no communication.
      What a girl reads it as: Oh wow, he’s still thinking about me. Bet he’s regretting never calling me now.
      What he meant: You just changed your profile picture on Facebook, you’re looking pretty fit so I thought I’d chance my luck with this non commital attempt at getting in touch. 
      **
      What he text: ‘what are you up to this weekend?x’
      What a girl reads: AAAAAAAH he’s asking me out on a date. What am I going to wear? Oh I wonder where we’ll go. (you’ll notice this pattern)
      What he meant: I’m making polite midweek conversation. It’s Tuesday. I literally have no idea what the weekend holds and refuse to make plans until I’ve spoken to the boys.
      **
      What he text: ‘Was really good to see you’
      What a girl reads: Well, are you going to see me again, are we doing this another time? AAAH
      What he meant: It was genuinely good to see you but now I’m going to sleep/play xbox/ the gym/ can’t be handling any more conversation for this evening. 
      **
      What he text: ‘What do you fancy doing this evening?’
      What a girl reads: Must instantly google Time Out’s top ten places to eat in the capital and pre book a table at a good bar so he thinks I’m edgy and cool .
      What he meant: Please offer up a pizza and DVD night. I went out on the lash yesterday and attempting to plan more than my journey home is painful. 
      **
      What he text: ‘ ;)’ normally following a near the mark comment about your underwear

      What a girl reads: Oh he is a cheeky chappy, but I’ll give him a slap if he goes that far again. 

      What he meant: No but seriously, what underwear do you have on?
      **
      What he text: ‘Fancy a quick drink after work?’

      What a girl reads: AAAAAAAH he’s asking me out on a date. What am I going to wear? Oh I wonder where we’ll go. (see where we are going with this)
      What he meant: I’m on a stag do this weekend, but don’t want you to go all GirlNuts on me so a cheeky mid week drink will keep things sweet.
      **
      What he text: ‘Looking forward to it x’
      What a girl reads: He’s the one.There’s a kiss. He’s the one.

      What he meant: Friday night will be a laugh, quite looking forward to another evening in your company, the kiss is clear progress from my side. However, we don’t really need to text again before then.
      **
      What he text:  ‘I’ll let you know when I’m about’ 
      What a girl reads: I must stare at my phone for the next fortnight and not make many plans in case of one of those impromptu mid week date offers!
      What he meant: It’s unlikely you’ll hear from me again. 
      **
      What he text : ‘You about?’ Sent Friday 23.06. Typically from a flakey bloke.
      What a girl reads: Should I stop everything I’m doing and get on the tube to wherever he is? It’s 11pm. It’s Friday. We could still have a nice evening together.
      What he meant: I’m pissed and have needs. Get me.
      **

      What he text: ‘Ha.’ Followed on from some mediocre banter on your part.
      What a girl reads: I mean, this is the seventh time I’ve text him in a fortnight, responses have been thin on the ground but I’ve obviously hit the nail on the head with that last bit of banter. Winner. Still hope yet.

      What he meant: Stop texting me. Now.
      **
      LLx