I Choose Happiness

Have you ever met someone that seems really happy all the time? We all know these perky, bubbly types who always seem to be smiling. Ever wonder what their secret is? Ever find yourself wondering what they have to be so happy about? Ever thought to yourself, maybe she’s on drugs? It’s okay. You can admit it. We’ve all been there.
(Okay, I’ll confess that I’ve been known to be one of the perky, bubbly types, and sometimes people have asked these questions about me. One time someone even asked me how much Red Bull it took to be so chipper!)
So what is the secret to living a happy life? Aristotle once said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” You want to be happy, right? If you accept Aristotle’s definition of happiness, then I bet you do. We all want to be happy, and we CAN BE today. Not someday. Today.
A significant change in my life occurred when I realized that happiness is a choice. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that I had this realization, but I know that is was during the year I spent as a full-time volunteer working with those experiencing homelessness in Phoenix, Arizona. During that year, I met people who had endured unspeakable suffering – extreme poverty, hunger, abuse, and neglect. Some of the folks I met had spent most of their lives struggling to meet their basic needs, yet they were happy. To be honest, all of this rocked my world!

I reflected on all of the people I knew who were unhappy or who were playing the, “I’ll be happy when…” game. When I reach this point in my life, I’ll be happy. Or when I achieve this, I’ll be happy. My question is: why not choose to be happy now?

A number of things that have happened lately have reminded me that life can be painfully short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. So count your blessings today. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you today. Squeeze your family and friends a little tighter today. Choose to be happy today!

“Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck

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