The HR Juggler

Day 35: Right Here, Right Now

Posted on: January 4, 2013

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Today’s post is by Callum Saunders, one of the earliest participants in ConnectingHR (even though he isn’t in HR) and an all-round lovely, thoughtful person. You can find him on Twitter @callumsaunders and occasionally on his blog.

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‘Reflections and resolutions’. With these two words, Alison offered me an invitation to contribute to her blog this December, which is an honour in itself. Having followed people’s posts over the past weeks however, I now realise that this is also somewhat of a challenging gauntlet, such is the high standard of posts contained within.

So what do I believe I can share with Alison’s readers? The end of a calendar year marks a natural point at which to look back and reflect on events in one’s life; having literally just turned 30, I also have an added milestone from which to stand, turn around and survey my life to date.

I’ve been in reflective mood recently anyway, so Alison’s request to contribute to this series of posts came at a good time. On my birthday, a lot of people (nigh on everyone) asked me if I felt any different now that I was 30. And the truth was, that I don’t. Because for me, despite going to sleep in my twenties and waking up to be 30, that change doesn’t happen overnight. And for me, whilst 30 is a milestone, it’s simply a day older than I was the day before.

And that leads on to what I’ve been reflecting on recently. When I was 20 (which feels like a long time ago!), I firmly believed that my life would comprise a series of ‘achievements’. A great career by the time I was 25, owning a house by age 30, kids and a nice car by 35. I believed that happiness was ‘mapped out’ – that life would give you these ‘achievements’ at key milestones.

But it doesn’t.

And this isn’t something I bemoan. Those that know me, know that I am far from materialistic. I simply believed, all those years ago, that happiness was dished out through key milestones that I was ‘entitled to’, having worked hard at school, college, university etc. But at the age of 30, I now believe I have enough wisdom (although fully appreciate that I will look back at this moment and think how young I was) to look at things differently.

Don’t get me wrong: after a depressing spell working in retail in my post-uni years, I know have a solid career doing work that I genuinely enjoy. I am married to the love of my life; my soulmate and best friend. Unless you have a penchant for Citroen C3s, I don’t have a flashy car and like most people my generation, home ownership continues to remain an elusive and frustrating dream. But I’ve now reached a point where I realise that happiness isn’t the ‘reaching’ of pre-determined goals or achievements dictated by ‘society’.

Five years ago, had you told me that I would be living ‘up north’ away from my friends and family, married to a Yorkshire lass, working for a global marketing agency and bald as a coot, I would have laughed senseless. (Well, to be fair, I have been bald since I was 21, so maybe that last point is a slight exaggeration – but you get my drift).

For me, as I reflect on 30 years on this planet, I know that happiness is all around of us, constantly, in tiny moments. Don’t get me wrong: major moments in life are key milestones and achievements – weddings, graduation, children, promotions, buying a house. But I’ve come to realise that life is about enjoying what we have, right here, right now.

That half an hour of peace sat on the sofa by a fire after a long day at work. A frosty walk in woodland. Watching the birds in your garden. A moment of sheer, joyous laughter with your spouse. Going to a friend’s house and enjoying some wine and good music. That moment on the train when your favourite track comes on your iPod and you start tapping your feet.

Life is a journey and no matter how much we plan, no matter what goals we idealise, life doesn’t always work that way. If you pin all of your hopes for happiness on attaining some quantifiable goal or objective, by a certain time, you may well miss the moments of everyday happiness that are around you, all the time, every day.

At the end of 2012 and 30 years on this beautiful planet, my overwhelming reflection and resolution is that happiness is there, right here, right now. And I hope that your resolution is also to take stock of all the blessings, happiness and joy in your lives. Take a moment to enjoy life as it is, right now.

A very Happy New Year to you all

1 Response to "Day 35: Right Here, Right Now"

Be Here Now. A shite album, and a great album title. Keep on rocking Callum – I love our little unplanned catchups through the year.

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