Saturday, 20 April 2013

R is for Reasons to be Cheerful

In extreme cases, a thumbs-up may
be required to accompany your smile.
I believe greatly in the importance of finding the positive in life. I have a tendency towards cynicism and suspicion at times and this can sometimes lead to something of a downward spiral. It isn't always possible, and there have been some dark times in my life where I've struggled to find the light. However, I have learned, that the best way to have a happy day, is to start it with as near to a smile as I can muster.

I am, by nature, not a 'morning person'. I adore my sleepytimes and the process of leaving my bed and
Just thinking about the Morecambe & Wise
breakfast sketch makes me giggle.
having to face the world is frankly, quite traumatic. Living only 10 minutes walk from work, I find I can get to a point where I roll out of bed, get dressed in a hurry and then stagger over the road to face my 9am class in about 30 minutes. As tempting as giving in to the snooze button like this is, it doesn't lead to a positive start to the day, as I tend to growl as I enter the building and that only ever leads to a growl in return.

Long ago, I decided that the way to at least start the day in a positive mood was to find something to smile about before I entered the building. No matter what it is, to think of something I am grateful for, something that
Thinking about antics with my friend, Sharon,
always makes me smile.
makes me laugh or something I am looking forward on my short walk to work, makes a massive difference. Sometimes, when the stress kicks in and I'm dreading going in at all, it can be hard to find something to be cheerful about. However, even if it just the thought that I don't have to see a particular group or individual that day, then that has to do.

I make an effort to wish the security guard, the lady in the canteen, my colleagues and, of course, my students a cheery good morning - partly because it seems to make them feel good, but also, (perhaps more selfishly), because I also kind of fall for it myself. I find myself
naturally beaming on the most leaden of November mornings because, ultimately, I get
that greeting reflected back at me, from colleagues, from students, from everyone, and a little morning sunshine bursts through the clouds.

There are, of course, millions of reasons to be cheerful and so many little things can make a day all the
Even the horrors of an Ikea visit can be overcome
with a smile (double  thumbs-up may be required for
more heavy-duty purchases).
more pleasurable - the smell of fresh coffee, the feeling of fresh new bed linen, cute old ladies, birdsong, the fact that otters exist... my list goes on. It is, undoubtedly, though, far too easy to miss these things on a daily basis and, all too often, I have found myself overlooking the bright-side for a whine about the inconsiderate nature of others, or to find fault with the modern world.

As flippant as all this may sound, I am aware that I am a very lucky individual who has so much, simply because of where I was born, who I was born to and what has happened to me in my life. There are, below, ten reasons, above all others that I should be cheerful, and thankful, every day of my life.

My crazy family - all my cousins pictured here - and the
fact that they embrace their daftness, make me smile.

10 reasons I have to be cheerful - every day of my life.

1. I have a safe, warm and furnished home to return to every day, unlike the 48,000 households currently classed as homeless in the UK.

2. I am lucky enough to be able to feed myself (often far more than I need), when 25,000 people a day die from starvation, worldwide, every day.

3. I have been given the opportunity to access education throughout my life, with the support of state-funded schools, my parents' encouragement and financial support and my own funds. 170 million children across the world aren't given the chance to attend school - 70% of them, girls. 

4. I live in a time, and place of peace, (despite my shouty neighbours) where I am safe from the daily threat of violence and war. The ongoing war in Afghanistan and Iraq alone has cost over 330,000 lives already.

5. I am lucky enough to be free from any of the diseases that kill 300,000 people in the UK every year.

6. I currently (despite the best efforts of our current government) have access to free healthcare, ensuring that no matter what happens, I know I will be given the treatment needed to remain healthy.

7. Unlike so many prisoners of conscience all over the world, I have the freedom to express my own thoughts, opinions and ideas - including on this very blog - without fear of imprisonment, torture or a death sentence for doing so.

8. I have access to the information, services and support I need to be able to make my own decisions about if and when I have children - unlike women all over the world, where pregnancy kills one woman every minute, due to poverty, lack of education, discrimination or violence.

9. The choice about who, and if, I marry is mine, unlike the huge numbers of girls placed in arranged marriages by their parents across the world, including 27% of girls under the age of 15, in precisely that position, in Bangladesh.

10. I have a loving boyfriend, a supportive family and lots of friends who I care for greatly. Ultimately, these are the greatest gifts in the world and matter more than anything that the day could throw at me.


PS - Answers to yesterday's quizzing questions: 1) Alpine Skiing, Snow Boarding, Ice Hockey, Luge. 2) Emma Bovary, Juliet Capulet, Ajax, Cio-cio San


  1. Great post! I love the pictures. You look like such a FUN person! New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to visiting again.


  2. Really good points all. It's important to remember the things we should be grateful for that we take for granted every day.