JANUARY SALE Subscribe for just £5 today CLICK HERE

Radio Kent's Andy Garland monthly musings

PUBLISHED: 12:03 10 June 2016

Happiness is a day at the beach with your best friend

Happiness is a day at the beach with your best friend

Archant

The producer and broadcaster on the joys of friendship, choosing the path less travelled and simply being happy

What makes you truly happy?

You. Not your significant other, parents, siblings or friends, but you. You might want to take a moment, as so often in life we subsume our own needs to those of others. Women it seems to me fall foul of this more than men.

Us blokes often fulfil our own needs and wants, be they fishing, football or fast cars. I was never that interested in the latter, preferring instead the quirky character of a Mini, the practicality of a creaking transit or the laid-back groove of a convertible classic.

But when was the last time you did the thing that makes you truly fulfilled? I’m incredibly fortunate to be in the position of being happy at work. When the red light goes on in the studio I’m as happy as a pig in er…clover.

It was truly a eureka moment when I realised for the first time, that this was ‘my thing.’ And having been away from the sharp end of broadcasting for much of the first part of this year, I’ve found the return to the hurly-burly of live radio so stimulating. It’s the unpredictable nature of debate, the cut and thrust of the live interview and the thrill of living by your wits.

Taking some of that randomness and then injecting it into daily life is something I’ve begun to pursue; it makes me happy.

So when visiting a garden and confronted by the choice of two meandering paths I choose the direction of my non-dominant hand. Out on the bike on my usual 10-mile route around the woods, I’ll take a previously untravelled, left turn down a narrow lane with grass growing up the middle to see where it leads; in stationary traffic on the A303, abandon our usual route and strike out to reveal ye olde England through the Deverills and down into Mere.

Right now, I’m doing none of those things, yet life’s random filter has rolled its die to bring me to this day and this place, in this company and I could hardly be happier. I’m sat on Whitstable beach, evading a sharp easterly by hunkering down between the groynes, a steep fall of shingle takes us down to the water’s edge.

Numerous children are having fun throwing stones, paddling and the youngest, face still smeary with tomato ketchup, is quite content to simply bash two stones together.

We’re not DFL’s, artsy-types or hipsters who are much in evidence as they stroll past; we are simply a group of parents, six of whom 20 years ago were thrown together in a vortex of university friendship, halls of residence allocation chance and I guess a sense of shared values.

Those six housemates have grown to include husbands, of which I am one, wives, and children; they’re not all here, though – we skyped a missing couple last night from San Francisco; crazy that when we first knew each other that was still in the realm of science fiction.

But as the sun beats down, I am struck by the randomness of this moment, individuals hailing from Devon, Essex, Buckinghamshire, Lancashire and Kent, each now with children playing and shrieking together as new friends as we mark what is a tripartite 40th birthday celebration.

Tonight we will share food, drink beer and reminisce about staying up all night at summer balls where we danced to the Spin Doctors, Kingmaker and the Levellers before going to McDonalds at the top of Canterbury High Street for breakfast. And although our reality these days is eyelids dropping and heads nodding before 11pm, we are friends, we are together and we are happy. w

More from Kent Life

The season of romance is in the air and with fairytale castles, literary tales and iconic White Cliffs, where better to pop the question than in the Garden of England? Here are 10 of Kent's perfect places to propose

Read more

When funds are low and the family is going stir-crazy stuck indoors, here is some fun, free stuff to get you through

Read more
Mon, 16:04

The beautiful Hever Castle will launch snowdrop season with a talk followed by a woodland walk

Read more
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A lawyer from Canterbury has launched a new Sunday afternoon tea party for senior citizens in the city who live alone

Read more

Regularly voted one of Kent's best places to live, and with easy access to London, let's celebrate Sevenoaks

Read more
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Greensand Ridge, the craft distillery near Shipbourne in the Weald of Kent, has been recognised in the annual Spirits Business awards with the 2019 Distillery Sustainability Award

Read more
Friday, January 10, 2020

Your 2020 holiday sorted!

Read more
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

We've teamed up with Sandy Acres to offer you the chance to win a luxurious stay in one of their Scandi-style lodges in Hayle,

Read more
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

The elusive snowdrop can be hard to find and before you know it, they're gone again, so we saved you the trouble and found some beautiful spots in Kent to go for a walk among the snowdrops

Read more

Want to get fitter, feed your brain or start a new hobby? The National Trust can help kickstart your 2020 plans

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life