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Don't Put Off Being Happy

by Ana Palles

Be Happy! We were saying our goodbyes standing next to my open car door, the wind blowing hard with unseasonable coolness tugged hard at my wool shawl and I hugged it closer still. My friend Felicia nodded at me as I finished telling her what had me troubled.

Looking back at me un-phased and serene, she said, “Don’t put off being happy,” and squeezed my arm tight. “Forget about the noise, just be happy,” she repeated. And with that, she hustled me into the car. “You’re cold. Sit inside. It is a beautiful day and you should be warm now.”

Of course I did exactly as she said, tucked myself in, put my key in the ignition and leaned over to hug her goodbye.

As I drove home, I repeated her advice over and over and in my head. How many times do we put off being happy? How much time do we waste in anguish, mulling things over in that endless circular path our minds love to take us on? Over and over, processing and thinking, and getting no further ahead in our dilemmas.

Sometimes, though, we simply have to call it a day and decide that the right path is the one we choose, no second guessing ourselves. I’ve come to believe that happiness is a choice. It is not up to someone or something, life circumstances or family, to make us happy. Responsibility for being happy lies with each one of us, not with someone else. We choose. So why waste time being miserable when we could appreciate a beautiful day, enjoy our partners, our family, the antics of our pets or a work of art?

Once we realize that it is up to us to be happy, we are more aware of each moment. We take every opportunity that presents itself to experience joy and satisfaction. For instance, don’t pass the person you love by without reaching over and giving them a soft caress or a whispered I love you. Don’t let your children go to bed without popping in and kissing them goodnight. Don’t pass a beautiful view without stopping for a moment to drink it in, and don’t deny yourself wearing that lovely silk nightgown you got as a gift just because you think it’s too nice.

Always treasure each moment that you have with the people in your life. Take advantage of every chance given to you to feel happy, to feel loved, and to love back. Once we understand that we can suspend the chatter in our heads by simply making the choice to not listen, we see how much beauty and life is waiting for us to enjoy.

Don’t put off being happy.

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