I was at a very interesting conference last Friday entitled ‘Winning The H Factor – The Secrets of Happy Schools’ led by a great speaker called Alistair Smith. It worked out that I was the happiest person in the whole room! All the delegates had to stand up & then sit down if any of the questions asked or statements made applied to them, eg. ‘If you don’t take regular exercise, sit down.’ Statements included such things as, ‘If you don’t sleep well, sit down.’ or ‘If you don’t keep a diary or a journal, sit down.’ The interesting thing was that the room was full of Heads, Deputy Heads and teachers – I was the only retired person in the room! If I had been part of that group 12 months ago I probably would have failed at the first hurdle.
Does this mean that working prevents you from being happy? I’m sure that it doesn’t. I loved my job, but it was demanding and stressful and quite often those demands and that stress got in the way of ‘being happy’. Now that I’m retired I don’t have to worry about meeting targets, or dealing with difficult children or managing stressful situations. I am now able to think more about me and what I want to do. Does that mean that to be happy you need to be a bit more selfish. The answer is probably ‘Yes’. Too often our jobs are such that we spend a lot of time thinking about the needs of others – whether it be the day to day needs of the people we work with or the needs and demands of other people and organisations. What I now find is that when I wake up in the morning the decisions I make about what I do, when I do it and how, are my decisions. I can choose to be busy or have a lazy day, to meet people or keep to myself, to have a plan or just see what comes along. I have time to be happy! A quote from Winnie The Pooh
By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself. “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”