Today Facebook, in its “on this day” app, reminded me of a very drunk speech I made at my University Music Society Dinner seven years ago. In the picture of me mid-speech I am 21 years old, wearing a bow tie around my neck (stolen from a cute guy) and dressed in a rather fabulous cocktail dress. (The bow tie was lost that night. The cute boy (now a man) and I ran into each other seven years later and he reminded me that I lost his bow tie and I still owe him another one). The speech was made on the spur of the moment at the table that I shared with all of my friends. It was about how we all only live once, that life isn’t a rehearsal and we should all go out and live our lives as full as we can, and at that moment in time, that moment there during my very drunk speech to my friends, we had the power to change the world. When this popped up on my Facebook app I smiled with the sort of nostalgic haze that is usually left for those who are classified as “old” or by someone who has “lived”. I suppose it is never too early to look back on the past. And never too late to take stock and ask yourself the question, am I doing all of those things that my 21 year old self wanted me to do?
Although the speech was made in a drunken fervour, the message still stands. We are all, regardless of our age here on this earth, meant to live life to the fullest and happiest. Something that I had not been doing for a while. On my last birthday, 20th May 2015, I woke up and went to a job I hated. I cried all the way to work. I was so upset and frustrated with my life that waking up and going to a job I hated on my birthday was the last straw. Turning 28 and being that unhappy with life was not natural, good or right. I knew then that I couldn’t carry on as I have been and I wanted to make a substantial change.
Changes before that had slowly started to happen. I am still yet to believe that if you put something out into the universe, the universe answers you. I think it is more about you changing your own thinking. However, more and more interesting people over the last two years have entered my life. I met a fabulous yoga teacher who lives completely off the grid (including growing her own food and raising her own animals to eat), an extremely talented pianist who is so laid back she is basically horizontal and an embodiment coach who has challenged my way of understanding the body and most importantly my notion of effective therapy. Although this is just a fraction of the happy people who have come into my lives, they all have something in common, they live their lives with one aim. To. Be. Happy. That kind of rebellion against complacency can rub off on a gal and I too have made a decision to be as happy as possible. It is not an easy decision. It means big changes in my life, one of which has something to do with my career, (I have decided to take my career slightly off the “conventional” route for a classically trained singer). I have changed my diet and I exercise with more appreciation of what my body is capable of than rather than what it could look like.
The month of January has offered some reminders to millions of us about living our lives in a way that makes us happy. The deaths of Bowie, Rickman and Wogan have reminded us that to live a happy life (as we believe those gentlemen were) is to live a life honest to ourselves. I have also had a personal reminder in the death of my darling Grandmother, a singer herself, who was glamorous and always perfectly turned out. As a family coping with her death, we have not spoken about the things she has left behind, the jewellery and furniture she couldn’t take with her, but the memories. She was a vivacious woman who looked at everyday as an opportunity for something to be done, something to be achieved in that day. This attitude to life made her happy and it is this that gives us the memories. Granny knew that life wasn’t a rehearsal, it was to be embraced with both hands and enriched in whatever way you could make it better. The death of my Grandmother is a reminder to me, as I’m sure the death of Bowie, Rickman and Wogan is to millions of others, that we all have the power to be our own happiness, we have the power to change the world and that we should live our lives the best way we can. And with that attitude you can change, maybe not the world, but certainly your own wellbeing.