Picture the scene. The alarm goes off on another manic Monday, rain beating against the bedroom window. You snuggle deeper under the duvet and indulge in a fantasy that your lottery numbers have finally come good and you can retire to an island in the Caribbean. Imagine how delicious your life would be. You would bask in the sun all day, sipping cocktails, walking along the beach, admiring all the beautiful sights and sounds. If you got bored, you would read a thriller, invent an exotic fruit smoothie or perhaps pick up the guitar you haven’t played in ages.
The big question is, why are so many of us waiting for a major intervention such as a lottery win to grant us permission to really enjoy ourselves? Why does fun have to be the thing we’re only allowed to experience after all the hard stuff on the to-do list has been ticked off?
Life coach Sharon Eden, author of Whack Around the Head, specialises in helping people identify their core passions in life. ‘We shy away from pleasure basically because of social conditioning. When you think about a child deep in enjoyment and then along comes the parent who says, “OK, get ready for bed now”, we are given the idea early on that pleasure isn’t a very good thing. Or if we want a child to study for an exam, we might take away certain fun treats, like playing on the Xbox, until the work is done. Our culture decrees that unless we have our nose to the grindstone, we don’t deserve anything. Some people carry that forward into adulthood and end up living constantly in a state of low-grade depression. They believe that life is supposed to be a struggle.’