CELEBRATING LOVE AND JOY: Cancer survivor Barry Eaton with his partner Anne.
CELEBRATING LOVE AND JOY: Cancer survivor Barry Eaton with his partner Anne.

Count those blessings

JOY. It's a simple little three letter word conjuring up such emotions as happiness, pleasure, bliss, elation and rapture. Apply all those words to life and what do you get? All the things that make life worth living, especially in these crazy demanding times.

Unfortunately joy is only one part of the equation. Floating through life on a cloud of bliss bubbles might be many people's idea of a perfect lifestyle, but it's hardly reality.

There is the ever mounting pile of bills to pay, and juggling all the pressures of battling to survive from one lot of Christmas holidays to the next.

Okay, that's enough pessimism right now ... let's concentrate instead on the joys that make each day worth living. We've all have problems, mine focused around beating cancer four years ago.

These days I would much rather count my blessings, as the old saying goes, instead of potentially sliding into discontent or unhappiness.

Prior to my bout of cancer I probably would have listed my most important joys as my work as a broadcaster and writer, enjoying my partner Anne's company, travel, appetising food washed down with good wines, enjoying such things as theatre, movies, reading, following sports and playing tennis. Well, trying my best to play tennis anyway.

After my life was turned upside down my priorities changed dramatically and the joys of living took on a whole new meaning.

Top of the list now four years down the track is the simple pleasure of enjoying each day for what it is, bringing good times as well as the horrible bits. Worrying, about such things as radio interviews and writing commitments no longer predominate. Sure, they are still a part of the mix, but have dropped down the list.

Taking time out of my schedule to meditate and connect with nature is now a daily ritual and I feel all the better for it.

Finding at least three things for which to express my gratitude just before going to sleep, has proven to be a very positive way to end the day. Sometimes I'm just happy to thank the universe for even surviving that day.

I now realise that prior to my cancer I did not really appreciate the love of my family. Their love and support in my time of need has helped me change my whole focus. Like most families these days they all lead hectic lives, but when we do catch up, the joy of seeing them makes me realise their importance in my life.

One of the greatest joys of living is fully valuing the love of those in our lives, rather than taking them for granted.

Fully appreciating the love my partner Anne gives me has to be one of the most emotionally satisfying things in my life. Giving and receiving love are both important to keep life balanced.

Good health is an essential ingredient on my list. We all go through unhealthy times but when harmony is restored life can become far more enjoyable. I've chosen a healthy and wholesome diet, as sugar free as possible, regular exercise and an occasional glass of wine. An infrequent splurge enhances the ambience and pleasure of gatherings with friends, family or colleagues. Stimulating conversation does the rest.

As for number five on the list, it's a conglomeration of anything which brings joy at any given moment in time. In no specific order the following all provide the kind of buzz that makes living enjoyable every day: playing tennis, travel, improving my mind, movies and theatre, working at my own pace, and watching Australia win at cricket.

As the old saying goes, "I wouldn't be dead for quids.”

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