Be happy

There’s so much clap trap out there about how we must be joyful and have happy and meaningful lives. There are courses designed to help you find your inner happiness and top tips on the best ways to find joy in every day life. Type “finding joy in life” into Google and it offers you at least 259,000,000 results. But what happens if you don’t know what makes you happy?

I’ve been told before that I must LOVE #bellringing because I do it all the time and I get involved with the organisation and running of things, and if I’m not actually ringing I’m at a meeting about ringing, or writing a report or article about ringing. So I must love it right, to be investing so much of my time and energy into it?

I like ringing, for sure. I like the challenge of making a bell ring in the right place and learning complex methods. I like the social aspect of meeting new people, or even the same people each week. I sometimes like the challenge of writing an article or report, and even sometimes attending meetings can be entertaining. I like listening to a good piece of ringing (and have judged my fair share of competitions). I have lots of books about ringing. I play at least twice most weeks on a virtual #bellringing platform with different groups if people. I follow lots of different people and towers and associations and the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers on social media. I enjoy a good ringers tea, or apres ringing pub session. I’ve gone on ringing holidays, I’ve travelled overseas and been ringing, I’ve travelled around the UK to ring in peals or quarters. I used to organise the Essex Ringing Course, I’ve been a Principal Officer of our Association and I’ve taught multiple people how to ring. I’ve been a student on courses, I’ve helped on courses. I’ve looked after ringing when the tower captain has been absent. I’ve managed international projects about ringing. I’ve been interviewed and filmed about ringing. I’ve been quoted on the front page of national broadsheets about ringing. I spend a LOT of time on ringing related stuff.

Does it make me happy? Do you know, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s too much like hard work having to get up on a cold, dark, miserable Sunday morning to ring for Service. Sometimes meetings are boring and go on and on unnecessarily. Sometimes other people wind me up (as I’m sure I do others). Sometimes I could quite happily tell it to do one. Go on, take a hike.

I had that opportunity once when I was 19 and moved away from my home area. I thought ‘great, this is my time to give it up. Nobody knows me here so they won’t know if I don’t turn up”. I’d moved up on the Saturday morning and in the afternoon I wandered into the town centre. Now, anyone who is a ringer is somehow automatically attuned to the sound of bells. You can hear them a mile off. When you hear bells on TV or radio you find yourself stopping what you’re doing to listen. When I went into the town centre I could hear bells. Instinctively I walked towards where they were coming from. They were ringing for a wedding and the bride had just come out of the church so I figured they probably wouldn’t ring for more than about 10 mins. So I hung around. When the ringers descended the tower and came outside I looked them straight in the eye and said “hello, I’m a ringer and I’ve just moved into the area”. Doh! what was I thinking? Of course, ringers being the friendly folk that they are, stopped for a chat, explained what night practice was on, and there you have it. Far from giving up, I’d just committed myself to a new tower and a bunch of strangers. The rest, they say, is history and it has become a way of life.

So, does #bellringing make me happy? I guess on the whole it must do. 😁


One thought on “Be happy

  1. I made the mistake of turning up to a local church when we moved too to announce we were ringers. Luckily managed to extricate ourselves from that one. But ringing makes me happy too, if done well with lovely people 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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