In Pursuit of Happiness
My company’s motto is: Life is in the details. I believe we can live extraordinary lives if we add value to our daily routine. Let me give you an example; every day, I drink my morning coffee in a Wedgwood mug. I love its pattern, I love the fine bone china and I love the history that Wedgwood brings. By adding this special object to my morning ritual, I am savouring the moment. And I am sure that my coffee tastes better this way.
In our disposable world, we are slowly giving up on adding value and ritual. Being born in Netherlands in the seventies, we had the tradition to wear new and special clothes on Sunday. Our Sundays’ best. Twice a year we would go shopping for a new outfit, and there was a thrill and excitement because we were getting something new. I am not saying that we should go back to this, but I think we are slowly losing the appreciation of daily objects in our life.
The pursuit of happiness is an inward journey. Too often we think that we search for it, like a chase. The danger with this is that we give up control to find happiness. If we would look inside ourselves and find happiness within, then we know that we have to access it. While a lot of teachings tell us that we should let go of material things, I think it is close to impossible to go cold turkey on the journey to find joy. In fact, I believe that to a certain extent material things, situations and people around us to help to create happy moments. To me, happiness is found in the value we add to these objects, people and moments.
Today’s world is very transient and we think of items as disposable or replaceable. I see this on every level, from food to the items around us to the friends we make. We seem all so busy that we no longer have “quality time”. And if we don’t value what we already possess, then we lean towards wanting more or wanting better.
Some of the most fun times we have is when –as a group of friends- we are playing a board game. No phones in hand, no TV to distract, but interacting with each other. Laughing, sharing and creating special memories.
When creating a home, you should take these things into consideration. Selecting objects and furniture that have some meaning to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to a big box outlet to buy some flatpack furniture, but buy something that you love and that you will treasure. Don’t purchase an item just because it is cheap and can be easily replaced.
Some of the best projects I did are the ones where my clients really take care of the home. They keep editing new pieces that come into space and keep the house clean and orderly. Being house proud add tremendous value to your life. We are influenced by our surroundings, so being constantly reminded of happy memories and special thoughts will give you a sense of calm and of joy. Maybe you can add some heirloom items to the design. They might not fit your décor exactly, but they will bring your space to life with joyful memories.
Here are some quick tips to bring some happiness to your daily life:
- Add value to your daily routine by using an item makes this moment special. This could be an heirloom piece or an item that you really love. You can splurge on something special if that brings you joy as long as that cultivates an experience at home.
- Create spaces in your home for interaction, don’t centre the furniture around the TV. Rather have space where you can interact with your family and friends without any distractions.
- Make stressful environments a joyful place – like your office or your car. You can add items or images of things that make you smile.
- Make your bed and keep your house neat and clean. Living in a clutter free home reduces stress. Keeping your house “ready” does not have to take a lot of time, and if you clear the space before your leave, you always come back to an orderly haven.
- Plan an evening that you can interact with family and friends. This could be a board game night or a potluck or do a craft with the kids. And of course, switch off the TV and your phones.
- Take time for yourself, this could be reading a book, meditating, deep breathing, stretching – whatever rocks your boat. But have some time for yourself where you have to be with yourself without any distractions like TV or computer.
- Have a meal without distractions and put the food on an actual plate. These precious minutes bring you back to the present moment and make you enjoy your food much more.
- Be spontaneous and do something you have been putting off. Or call somebody every day like a friend of family member or even a person you have been out of touch with. We are often so caught up in our daily routines that we forget to bring back some happy moments to our lives.