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my kind of happy (guest post for Daydreams)

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Hi everyone, Stephie here today from Tea in your Twenties. I'm utterly thrilled to be guest posting for Sarah while she is away even if I am insanely jealous of her gallivanting off! I blog about life, tea, love and theatre. But mainly it is just pictures of cakes I shouldn't have eaten and ramblings about all those things we get ourselves worked up about, think about, and happy about.
And that's what I want to talk about today. Happiness.
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We all talk about happiness like it is this universal thing. One piece of treasure we are all trying to get our hands on. And maybe it is. Maybe happiness is universal, but one thing I've worked out recently is that is also, very very individual. Happiness isn't one chunk of gold for us all to share, it isn't kept in a treasure chest, and there certainly isn't any mapped out way to find it. I guess that is what it makes it so special, isn't? Special, and at times, frustratingly allusive.
I recently went on a little trip myself, 9 days interailing from Milan to Barcelona. I took most of this trip alone, something people tell me I am brave for doing. I know that what, one or two of them meant, when they said that, was not that I was brave for going off alone, but for soldiering on despite being alone. At least that is what my insecurity tells me they mean, because truth be told, I doubt myself sometimes, I doubt my own happy, how it looks, how I describe it, how I achieve it.

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I spent most of my time travelling, hopping from one European cafe to another. Just my notebook for company, cheesey music in my ears, taking a thousand photographs, and every now and then worrying that I was going to justify how I spent my trip, and how happy it made me. When I returned people, naturally, said 'so tell me about travelling' and I was stumped for what to say. I hadn't had wild nights out, I hadn't met an exotic stranger, I didn't get a tattoo, I didn't climb a breath taking mountain. I wrote, I thought, I slept and, I ate, and in between cakes I took some time to breathe and be happy in my own little way. But I didn't know how to describe that to them. I didn't know how to put my kind of happy into words. Words that I felt confident saying, words that I felt were convincing.
So instead I said 'well there's not much to tell, I had a really lovely time' because I did. And I soon realised, that I didn't have to justify how I had spent my trip to anyone, and I don't have to justify what makes me happy. I also realised that, actually, nobody was asking me to. The more I just smiled, and remembered my trip to myself, the less I tried to convince people I was happy, the more they truly believed I was.

I stopped explaining that actually I didn't just travel alone, because I had no significant other to go with me but because I actually wanted to. I stopped apologising for not seeing that art gallery, or going inside that tourist attraction, and I stopped trying to make the small moments that made my trip so special, sound any bigger than they were, for the benefit of other people.
So here is my theory. Happiness in many ways, is a selfish thing. Make yourself happy, and in turn you will be in a much better position to make others happy. If that means sitting in a cafe all Saturday afternoon and not answering your phone then do that, and if anyone asks where you were, or why you did it, just smile, say 'I just needed to' and I bet you a fiver, no one asks you to justify it.
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Sometimes my happiness is a shopping spree, a trip to the seaside, a dinner party with friends, seeing my family. Sometimes my happiness is locking my front door and sticking netflix on, sometimes it is staying out all night. It's all just a means to an end. And as the saying goes, the end so often justifies the means. What do you think? Do you sometimes feel the need to justify how happy something makes you? Or do you relish in those little moments?
Live life & shape your own happy x

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