choosing happiness.

I was reuniting with a group of ladies I love dearly–girls I got tipsy with and giggled alongside in college, who have transformed into women whose careers, aspirations, and hearts I truly admire ( and still get tipsy with).

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We were celebrating a couple of things–the homecoming of MK from New Zealand, a visit from DC by our cherished Cat–when Rachel said to me something that resonated deeply:

“Your life seems so happy.”

I smiled and thanked her for the compliment, but her words have stuck with me. I thought about it on the drive home and pondered what I was doing that was so noticeable to the people in my life.

I thought about my relationship with my partner–something that’s continuously growing and evolving. Being with him has taught me numerous things, including the power of communication and the strength of love. That’s certainly something that makes me happy.

I thought of my friends–beautiful, brilliant folks from all walks of life that celebrate my success and my interests. People that are always down for a barbeque, or a festival, or sitting on our deck and enjoying cocktails on a chilly evening. I’m fortunate beyond measure in the friendship department.

I thought of my parents–two people I can thank relentlessly for any wisdom, ability to be selfless, and zest for life that I possess. I have a strong family team supporting me, and that is something to not only be happy about, but be grateful for.

I thought of how I make a genuine effort to be healthy–I am in a dance troupe, practice yoga, and run to keep my body active and joyful. I remember the food I nourish my body with, and the enjoyment I receive when I feel a burst of energy because I have made a conscious effort to live a fit lifestyle. I am grateful for my healthy body and full tummy. I am happy about this.

I thought of how I keep my mind active–I love my book club, full of women and words and wine that enriches my life in ways that I could never properly express to my fellow members. I am a proud board member of a theatre who not only inspires me creatively, but reminds me the power of the arts and the impact we have on our community through our combined talents. Not only am I keeping my brain in motion through these activities, I am surrounded my a thriving group of individuals who challenge and motivate me. That’s enough to make anyone happy.

I think of how to me, happiness is a choice I make every day. It’s easy to remember the things that I want. It’s easy to see what I don’t have in the lives of other people. It’s easy to place blame on others–their inability to understand, pay you better, invite you to more things–but in the end, who does it truly help? For me, I choose happiness. I choose being grateful for the individuals in my life who enrich and inspire me. I choose to live life simply and enjoy the wealth of knowledge that comes with living life consciously. I choose to be happy because I have lived a life where being resentful and angry ate away at my spirit, and the only benefit from it was that it got me to the place I am now.

I’m not saying it’s an easy choice to be happy. I’m not saying that sometimes I don’t slip up, and feel sullen and rejected. But honestly, once I decided to be happy, things started happening for me, not to me. Once you start putting out the positive energy necessary for good things to happen, they can. If we go through life with our heads down, we aren’t looking up to see the opportunity, light, or sheer joy that comes with being alive. There are boundless opportunities to be happy, if you choose to seek them.

Struggles and problems are real, and they are inevitable. We all face things that are difficult and heart-wrenching. We are all faced with things that can keep us in the dark, keep us from being happy. It’s a choice to rise out of that place, accept the changes and lessons, and move forward to be happy.

You have a choice–so what are you going to do with it?

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