My Happy Healthy Story is a journey. It begins 5 years ago.
A pretty morning of April, I had received an email confirming my enrollment at Stockholm Business School for a 2 year program. I left behind my job in Skopje. Packed my memories and dreams of travels, left a part of my heart in my hometown and set sail for a country I knew almost nothing about. Little did I know, in that moment, what an adventure would my life become from that point on. I started to realize what may seem obvious when you are reading it that our life is a story to be written and that we are holding the pen. Like many among us, I had spent years living in distant dreams and hopes waiting for a better time, waiting for better conditions, waiting for a freedom that never comes, unless you are taking it.
Living in another country that was so different from mine, I understood more than ever to what extent our habits, our lives, our health, our happiness are determined by the society we live in. I watched in amazement thousands of people running in the streets of Sweden, inviting forests, patches of wilderness in the very heart of cities where everyone breathes a pure air. I thought of the Balkans, where sport is much less part of the daily life of the people and where many cities are heavily burdened by air pollution but where we live in music, where talks are warm and easy. I traveled, I discovered friends in France and in Belgium, their cuisine so refined but above all so diverse. I fell in love again and again with Italy and Greece, their sun, a catalyst for happiness, the beauty of their coastlines, of their cities and of their olive oil.
I’ve been in a privileged position to observe what differs from one country to another without naive admiration or forgetting my culture but noticing what here and there makes people happier and healthier. And I thought that in a life that I was free to write I could have just the best of all worlds. Was I not free, if I wanted to and wherever I would be, to run like a Swede ? Eat like a French that would have fallen in love with the Mediterranean ? Greet sun like an Italian whenever it shows ? Sprinkle my days with that Cretan treasure of an olive oil that I’ve seen keeping people young until they turn a hundred years old ?
As I was getting ready for the trials of my wedding dress, I started running, me too, in the wonderful forests of Sweden, inspired by every single running person I was meeting on the way. I found back the passion I had for it when I was just a child and very soon – thing that I could never have imagined before – I was running my first half marathon in Stockholm.
I started to feel happier and healthier but also freer and empowered. As I was feeling more aware of the life I wanted and of what my happiness was made of, I realized everything in the course of the day — what I eat, what I drink, whether I go or not for a run, whether I read a book or browse the social networks — that was up to me. I stopped seeing the time that limits us all and all material constraints simply as something that obliges us to give up on things and decrease our possibilities but, on contrary, as a gift to find our true self and as the very essence of our human freedom.
You cannot have it all, that is for sure. And in a world where we are permanently pushed to consume more, this is often perceived as an invincible source of frustration and dissatisfaction. But the truth is that happiness doesn’t reside in the impossible pursuit of collecting everything, rather in our ability to use what constrains us all to identify and strive for what we value most. In our limits lies a choice and in that choice lies our true power. In the same way, I started to feel more connected to my body and to the world around me. I had maybe always taken for granted and never realized the amount of work others have put so that I can enjoy the simple pleasure of eating a fresh fruit, of reading an inspiring book, or safely travel to another country.
Actively writing the story of my life has changed the way I was watching the course of the day and help me see in every moment the power I was given to choose what would build my happiness and to show appreciation to the people helping me to take that story where I wanted it to go. For we are where we come from and where we are going, what we choose to do, what we eat and what we share.
My Happy Healthy Story is one of joy, discoveries, inspiration and gratefulness. And I am starting this blog having in mind all the wonderful people I met during that journey in the hope to pass further on what I learned from them and to receive from you all, happy healthy life explorers, many other inspiring stories, paths to venture on and future joyful memories to make.