I’m a great fan of Bill Bailey, the English comedian, musician, documentary maker and observer of the absurd. We have not missed any of his shows when he performs in Melbourne and true to form, we have bought tickets for his upcoming show, En Route to Normal here in November which we’re looking forward to.
If you don’t know who Bill Bailey is, I’d suggest you may need to check out his videos on YouTube and have a laugh. I’m sure you’ll love him.
I bought my husband a copy of Bill’s new book, Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guidebook to Happiness. Not that my husband needs it. He’s the most relaxed and laid back person I know who needs relatively little albeit listening to his heavy metal music, playing golf, watching Disney movies and yelling at umpires for the little number of free kick counts against his beloved Tigers, the Richmond Football Club (Aussie Rules football) to make him happy.
Well, he’s not THAT happy with the last point.
Anyway, I bought him the book mainly because it was from Bill Bailey, whom we both love, and he (my husband, not Bill Bailey) read it and loved it. Soon after, I read it too and admittedly, it was delightful.
If you’re expecting a 10-step Guru Guide to Existential Happiness and Bliss by Maharishi Bailey, you’d be mistaken. Bill is the LAST person I believe, who would tell you the answer to anything. He strikes me as someone who is comfortable in his skin, in awe of the world around him and humbled by things he sees and experiences – and thankful that he has a job that takes him around the world entertaining audiences like us.
In his book, he writes about the 36 different things in his life that makes him content and it strikes me that he is a very adventurous bloke – after all, he took his baby son and wife trekking through the jungles in Asia. I have a hard time trying to navigate the scrub bushland of the dirt walking track along the beach road here for oooh, about a kilometre before we hit the busy Esplanade Road and find myself amongst the throng of middle aged male cyclists and cafes serving coffees to their patrons.
Some of the things that makes Bill happy are moments when he’s out of his comfort zone – and many of which he’s in his comfort zone but living some alternate reality at the same time. One particular standout in the book is how he can place an image of such a time in our heads when he had and his family were driving in a rented car in Scandinavia. Outside, driving past peaceful and spectacular views of a nordic landscape while inside, chaos and mayhem ensued as they shared cups of tea and listening to the cricket where England was ahead of Australia pitting for the ashes. The image of the peace (outside) and chaos (inside) the car was typical Baileyesque and had me rolling about in stitches.
That’s life right there.
Reading the book made me think about the things that made ME happy. Things that make me breathe inward and look around me and think, “Shit yeah. Life is good. I’m where I’m meant to be. Right here, right now. I want for nothing. I have exactly what I need.”
So I wrote them down before I could forget them.
I don’t think I’ve ever written down the things that make me happy so it was a nice bit of time to myself to have a think about these things. Ultimately, though I also have “moments” where I’m happy and when these happen, I always take the time to be grateful for them such as:
- Sitting in our sunroom with the sun shining in, with all my books and things that I love around me while listening to music or reading my books; and Pud the cat asleep beside me
- Spending an afternoon on the sofa with my husband watching something on the telly that we’re both enjoying
- Breakfast at a local cafe
- Visiting a library – and exploring new ones
- Walking at the park on crispy cool sunny mornings – I specifically go out to see the sun rise every day
- Sitting and chatting with my parents outside in the back garden while my dad plays classical guitar
- Watching my father paint his watercolours in his studio (here’s a typical scene of my Saturday afternoons in his studio).
- Going out for dinner somewhere new – the whole process of getting dressed, made up and making an effort to go out for a nice meal
- Listening to music that takes me back to some of the best years and moments of my life.
In his book, Bill talks about the fact that we don’t need big things to make us feel happy and content and that it may be a factor of age too that we just slow down and appreciate the things we have and the people we have in our lives. Maybe he’s right. I know that even though I can’t travel overall, I’m one of the lucky ones who doesn’t take anything for granted and I certainly am thankful that I have my health and well being to enjoy each day as it comes.
Here is my book review should you be interested in learning more about it.
Have you made a concerted effort to really think of those moments that make you happy, content and at peace with yourself?
How are you making time to make sure that you incorporate and recognise these when they arise?