• Lara Flanagan

Happiness and other choices

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Last night, I finished reading “Happy” by Turia Pitt. I am a little in awe and unbeknownst to her, she has just become a member of my secret best friend society. This is my little society that contains amazing people who are my imaginary best friends. They are people who in my mind make the world a better place. My secret society contains real and fictional people and includes Michelle and Barack Obama, Daryl and Carol from The Walking Dead, Leonard Cohen, Emily & Charlotte Bronte and now Turia Pitt.

Reading the book was a powerful reminder of something I have believed for a very long time. That happiness is a choice. Just like hope and kindness are choices. Those three choices I believe, are possibly the three most important choices we can make. Even on days when the skies are low and dark, when it is hard to get out of bed and walking feels dragging your cement feet through mud. Even on days when your heart is broken, when you lose faith in humanity, when you feel that the world is broken. Especially on those days it is vital to continue to choose happiness, hope and kindness.

Choosing happiness does not mean you have to be happy all the time. Perpetual happiness is a myth. It is impossible to be happy all the time. You have to ride the rollercoaster of life and experience the lows to appreciate and be forever grateful for the highs. Life is also made glorious by the sheer anticipation of the next exhilarating rollercoaster sweep and swoop that is just around the bend.

Sometimes happiness, hope and kindness are really hard choices to make. Sometimes it completely sucks to fight for happiness when all you want to do is curl up in a dark corner and rock. Happiness is really hard when you are scared, or in fact feel hopeless. But I know for certain, the sheer act of choosing happiness makes the world a better place. It could be as simple as lying in bed and counting your blessings, telling your kids how much you love them, or sitting in the sun for a few minutes and letting the weight of a dog’s head on your knee heal your troubled soul.

I also recently read ‘The Happiest Man on Earth’, a book written by Eddie Jaku, a holocaust survivor and a truly inspiring character. Another reminder of how the choices we make, even when you are being sucked into a vortex beyond your control, will ultimately direct you into a world of your choosing.

I choose happiness.

I choose being grateful and living with less so I have even more to appreciate. I choose living simply so that I never lose sight of what I have. I choose thanking my lucky stars and for experiencing great love even if it meant great loss. I focus on what makes me happy - my children, my photography, my food, my animals and the beauty of the world in which I live.

I choose hope.

For me, there is always hope and the biggest choice I can make is to have hope in my heart.

I choose kindness.

If you are happy and hopeful, then kindness comes naturally.

Life is rarely perfect. But it is filled with possibilities. While it might make you cry, it will also make you laugh. While it might feel you with fear, it will also allow you to feel exhilaration. While it might make you despair, it will also make you happy beyond your wildest imagination.

Life is heart-breakingly short, so fill it with the choices that will allow you to truly say, my cup runneth over.

I choose happiness. I choose hope and I choose kindness.

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