I am one of those that was born with a happy disposition. However, on occasion, I struggle with unhappiness and discontent. In those moments I recall my mother’s sage advice, “no one is responsible for your happiness except you.”
No one would ever accuse my mother of being a smart woman, but I value the tidbits of wisdom she shared with me. Words that have helped me get back on track.
Ever the optimist, I never stay down for long. I’ve long subscribed to the Scarlett O’Hara philosophy of “Tomorrow is another day.” I know I will make it through every trying experience because what other choice do I have. And with each new day, finding my happiness is within my power, in my mindset.
With time and maturity, the things that fill my heart with joy have changed.
When I was very young, I was happy to sit in my father’s lap, being read to or “helping” him with his card game. Little things that made me feel important and loved.
When I reached school age, I loved snowy days—days of school closures filled with snowmen and snowball fights, coming in for hot chocolate, getting warm in front of a roaring fire, and warm chocolate chip cookies.
After I graduated college, I succumbed to the call of the ocean and moved to Southern California, where I loved long walks along the beach, basking in the warmth of the sun, and playing in the waves.
After I married, I discovered the happiness and empowerment that comes from having a partner who always cheers on my every hair-brained scheme and always has my back. There was so much contentment to be found in the hugs from my little boys, the dog snuggling next to me in bed, or reading a good book without interruption. I’m so easy that sometimes all it takes to lift my mood is an icy cold diet coke, or a superb piece of chocolate. Hey, I’m allowed my addictions!
Lately, I’ve come to know the joy of being a woman of a “certain age.” The children have moved out and I’m free to focus on me and what I want. Best of all, I no longer worry about other people’s opinions. I’ve stopped trying to impress anyone or care what they think of me. If they don’t like me, I’m okay with that. The truth is there are people I prefer not to be around, so I can’t expect every person I meet to consider me irresistible, charming company.
For the most part, I’ve even moved on from fussing over rude or hurtful comments. I don’t care to hand over the power of my happiness to anyone. And, if I’m honest, sometimes I say things that aren’t all that kind. Oops! But I’ve never met anyone who is nice all the time, and since I don’t know what is happening in their day or in their life, maybe they just need someone to cut them some slack and let it go.
I’ve always been a bit introverted, but my mother taught me the importance of hospitality. I enjoy having friends over to my home for a meal or dessert. Not necessarily for fellowship for myself, but because it makes me happy to watch others enjoy good food and good company. Not everyone has the wherewithal to be hospitable, so bringing people together and contributing to their happiness gives me a sense of satisfaction.
There’s nothing like communing with family and old friends. They just get me. We’ve shared so many experiences that I don’t have to explain or justify myself. Those times are cherished treasures.
Now that my children are grown, I am happy to watch as they move forward with their lives and careers. And that leaves me with more time to pursue my latest passion, taking on the challenge of becoming a writer.
I look forward to the future and the happiness still waiting for me. I know it’s there because it is my choice. There may be unexpected plot twists, but I will always be the author of my own life.
C.V. Lee writes historical biographical fiction featuring forgotten heroes and heroines of the past. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Alli, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can find her on Facebook @cvlee.histficwriter and on Instagram @cvleewriter.