Joy. Joy is the first word that comes to mind when I think about Sarah, quickly followed by a great big smile on my face. She is definitely someone who has helped me on my quest to be and stay happy.
I met Sarah in the pub.....okay, it was at a knitting group in the pub, slightly less rock n roll but still, I love how we met. Sarah had been in Edinburgh for 2 weeks, having moved here on a 2 year visa from New Zealand. She didn't know anyone so thought the local knitting group would be a good place to meet folk. That night was also my first visit to the group. I sat next to Sarah. She was easy to talk to, smiley and happy. That first impression was pretty accurate. We both met a few others that night, 5 of us in total stayed late and bonded over yarn. Over the next few weeks and months we become incredibly close friends and today, 2 years later and with Sarah now back on the other side of the planet, we all still speak/message/snap pretty much everyday.
Whilst Sarah was here, I was going through a period of change including openly talking about my anxiety, dealing with panic attacks, starting medication and facing up to the fact I was turning the big 40, oh and starting to date again. All in all, a scary time!
An incredibly positive, determined, independent and honest friend, here's my life lessons from Sarah Sulzberger:
Be Happy Barnet!
Sarah never calls me Laura. I'm Barnet to her....actually I'm usually BARNET! She does seem to enjoy shouting it in real life and in message form.
Sarah was also the person who said to me "Happy Barnet is my favourite Barnet" when I was messing about with hashtags like Grumpy Barnet, Sleepy Barnet etc. It wasn't just a throw away comment. She always stops me and points out my accomplishments and makes me acknowledge that I'm stronger than I give myself credit. Happy Barnet is my favourite version of me too and Sarah helps me focus on being that person and reminding me that I have the ability to control my happiness...well at least to some degree.
Experience joy like a kid
You have never seen anyone truly celebrate happiness or experience pure joy until you've seen Sarah unexpectedly spot baby swans or receive a Highland Cow bag! Sarah knows how to be unreservedly happy.
Everyone around her knows if something makes her happy. And I do mean EVERYONE...it doesn't matter where you are she will curl up, jump up, giggle, hug, dance and so much more when something brings her joy. I love her for this. It's so different to how I can be. She truly makes happiness infectious. You can't be down around her.
We've talked about this and how partly the difference between Sarah and I in this behaviour will be cultural. Us Brits aren't known for our joy dances in the middle of the street because we saw Greyfriars Bobby but of course I know it's not just that simple. It's about us as individuals. So I'm trying not to be so self conscious, relax and show my joy; not care so much what others think and recognise when something makes me happy and celebrate it. Read more about Sarah's love of joy on her blog: dancedancerambleramble
Just do it Barnet!
I'm a planner, a worrier and a procrastinator when it comes to certain things. So if I'm not going over every little detail, worrying about every possible eventuality, I'm off looking at something else altogether instead. Meanwhile, Sarah just goes for it. She's much braver than I am and having seen what she's achieved in the last couple of years and watched her just go for it whilst I know I'd have chickened out or rationalised reasons it's not a good idea, it's made me realise I really do need to be braver and that you don't need to have every minute detail all figured out before you start.
There's lots more I could talk about, like Sarah being absolutely right, living barefoot as much as possible really makes a difference to how you feel or how hearing her sing Macklemore's 'Let's Eat' will ALWAYS make me howl with laughter but I think those three I've mentioned are the stand out life lessons for me.
Everyone needs a Sarah in their life. Mine might live on the other side of the world right now but it doesn't matter, she continues to help me be and stay Happy Barnet.