My grandmother is in the hospital again. This time, she’s in the Intensive Care Unit. Her blood pressure is through the roof, and she’s already had a stent placed in her heart. Aside from this, she’s in relatively good health for someone who is over 80 years old, but we know it is only a matter of time.
I’ve known her for 36 years and can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen her truly happy. She has spent her life wishing for more, for better, from her family, from herself and from the world, essentially. Rarely have I seen her take a moment to appreciate all that she has and how much she is loved.
Knowing she is nearing the end of her life breaks my heart. I am sad thinking about it because despite her being hard on others and herself, she has a good heart and will be incredibly missed when her time on earth is over. More than that, I am completely heartbroken by the fact that she is an overall unhappy person and has been for as long as I can remember.
Another part of me who is scared I will become just like her. More often than I would like to admit, I allow my happiness to be dictated solely by what is happening around me. I get a raise, I’m happy. The kids are being difficult or seemingly everything is going wrong, I’m NOT HAPPY. And the simple yet profound truth is, happiness is a choice. I can be happy even when the wheels fall off. I can have moments of anger, sadness or frustration about the fact that my house flooded this summer (not that flood) without allowing external circumstances to affect who I am and how I live my life.
Today, I am choosing happy.
I am choosing to focus on the good in my life and not get consumed with the bad. Because really, there’s always bad. We all wish we could improve something about ourselves, be it our appearance, our finances, our children, our spouse, our intellect, whatever … and there is always something going wrong somewhere. Whether you’re forgetting snack day again, having car trouble, gaining weight, dealing with more serious issues like pregnancy loss or illness, there is ALWAYS something to be upset about. But those things cannot control my day to day. I have to consistently remind myself that happiness is a choice and not contingent on what’s going on around me.
Today, I am encouraging you to choose happy.
Someone is always going to have it “better” than you. You will always have struggles. You can deal with the struggles without letting them consume you and/or change who you are. And if you can’t, please seek help from your doctor or counselor. I know what it’s like to suffer from depression and truly not be able to choose happiness, but that’s not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about being in a funk and letting the world’s problems or your problems get you down and make you a negative person.
Below are some great happiness reminders from people who are much better with words than I. Read them, pin them, and choose happy.
Update: From the time I wrote this, my grandmother has made a full recovery, so here’s hoping she will choose happy today as well.