The Blog

best route to happiness is to lower expectations

Hilary 52 from Manchester. Lives in London, married with two children. Works in Finance.

How are you? 

I am really lucky. The kids are fine as is my husband. I retrained and went back to work five years ago - I love my job. I do appreciate how fortunate I am. 

How do you feel about the weather?

The weather is very important when you've got frizzy hair. I look at the weather report every night.

How do you feel about marriage?

It’s been great for me but hard work!

How do you feel about kids?

I’m nostalgic for the kids when they were little, they don’t need me anymore but I wouldn't want to be there again! 

How do other people see you? 

Around peer groups of women I think I’m seen as together, capable and confident. Outside of that I haven't a clue. At work clients love me. I have great uncertainties about how I’m perceived.

What brings you down?

Myself! I am my own worst enemy. We have a depressive streak in our family. My Mum always had high standards therefore I have them of myself and of my kids. I realise the best route to happiness is to lower expectations - I am trying to lower mine. 

My Mum had depression and breast cancer. I didn't know about it until she had a mastectomy. She’d suffer internally in order give a good impression.

What are your dreams?

I want to work for another eight years or so then travel around the UK. I want to see more of our country. I would like to do the Coast to Coast walk. I’d like to get a camper van and travel round Europe for three months. I’d like to do a day a week volunteering, the whole giving thing is very important. I’d like to have more music in my life - playing the piano and singing. It’s all about me and I like that! 

Where does all your energy go?

I still have that “ I’ve got to….” inner high expectation. I was a very “GOT TO”  person, it was all very self inflicted. I’d have too many commitments because I ought to have. I am becoming more mindful of what I want to do rather than what I ought to do. 

I used to spend a lot of energy worrying about being a good mother, wife and person to ridiculous standards. Thankfully I’m through that and am starting to learn - "it doesn't really matter”. 

How do you see yourself?

I see myself as a person that I’m not to other people. I look at myself from the outside and everything looks fine and competent, but I know underneath there’s this insecure person whose not doing well enough. I feel a bit schizophrenic. 

One thing I’ve noticed and it never really occurred to me it would happen is, I’m menopausal. I have hot flushes;  I’m moody and the lack of oestrogen has made me dry. My hair, skin - everywhere! I have learnt more about the menopause from my friends than anywhere. Pass your knowledge and wisdom on to others. 

Who or what inspires you?

Choral music makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. Landscapes, walking on the beach, being with people I care about and love. 

What do you think about life?

Attitudes come from talking and thinking about stuff, being exposed to different kinds of things. Life's how you choose to look at it -  half full or half empty? 

What do you think about death?

It’s not fun but it comes to us all. I’ve known four people who have died this year around my age, it does change your outlook. 

What’s your most memorable experience?

It’s the most memorable because it’s just happens. We recently went to Thailand to visit one of my oldest friends of thirty-five years. Six months after we got back he died. I can’t believe it, we were just with him and now he’s gone - it’s so sad.

What would you like to leave for the next generation? 

The most important thing is for my kids not to think of me as I did of my Mum. I hope I’m not screwing my kids up. I’d like to leave my kids happy kids who add to society rather than take away. 

What have you taken from toady?

You know more about me than a lot of people I know (laughing). It’s confirmed that I am a person on a path of improvement and I’m a better person than I was ten years ago. 

I am a much more sorted, happier and a nicer person to live with. I feel bloody lucky and fortunate and I think it’s really important to give some of that back.