Rowan Coleman: a life of moments

PUBLISHED: 13:23 26 June 2018

Happiness is the sum of the small things (photo: Getty Images)

Happiness is the sum of the small things (photo: Getty Images)


Learning to value the good, small moments, as well as the big ones, is the way to happiness, writes Rowan

This week has been an incredible one. I set off at the crack of dawn one day to make my way across London to the location where The Zoe Ball Book Club (8.30am Saturday and Sunday on ITV 1) was to film interviews with me about my novel The Summer of Impossible Things. And more excitingly, for me at least, to bring little excerpts of the book to life. From the second I got the news that my novel had been chosen for the programme I knew this was a special moment to be appreciated. I’ve been a published author for 17 years and during that time there have been a few career highs, and a few career lows too. I’ve learnt that it’s really rare to enjoy sustained high-level success and that means being careful of what you define as success. I joke that I’m glad I’ve had 17 years to get ready for overnight fame – but there is a serious point there too. Often I see authors whose first novels have been wildly successful who expect their careers will always be the same. Sometime it is, but more often than not it isn’t. The aftermath of success, when it feels like the world has moved on without you to the next big thing, can seem to be a very lonely and dark place. And I’m sure this is true in other walks of life.

So for me it’s key to recognise when something really special happens – like walking on to a TV set and into a room created from my imagination. Physically standing in something that previously only existed in my head and in the pages of a book was a magical experience. I savour that kind of experience and never take them for granted. I know that it might be a really long time before I experience something like that again.

In life I try to do the same thing, to really be ‘in the moment’ on a sunny day, when my kids are playing with each other happily, or when the woods are full of bluebells and my dogs are leaping over fallen trunks.

For the last few years I’ve lived with anxiety disorder, and part of learning to manage it has been to acknowledge all the things that were going right, no matter how small. In these moments I find a kind of calm and joy in simply being there, right then.

There’s always something beautiful to see, always a good book to read, or movie to watch. Coffee with a good friend, a slice of cake. When those big moments come, enjoy them to the full, but remember it’s the thousands of small good moments that go towards the making of a happy life.


Best-selling novelist and mum-of-four Rowan Coleman shares the chaos and comedy of her life in the county

Twitter @rowancoleman

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