Happiness is a Choice

A person just asked me why I always seemed to be so happy. It’s true, I am almost always in a good mood, and when sorrow or tragedy does set in, it doesn’t take me long to get over it. First, I am like a raging fire, then I accept the consequences and move on.

I’m cheery because when I get up out of bed, I have two choices. I can be in a good mood or I can let circumstances, biochemistry, or any number of other things affect the quality of the day. I choose to be in a pleasant frame of mind, it’s that simple.

When I was 18 my best friend Kim was killed. It was two days after finding out she was pregnant. She was hit by a UPS Truck driving too fast in the rain. In her car she had five dogs and was pulling a trailer with her two horses in it. Her new husband was following in his car. Everything but one dog was killed instantly.

From that horrible phone call in the middle of the night, I developed two habits:
1. I never answer my phone after midnight. If it is terrible news, it will still be there in the morning.
2. Live each day like it is my last.

Kim didn’t get to experience her dream of owning her own horse ranch, which she was waiting for until “the time was right.” She didn’t get to do a lot of things she wanted to do. I’m sure she would have traded all her dreams to see her daughter grow up, but she didn’t get to see that happen either.

Sometimes, someday never comes. I don’t know how much time I have left in this lifetime, but I’m not going to waste it by being unhappy. I don’t wait until the timing feels right before trying something new. I just do it.

Don’t wait to charge for your dreams, buy that business, open a new store, start your dream charity, write your story, dance on stage. Don’t wait until a holiday to eat off the good china. Don’t wait until your kid does something great to tell him how great he is, tell your daughter how happy she makes you just by being herself. Don’t wait for a birthday to buy your spouse a present, surprise them no reason other than love. Ladies, don’t save that expensive perfume for special occasions, the mailman and girl at the copy center have noses too. Wear it when you want to feel special – every day if you want. Don’t wear uncomfortable clothes, ever.

In short, don’t wait for your ship to come in before celebrating life, celebrate life now. Life is a mystery to marvel about and unravel, an exciting realization of little triumphs when we learn to appreciate them, and a bounty of glorious moments when we have the attitude to recognize them.

Experience the thrill of trying something new. Make someone’s day by surprising them with an unexpected act of kindness – even a stranger. Choose to be happy, each morning. Choose to revere each day just because you’re alive and you have another chance to make someone happy. You’ll be surprised at how contented that makes you, but when you’ve done your good deed, throw away the scorecard. It only diminishes your own happiness to keep score.

Don’t put off life waiting for the right conditions, the right moment, the right feelings, the right person, the right anything…don’t stall, live. Just live. Throw off the shackles of fear and the illusion of security. You don’t have to realize your dream world of tomorrow to enjoy life today.