The Happiness Choice

Photograph by Karsten Thormaehlen

The following post seems to have appeared in November 2017 on Facebook under the heading “It’s okay to be not okay”. It landed on Kath’s page yesterday. Just occasionally I use my blog to share an existing poem or article, and this seemed so right today.

This 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.

That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged, it’s how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice;

I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.”

She went on to explain, “Old age is like a bank account, you withdraw from what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less, & enjoy every moment.

And from Grady here, as I sit at my desk each day inventing a future or facilitating for others, where things are not quite okay enough, I will take a moment to think about these rules.

These seem really helpful in this time of uncertainty, where we are trying to protect our elders from harm, maybe keep our children from their normal run-around source of energetic happiness for their own good, and wonder about our careers where we can generate purpose and happiness for ourselves. I have a choice…and I intend to bank a lot of happiness in my bank account of memories. How about you ??

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