Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happiness – a report card

Yesterday, I filled in a survey covering my activities over the festive season. Among other things, it asked how early I had started shopping for Christmas (November, I suppose, but only because I was overseas on business at the time, otherwise, it would have been early December), how much I had spent in the Christmas sales (not as much as I would have liked, as I missed out on a few nice designer dresses on Cocosa and the Outnet), and, less superficially, how happy I considered myself at this point in time.

I rated my happiness as 8/10.

Now, given that I’m usually very understated, and prefer to use terms like “not bad” when, in reality, I mean, “darn good”, that was quite a high score coming from me, especially if you’re someone who sees me on a regular basis and realise there’s always something I’m complaining about (but in a funny way), such as my general dissatisfaction with work or how expensive owning a property is or how high the taxes in the UK are relative to Singapore.

Why did I score it so highly?

First off, it’s to do with work. Work has, fortunately or unfortunately, always been a large part of my life, which is why being unemployed for the first half of 2012 was so hard on me. And when I did find a job, I grumbled to my friends about how I feel my work doesn’t necessarily stretch me, or how I’m not as well-paid as I would have been in my previous previous employer given the level of responsibility I have.

Still, I’m happy enough.

I feel valued by the people at this company, and that I’m actually making a difference (if I understood my performance review correctly!). I feel that the people I’m working with respect my abilities, and, more importantly for me, that I respect them as well. I didn’t necessarily feel like that at some of my previous companies, and, believe me when I tell you that it makes a big difference feeling as if you’re working with people who are intelligent and give two ****s about the work that you’re doing.

There are other aspects to my job that make me happy as well, such as the fact that the hours aren’t killing and allow me to pursue my hobbies. For instance, I’ve gone back to dancing on a regular basis. I even get time to do yoga and go to the gym. I end early on Fridays too. How many companies have that option?!

Additionally, I’m strangely excited about the fact that I’m getting to manage someone. I’m scared at the same time too; he doesn’t have the kind of qualifications I’d prefer someone in my team to have, but, right now, if I can get him to even 75% of the targets I’m setting him, I’d be happy because I know I would have made a difference to him on not just the work-front, but also on an individual level.

On the financial front, well, I have a decent amount of savings, despite my frittering a fair amount of cash away on – get this – cellulite-reduction treatments and state-of-the-art facials in my youth.  (What? I’m a pushover for aggressive Asian salesladies.) I’m enjoying the roller-coaster ride that is investing, and I’m also really chuffed that I own my own flat and can still enjoy life despite the mortgage burden. Despite my tendency to be jealous at the level of disposable income my good friends enjoy, I’m still really thrilled by the fact that I’ve achieved this (with some help from my parents).

Then, of course, there’s the boyf. For the first time in my life ever, I can say that I’m in a stable long-term relationship. There’ve been a few times recently when he’s been incredibly amused because I’m just not used to sharing my life with someone the way I’ve been doing with him ever since we got together. I get panicky when I have to deal with him and my parents at the same time, and I don’t quite know how to talk to his parents, not having had to do that in previous relationships. Still, despite these rather novel situations, I am incredibly happy to have found someone like him.

And, last but not least, I’m eternally grateful that I have such great friends and family. They’re my anchor and safety net. While I hope that I’m never in a situation such that I’d have to call on them, the very fact that I know they’re there gives me immeasurable comfort and joy.

So, there you have it, blogosphere. I’m happy. I’m truly, wonderfully happy. And, yes, I’ve only rated it as 8/10. There’s always room for improvement!

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