How to Live Life Happily?

Some future date by the grace of God

My grandchildren and great-grandchildren are gathered around me as we watch a movie about human beings and extra-terrestrial life making contact with each other. They think the story is outlandish, but I don’t. As I attempt to concentrate, I’m pulled away from the movie with mumbles of "who came up with this?"  and "this could never happen in real life". Despite their lack of interest in the movie, they don't dare change the channel because they know how much Grandmama loves these shows. Especially when it's not the usual cookie cutter story of humans projecting their default nature of distrust, exploitation and fear of anything different. They consider appealing to Grandpapa and asking what he wants to watch, but he seems to be in a "spoil my wife" mood, so they don't bother, which means that the mumbling and shuffling continues.

"Seeing as you're determined to disturb my enjoyment of this movie, let’s have a story instead. Have your teachers told you about 2020 yet?" I asked them. The older kids stop themselves from making a face, but there are a few blank faces which is all the permission I need to tell the story once more. Not that anything would have stopped me at this stage. I begin the story...

"2020 was the year where movie storylines became a reality. A virus swept across the nation and the whole world was quarantined. Businesses shut down and the streets were abandoned. In the UK, we were only allowed to leave the house for an hour a day for exercise and ..."

My sentence was cut off by one if my babies laughing. It was one of the twins, they just turned 12. He says between laughs, "come on Grandmama, that can't be true. You make it sound like you were prisoners in the olden days".

"Actually no" I respond to him, "I think prisoners normally get Christmas." I took a moment to stare at their confused faces and then added "In 2020 even Christmas was cancelled " I say in a mock shock voice for the benefit of the younger ones and I'm rewarded with the response I want. As expected, there are exclamations, shocked faces and questions flying at me.

I give them a moment before I call them to settle, chuckling as I hear my husband mutter "technically the Christmas thing was all Boris and his thing for surprise tier announcements".

Present Day

I have questions about the scene above such as why are my grandkids oddly posh as they call me and their grandad "Grandmama" and "Grandpapa"...but I guess anything is possible.

Outside of that, I'm sure we all have an expectation of the scene above. It might not be as specific as mine, but I assume that most of us expect that we will tell our future generations about the year that was 2020. We plan to tell stories of the world being shut down, of heightened political tensions, of the black lives matter movement and the fact that 50 years later we still struggle to remember the right year because we keep forgetting that 2020 actually happened.

As for me, I'll have one more story to add to the roster. It'll be the story about how lockdown taught me to live. If you've read my old posts, you'll know that I spent most of lockdown by myself in my 1 bedroom flat with no balcony or garden and I was perfectly fine. While some people struggled with lockdown and quarantine, I thrived. Or so I thought. Now with the perspective of hindsight, I realise that it wasn't that I was thriving. It's that lockdown wasn't a drastic change to my life.

Lockdown meant that I couldn't go to church in person on Sunday and I couldn't see my family and friends as often as I wanted, but my services were available online straight away and I could easily call my friends and family. The biggest change was that I could work from home, which was a positive change for me. That was all that changed for me and as lockdown ended and the world attempts to settle into a semblance of normal, I realise that once again not much has changed post-lockdown. I have to go into the office once a week, I now get to go to church on Sunday and I can see my friends and family every so often. Once again, not much has changed. And initially, I was proud of the fact that I could weather the changes so easily and adapt with little disruption to my life. At least, I was proud till I asked myself the question, "what does it say about my quality of life, if such drastic changes has such little impact on me? How am I living?"

My first thought was to blame it on my goals. I don't know if you've tried to work a full time job, grow a YouTube channel, manage a website, post regularly on multiple social media channels as well as run a business all by yourself, but it's a lot of work. So of course, I spend most of my time working and that's why I don't have a social life or hobbies that could have been interrupted by the in and out of the lockdown announcements. But that's the easy answer. This answer allows me to continue as I am without making any changes because it validates my busy-ness and my decision to work my life away.

The honest answer is that "I used to be carefree". I had a carefree moment earlier this year and I remembered that there was a version of me that felt like this all the time. This girl was all about trying new things, eating out, dancing, laughing and living. She was genuinely fun. And then life happened, or I guess more specifically loss and trauma happened and life got heavy. And I mean that literally, making plans, having conversations and even laughing has a weight to it that never used to be there. Now it's easier to simply focus on my goals and purpose in the name of living life as God intended, but the truth is that living life as God intends for us includes rest in all ways. He calls us to rest in Him, to rest physically by sleeping and also to rest mentally by enjoying life.

I'm not sure I've figured this all out yet, but I know that I need there to be a difference in my life during lockdown and post lockdown. We are living through a pandemic and by the grace of God we will make it to the other side of this, but I want to live with an emphasis on living. In the spirit of YOLO (You Only Live Once), the journey to living life as God intended for me continues. I just need to get my head around the "living life" part and expand that picture.

My prayer is that as I sit down to tell my grandchildren and great-grandchildren this story, they'll see that the Grandmama they know is a woman who has been fulfilling her purpose and living life fully. She's a woman who will continue to do so for all her days on earth. And most importantly, she's a woman that knows that in this girl's journey, the real enjoyment begins in eternity in the presence of my Maker.


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