Happiness is…

My feet brush past the golden leaves spread across the earth, and I smile. There’s nothing like being home.

Is it the simplicity? Is it the landscape’s natural beauty? Is it that innate familiarity of immediate family, the way you slip back into old jokes and old friendships?

Everybody knows everybody here; ties go back generations. It’s a reassuring bond that’s always there, a friendly face whenever one is needed. No-one is too far away for a cup of tea and chats by the fire. As autumn blows its chilly air and this year swiftly draws to a close, I look back on it with fondness.

I travelled somewhere I’d never been to, Croatia, and took away incredible memories. I tried to put aside my fear of heights to go on a cable car overlooking the city of Dubrovnik (…while I might have been terrified, at least I did it!) I went canoeing for the first time in a long time, grinning at my best friend as we pushed the oars against the rhythm of the water.

But among the best parts were talking to people about their experiences. Writers, actors and directors I interviewed couldn’t believe their creations had been so embraced. Cousins from around the world came to visit, sharing stories of the past and laughing at the memories. And even seeing how friends and family overcame tough times and helped each other to see the light again was inspirational.

It’s an odd place to be sometimes, your mid-twenties, as you sail on the sea of figuring out the future. Many friends are navigating that too. But I’m lucky enough to know quite a few women in their 90s, one of whom is my wondeful nana whom I absolutely adore (she turned 90 in September).

These women don’t worry about getting older. They laugh at milestones. They appreciate what they have, and enjoy the ordinary old parts of everyday life, because it becomes more precious when you have lost people that you love along the way.

So here’s to living in the moment – photos of happy times from this year. The little things, and the big things.

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