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Happiness is a decision

As I was browsing through an old online journal I came across a piece I’d discovered and shared several years ago. I’m not sure where I originally found it, who wrote it, or whether it’s about a real person (if anyone has any insight into its origin, please let me know), but as its underlying message resonates with me, I thought I’d share it here.

A 92-year-old petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, and shaved perfectly with his hair fashionably coiffed, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home. His wife of 70 years had passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, his helper provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on his window.

“I love it!” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room – just wait!”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he 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. See, 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! And 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.

“Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing!”

Today, what will you deposit in your bank account of memories?

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.