For as long as I can remember magazines have been an important part of my life and for a while I could not part with any copy. I took very good care of them and could not stand someone else touching them in fear of even the slightest crease.

The magazines were not only a source of inspiration to me, but also seemingly a type of safeguard talisman. They were next to me on the sofa when I watched TV and accompanied me on journeys. They decorated my flat and were a collection I was proud of. I remember when I was younger I would go to the corner store on a Sunday to purchase a magazine and that was the whole and sole purpose of my walk. It was also the unique purpose of that day. This makes me realise that even as a child I quite often needed something to look forward to in order to feel happy. I would go up to my mum and say “I have nothing to look forward to…”. I think my mum mistook these statements for boredom…Nowadays I would probably describe it as a feeling of emptiness, of needing something “more” and not knowing where to find “it”.

And suddenly, it dawned on me. This year, books replaced magazines. I didn’t even notice it at first. Never ever would I have thought that this could change, I actually regarded it as part of my personality. First no one was allowed to touch them apart from myself. And now I don’t even finish reading them. Fascinating how things can suddenly change…for the better I believe. Even though I am still looking for “it”, I believe I am more concretely looking for the answers in the books I pick up.

Now what does that say about my idea of happiness? I stumbled upon this topic in my recent reading. I believe it was mentioned in The Universe has your back, that it is misleading to look for happiness in material things, or more generally in external events, as this also means that one can be very quickly unhappy again, when the external triggers are taken away. Instead, one is advised to look for happiness within oneself. I thought it was “normal” (whatever this means, I don’t actually like that word) to look for happiness outside. After all we all do it. Just take shopping for example. I read a lot of the time that one should not make one’s happiness dependent on or created by one’s partner, but I never extended that to the whole concept of “happiness dependent on external factors”. Currently I am much more aware when I shop in order to compensate for not having had a good day at work for example. Or when I feel lost and unsure of my needs and wants. Purchases provide comfort. They make me feel like an independent woman. And I am certain that not only I feel that way. I guess we are not taught to stop and think or analyse our behaviours, thoughts and feelings. So we just keep going, like we always did, like everyone else does and only start questioning it when we happen to stumble upon this topic and start informing ourselves or if we by chance have someone in our social circle who may share something related. I certainly think that this is a very important subject that concerns all of us and that we should all be made aware of. Retail therapy can provide a quick fix, like a band-aid. It does however not help us to get to know ourselves better. And I believe this is the very start of everything, most certainly self-love. Which, in turn, leads to inner-peace and true happiness.

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