Wednesday, April 11, 2007

London Life - it ain't so bad ...

My general take on life is that happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

Although that doesn't mean that:

  • you shouldn't recognise negative aspects and strive to change them
  • you shouldn't be on the lookout for ways to improve the quality of your life
  • you shouldn't dream
But it follows that while we would love to live another way - as part of a real community as opposed to being forced to live as a nuclear family in a council flat - and out of London, away from the noise, pollution, crime and grime - there are still plenty of positive aspects to focus on.

Here we are, it's the holidays, the sun is shining - just look at what's available a short walk from home.

There's Peckham Rye, with its history going back to Boadecia (or Boudicca as she seems to be known these days).

Or Dulwich Park created in 1890 with its lake, cafe and sporting facilities.

Or the Horniman Museum with its new aquarium and mega £££ refit.

Then there's the Horniman Gardens with the nature trail, animals and glorious views right across London.

We also went to Dulwich and Sydenham Woods - the last vestiges of the Great North Woods that used to cover the whole of SE England.

A short drive took us to Battersea Park a couple of days ago, where we gazed over the Thames and romped with Meloney and her family.

Another slightly longer drive took us to Godstone Farm where we played all day in sandpits, castles and with various children and animals.

And today I met the writers' group for the coffee caucus.

Pretty good, eh?
Life - it's what you make of it.


Meloney Lemon said...

When one is tired of London, one is tired of life...or just plain knackered from dealing with the public tranport system.

Unknown said...

Most people forget to look around them. It doesn't matter where you live - there is always a gem somewhere.

Debi said...

Glass half full ...

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you, Debi.

As for where you live (and hub and I have lived all over, as itinerant scholars, professors, and freelance writers), I always tell my kids: "You can be happy or miserable anywhere."

Looks and money are always nice, but one's attitude is really everything. How you perceive what happens, how much pleasure you take in small things, daily moments. I find the older I get, the happier I get. I don't strive, I enjoy. Of course, this also means I don't rack up many tangible accomplishments (read, publications), but it does mean I write what I'm interested in and (mostly) read what I wish.

Family, friends, conversation around a lively table of happy people, good food, travel, kids and pets, gardening, books, books, books, art museums and hiking trails ... there's so much, everywhere, and anywhere.

London life sounds great to me. I love the place. If I lived there, I think I'd aim for somewhere near Hampstead Heath so I could walk my dog regularly and zone out in nature. I can see my guide to London on a bookshelf ten feet away, but I'm loath to move the laptop and push the snoring dog out of the way to retrieve it, so let me ask: Where is Dulwich, Battersea, etc.? South London?

Pix and places are lovely.

Jan said...

Fascinating post, this.
Lots of comments were so right and honest.
Happiness can be just plain "ordinariness"...particularly if "scary stuff" has been happening in your life..

Debi said...

Hi Susan and Jan,

I'm amazed to think that my positive attitude could be interpreted as me growing up. I think it unlikely to be honest ...

Yes, Susan - we live in south London though I was born in the north of the city and have also lived in the west (as well as much further afield). Large cities really are just a series of villages with separate identities and cultures.

Jan said...

Interesting your comment re London being a series of villages.
Years ago, I was interviewed for my 1st job in London;it appears it clinched the deal with the interviewers ( I learned from one of 'em later ) when I uttered exactly your wise words.
I think they're wise ones,yes, and also common sense.
I lived in Pimlico, Wandsworth, Putney...before moving miles and miles and miles ( I'm breathless) away...and one of my sons has lived in Hackney, Islington. Stratford and Greenwich....all with their own amazing identities.
There really is NOWHERE quite as special as London.
Much as I love northern climes, I envy you being there.