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Turia Pitt on the 'ridiculous' pursuit of happiness

By Bianca Farmakis|

Turia Pitt uses the term "tragic" in a way most people living in the midst of a pandemic wouldn't expect.

"I've lived in the same place my whole life ! tragic," Pitt, 33, candidly tells 9Honey from her Ulladulla home.

"I married my long-term sweetheart ! tragic," she adds, laughing.

"And now I do the same beach walk every other day ! tragic."

Turia Pitt: 'A letter to my younger self, though I sincerely doubt she would have listened'

Turia Pitt was horrifically burned whilst competing in an ultra-marathon in 2011
Turia Pitt has released her fourth book Happy & Other Ridiculous Aspirations into the world today. (Instagram)

However, the athlete, engineer, motivational speaker, mother of two and self-professed "smart arse" claims it's the simplicity of her lifestyle that has brought the most comfort to her life.

Launching her fourth book Happy & Other Ridiculous Aspirations into the world today, Pitt explores a common emotion people strive for in life, but often struggle to figure out the meaning of.

In the opening pages, Pitt acknowledges to her reader that she's riddled with a sense of "self-doubt" as she writes, because "there are more than thirteen billion search results when you type 'happy' into Google. The subject's been studied for thousands of years."

Still, she echoes a feeling a lot of us have when it comes to the pursuit of happiness ! that it's often an absurd aspiration, particularly in a year dictated by so many tragedies.

TURIA PITT - Happy & other ridiculous aspirations
The mum of two explores the pursuit of 'happiness' and unravels what the term actually means. (Supplied)

"It's been a full-on year," Pitt says lightly, describing the overwhelming experience of welcoming her second child into a world ravaged by both environmental and health crises.

Born and bred on the South Coast, Pitt suffered burns to 65 per cent of her body after getting caught in a grass-fire while running an ultramarathon through Western Australia in 2011.

This year, she's grappled with the horror of Australia's bushfire crisis almost reaching her own backyard.

In the 18 months she wrote her book, Pitt says pouring her personal views on happiness onto its pages was an "outlet", a "motivator", and "at most times an over-caffeinated late evening."?

In the midst of so much despair, the athlete maintains her signature larrikin approach to life, one that has directly shaped her concept of happiness.

"You don't need to go through something incredibly traumatic to then figure out what happiness means to you," she explains.

"It's about understanding the smaller things in your life that piece together and create something so much more beautiful."

Admitting she feared writing on a topic that has "been done before, probably like, a trillion times," Pitt describes her new book as a process of documenting the "personal self-awareness" that occurs with ageing.

"I used to be very dorky and quirky as a kid, and figuring out how to like those parts of myself as I got older really helped understand what happiness is," the best-selling author says.

"I think knowing that I'm not going to be for everyone has been one of the most important lessons to learn."

Turia Pitt
Turia Pitt pictured with partner Michael Hoskin and their son. (Instagram)

Though a long list of accolades trails Pitt's name, the mum of two says she's encountered "goal fatigue" and the overarching compulsion so many of us are distracted by to keep achieving.

"I've stopped thinking about what I'm going to do next after I've achieved my goal, and started thinking about how I'm going to feel and sit with it once I have," Pitt says.

"I don't think we appreciate enough what happens once we have achieved that milestone."

"We keep running and moving onto the next thing as if achieving constantly is all we're meant to do."

Pitt laughs saying this, acknowledging the irony of being a marathon runner who constantly strives towards the finish line is not lost on her.

"But I mean, we're not sharks are we? Sometimes we just need to sit more with what we've achieved and own it."

Pitt stresses that happiness is not exactly the universal emotion we believe it to be; rather, it's one dictated by how intricate and unique we all are.

She explains that her life, and the struggles that have come with it, has been "skewed by my own personal circumstances," and asks people to stop seeing happiness as a blanket term.

Pitt explicitly calls the aspiration of happiness "ridiculous" in the title of her book ! not because it lacks merit, but because of how there is no prescribed way to achieve it.

Ultimately, she circles back to her original point; that simplicity, even in the most tragic circumstances, can provide the most genuine, personal comfort to us all.

"Happiness isn't always the big wins. Sometimes it's just sitting with a tea in the sun on your front porch."

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