Am I Really That Happy?

I admit it: my life can sometimes get pretty, um… zany, to put it nicely!

To say I lead a busy life is an understatement. I run a full operational professional art studio. I still do about 10 weekend art shows each year. I dance the hula twice a week with a Hula Halau filled with the wackiest group of women ever! (Our Kumu…aka teacher…is 95 years old and runs circles around us all.) I am very active in my church and have been teaching the adult Sunday School class for the past 4 years. I raised 5 kids and now have 15 grandkids I’m trying to keep up with and love them all to bits. I feel like the luckiest girl alive. Looking at my life from the outside you’d probably think so too. But a closer look at my personal life and you’d see a life that most likely resembles anyone else’s. My business, like all companies has its ups and downs and is filled with employee issues, tax issues, cash flow issues, inventory issues and yes, even creativity issues. I have kids facing life altering choices before them, and like all parents, I can’t help but absorb some of the stress that comes with that. I also have kids with serious health issues, and an aging parent that takes my focus and attention. And then, despite my unbridled energy and enthusiasm, I have late stage Lyme disease and am trying to do everything humanly, medically and spiritually possible to survive it. Some days I can’t even move. Yes, just like you there are some days when I feel like I am drowning and there is no shoreline in site. Yet, despite all these challenges, just the other day someone remarked to me, “You’re the happiest person I have ever known. What’s your secret?”

I’ve given a lot of thought to her comment and question. Am I really that happy — and if so, what is my secret? After a lot of thought I have the answer.

Yes. I really am that happy. Is there a secret? Hmmm. Let me think. Cause if there is a secret buried deep within my brain, I decided that, by golly, I want to write it down so I can add it to the list of things I want to lecture to my kids before I die! (Yes, I have a list!)

Yup, there is a secret… an answer anyway… that for me explains it. The trick that has allowed me to turn an ordeal into an adventure is a simple one. I consciously decided a long time ago that happiness is a choice, and that in order to be happy, I had to consciously choose it. I realized that even though life was never going to be the fairy tale I dreamed of as a child, choosing to dress myself with joy each day and paint my world with laughter changed the way I saw the world.

OK, so I can see you rolling your eyes at me and saying, “Suzy, it’s not that easy.”

I get it. The idea is simple in concept but extremely challenging in execution. Choosing the path that creates a life that is so worth loving requires a tremendous amount of effort. Of this there is no doubt. But like any difficult exercise, constant practice, day after day makes it easier. But unlike exercise and calisthenics, which can take a long time to see result, this practice has an almost immediate, spectacular and resounding ripple effect that reaches everyone and everything around you.

The truth is that your life is happening right now. It’s a one-shot deal. And once you choose to embrace this practice every day, no matter what kind of detours get thrown in your path, nothing will ever be the same again. You’ll begin to giggle with silly delight at the most mundane moments, find rip-roaring humor in the most bizarre setbacks, and be elated by the wild, wonderful journey itself. You’ll see that every turn offers new discoveries, and around every corner are magnificent opportunities for growth.  You’ll decide in a red-hot minute that nothing is even half as much fun as living YOUR life… even with all its bumps and detours, once you choose to live it and love it this way.

Give it a go. It cost nothing to try. And the prospect of a joyful, happy life is there, waiting for you to embrace.