Choose Happy

I don’t think I have ever worn an outfit that has represented my personality so well – or one that I’ve been so…well, happy in. It’s like the bold colours and slogan shout about how I feel inside right now and match up with my inner rainbow.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t 100% sure before opting for the red trousers – I decided to go for something different and boy did it pay off. It’s hard to feel down when you’re sporting such vibrant pieces and I’d like to personally thank Boden for creating clothes that instantly bring a smile to my face (disclosure: t-shirt and trousers are gifted but I chose them from the collection).

I’m feeling much more settled after the drama of the past few weeks – I actually spent a weekend at home relaxing (well, kind of) instead of travelling to another part of the country for a party! I went on long walks in the countryside near my nan’s house that I haven’t got round to doing in years, spent time with my family and explored another little bit of London on Sunday evening when we took these photos.

I did inevitably end up going out, but found out yesterday that I have a kidney infection so I’m taking that as a cry for help from my body telling me I need to slow down and take it easy for a while (which I’ll physically be forced to do because I’m on antibiotics so can’t drink for at least a week). It’s kind of an eye-opener that it’s got to the point where my kidneys have to remind me to stop burning the candle at both ends instead of figuring it out myself, but it’s what I need nonetheless.

In a wild twist of fate I managed to retrieve my phone from the Uber driver whose taxi I drunkenly left it in, so it turns out karma does come back around! All it took was three weeks of stressing and an hour and a half round trip to Essex.

Since it’s printed so beautifully on my t-shirt, I thought I’d take this opportunity to start a conversation about happiness. It’s something that, like many of us, I seem to be holding out for constantly. It’s like I’m waiting for it to hit me like a bus so I can then relish in its sunny warmth for the rest of my days.

But as with many things in life I’m starting to realise that happiness doesn’t just ‘happen’ to you. Good things come to those who wait is bullshit – we all know it and we use it as an excuse for when we can’t be arsed to get up and work for what we want. Yes, some people are lucky enough to breeze along and be constantly rewarded, but does that make them happy? Surely they don’t get the satisfaction of slogging their fucking guts out and knowing they fully deserve what they achieve?

Anyway, slightly of tangent there but what I’m trying to get across is that I’ve realised happiness isn’t a destination – it’s not somewhere you finally end up and get to enjoy forever. It’s deep within you and needs to be searched for and dug out with a shovel: it’s taking every day as it comes and finding positivity towards situations. It’s special people, places, your favourite food, a good book, getting home and having a hot bath with a cold beer. It’s all the little things.

I think the biggest wall separating me from happiness in the past has been hanging onto the promise of completing my goals to make everything better. Almost like: ‘I haven’t achieved that yet, so I can’t be happy.’ When I lived in Wales I had plenty of fab experiences and friends to keep me content, but I chose to look past these – it was like I couldn’t enjoy myself because I hadn’t made the move to London yet. I put up this front that I hated living there when really I just didn’t embrace my surroundings – the irony is that now I live in London I’m going back to Wales almost every other weekend! It goes to show that the things we assume will solve all our problems aren’t necessarily quick fixes.

Dreams and targets are obviously very important to have but I think I often get so obsessed with how my future could look I become blind to the amazing things going on in my present. So I’m trying to be more patient, accept the great things I have done to get me where I am and appreciate what genuinely warms my heart.

While certain materialistic things make me happy to some extent, they don’t create tangible or permanent feelings that will keep me happy in the long run. I love clothes – not because I would even consider myself that much of a materialistic person these days, but because styling outfits to suit my taste excites me and I like feeling comfortable in what I wear. I use fashion to improve my mood by wearing things that make me feel good. I think sustainable brands are helping with this too; I like knowing I’m shopping vintage or spending a bit more for clothes that are responsibly sourced and will survive in my wardrobe for a long time.

Having a full-time job means I seem to have increasingly less time in the evenings, so I want to learn to make the most of this and spend it wisely instead of just flopping on the sofa and zoning out until it’s time for bed. I’m getting way more productive on my commute – I paint my nails, check my social media and then read a book when I go underground and lose internet connection so that when I get to work I can switch off from my personal life and get on with a refreshed mindset.

I’ve already finished two books this year just from becoming so engrossed on the train so I’m hoping I can get through a lot more – at least one a month is my aim. Coincidentally I’ve just started Happy by Fearne Cotton which has been on my list for ageees, so I’m looking forward to gaining different perspectives on the subject and consciously concentrating on being positive and making myself happy instead of drifting a bit aimlessly and letting myself get lost along the way.

T SHIRT Boden (gifted) | TROUSERS Boden (gifted) | TRAINERS Converse | BAG Topshop (old, similar here

When I’m in a slump, as superficial as it may sound, clothes are a method I use to lift me up and get back into the groove of things. Bright colours and easygoing fabrics seem to work best to improve my confidence, and I constantly resort to the same classic styles: a good old Breton t-shirt and some comfy trousers. For me it’s that failsafe combination that everyone looks great in and that will always be perennially cool.

What’s your go-to method to perk yourself up when you’re feeling down?

Lily x

ph. Abi Thomas

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