I woke to the sound of Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. I had missed the start of “The Thought” so I didn’t know exactly who I was listening to. I was also just waking up so I was paying as
much attention as The Thought doubtless warranted.
I had fallen asleep listening to somebody chuntering on about alpacas and the difference between their soft
hair and a llama’s, well, somewhat coarser coat. I always think it is a good idea, don’t you know, to turn on the bedside radio when unable to sleep in the early hours, knowing that, almost without fail, I will fall back into slumber within half
an hour or so. In the meantime, while waiting for my errant eye-lids to droop, I add even more useless information to my overloaded brain before it accepts that there is only so much anyone needs to know about alpacas, for example.
Downstairs I could hear Mr B gently snoring in the armchair where he insists on sleeping, so sure he is that he would never be able to sleep in a bed, on account of his Problem Nose. It was good to
hear the snoring because it meant that, with any luck, I would be able to extricate myself from the confines of my duvet, shake myself out of sleep, slope carefully downstairs, put the kettle on, sort out Mr B’s medication and organise breakfast before
he woke up. I know, I know, it’s not exactly an exciting start to the day but it helps me to feel organised. Feeling organised, at the start of a day which will almost certainly be the opposite of organised, is Always A Good Thing. As somebody once said
(and lots of people have repeated it since) even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Given a fair wind, and a snoozing Mr B, I can feel perfectly well organised for fifteen minutes in the morning and a further fifteen minutes at bedtime when I take myself
I turned over on my side to consult the clock though I knew very well that it must be approaching eight o’clock. Thought for the Day is on
at the same time every morning, leading listeners gently - but inexorably - into the weather and the morning news. I suppose the hope is that, whatever The Thought might be, it will serve to fortify listeners against the vagaries of the weather forecast and
the dire predictions contained in the news bulletin. I, however, am fortunate in having another, very solid, thought to fortify me. It’s the same thought every day but that simply adds to its everlasting appeal.
There on the bedside table, along with my bedtime glass of water (still quite full), the radio, my spectacles, my mobile phone, a photo of Mr B and me on our Golden Wedding and a pair of socks (belonging
to Mr B but purloined by me to wear with my winter boots) are the wooden blocks gifted me at Christmas by grandkids Jack and Hazel. One reads “Nantastic” which is, you must agree, a most encouraging comment - especially early in the morning when
nobody feels at their most fantastic. Or even Nantastic. The other, I have decided, is my own personal Thought For the Day - it reads: “Today I Choose Happy.” Good choice, I tell myself, as I roll out of bed. At least these days there is carpet
on the floor beneath my feet; when I was a littl’un, I used to step out onto freezing cold linoleum on winter mornings. It must have been harder to choose happy way back then - though I can’t remember being miserable in the mornings, Pollyanna
that I was. Then, as now.
Some say it takes as few as twenty-one days for a new stance to become a habit. I am reliably informed, however, that this is a wild
under-estimate - it takes a staggering 66 days to cultivate a good habit. That’s more than two months, longer if you experience a few slippages. Which, let’s face it, is only to be expected, when one is Habit Forming. Nobody has ventured to say
how long it takes to form a bad habit but I rather fear it may be but a few short days...
Way back on January 1st, I determined that “Today I Choose
Happy” should be my New Year’s Resolution. Far more fun, I reasoned, than giving up wine or chocolate which, after all, would be more likely to make me miserable. In fact, it’s as good a reason for uncorking a bottle or unwrapping a bar of
70% cocoa solids as I ever previously invented. It also resonates well with my other, well-worn, mantras: “Do it with Joy” and “Because I Can.”
I am now nineteen days into my challenge. I confess I may have had the occasional wobble but, like the Legendary Weebles, I have wobbled but I haven’t fallen down. If my maths haven’t failed me, I have forty-seven days to go before choosing
happy becomes a habit.
Regular readers and those who know me best may comment that I am a generally happy person by disposition and therefore question how difficult my new resolution is. But there is a difference,
you know, between being naturally happy and choosing to be happy, whatever the circumstances.
Nineteen days in - and happiness is starting to be, well, a habit...