We read reports on how happy or unhappy we all are, and it makes me think about what the word ‘happy’ means, ┬áit no doubt means different things to different people.

Does it matter how happy we are, or is it more about what is meaningful in your life? Do we have to strive to be happy?

Society seems to tell us constantly that we must all be happy, but happiness is an emotion, so it is here one moment and gone the next.

It may be that buying something new will make us feel happy, just for a moment, but is it meaningful and lasting?

Part of being human beings is that we have the ability to feel, to feel happy, to feel joy, to feel contentment but we also have to have time to feel sad, to feel despair and to feel alone.

We need to acknowledge our sadness, our grief at having lost a precious one, it is all part of who we are. Just as happiness, it is an emotion, so it passes.

Living a meaningful life for me is to be able to connect with others, to value all that I hold dear, for just recognising how extraordinarily lucky I am. I have amazing friends, some who I have known for over 50 years, who have seen me and my family cope with all sorts of trials and tribulations, some I have found along the way, but through it all they are still there, always waiting in the wings, ready with the right words or with a hug.

I am eternally grateful for every single day I wake up in the morning, with a roof over my head, food in the cupboards, enough money to pay the bills, a husband who has stood by my side for 43 years and a family who I love beyond words.

For me that is a meaningful life, happiness comes and goes but the meaningfulness is constant.

Jane