Happiness Diaries Episode 10: Suzanne O'Leary (Tai Tapu, NZ)



In thinking about what makes me happy I find myself more thinking about what doesn’t make me happy! We seem to have so much ‘stuff’ in our lives and things to do and to measure ourselves by these days – which seldom brings the happiness we are seeking. Something to work on. I think in the simplest terms my happiness is usually the result of seeing or bringing real joy and happiness in others. When I think of my happiest moments it’s always with other people (although sunsets and hydrangeas always seem to fill my heart with warm fuzzies which I’m going to call happiness!!!).

Suzy is a former Nurse and now full time mother and puppy trainer living in Chirstchurch New Zealand (and my first entry from the South Island!). Right off the bat I’ll answer the most pressing question you have, the puppy Toffee is adorable (I guess the kids might be too). I had the good fortune of staying with Suz, her husband Chris, and their kids because they are family – Chris is my Second Cousin through my mum. They were amazing to open up their home to me for three nights, and I had a fantastic time using it as a base to explore the area, and return home in the evening to fantastic home cooked meals and to witness ‘Ultimate Warrior’ being played in the backyard.  I can’t wait to go back and see them again (But let’s be honest… mostly Toffee).

Christchurch is a city under development since earthquakes rocked the area in 2011. It’s hard to imagine there is a generation of kids that have never really known the city as anything other than a massive construction site! Through this tragedy, Christchurch now has an incredibly rare opportunity - to start close to anew. Carefully engineered, planned, and rebuilt how it wants to be in lieu of how it developed over time. For people struggling with depression, they are in the midst of dealing with the earthquake…. Things are falling apart, pieces of life are dropping away, and it’s hard to see anything other than an insurmountable and ever-growing pile of rubble. Like the rebirth of the city, people can recover… but the first step is recognizing that the ground is shaking. If you aren’t feeling yourself, or know someone who may be struggling, take action. Open the discussion. Ask for support or give support. Use some of the incredible resources offered by people like @headsupguys  @toughtalknz @beyondblueofficial and others. For those of you fighting depression and feeling like Christchurch in 2011, things may look pretty bleak… but with work, time, and support like the city you’ll be back better than you ever were before!

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