Happiness depends upon ourselves

Happiness depends upon ourselves.
Aristotle

The other day I read a really inspiring story that illustrates this perfectly. I think this is such a beautiful story that I wanted to share this. To me it’s a real inspiration and maybe it will be for others as well.

Old age is like a bank account.

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the room …. just wait.”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she 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.”

She went on to explain, “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 Thank you for your part in filling my Memory bank. I am still depositing.”

And with a smile, she said: “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

(I would like to give credit to the person who wrote this story, but unfortunately I don’t know who that is, I got the story from www.e-communicatie vanuit het hart.nl).

I really love the part where the old woman says that she has already decided to like it. I love it, I want to be like her! I’ve decided that, whenever I find myself thinking of difficulties (which of course, I rarely do  🙂 ) I will think of this story. Remembering that I have so much to be grateful for, making the choice to be happy, to love my life. Not just for me, but also for my beautiful daughter (we learn by example, don’t we).

To some people positive thinking may come easier than to others, but I’m convinced everyone can learn it if they really want to. It may not come easy, it may not happen overnight, but if you do something long enough, it will become a habit. Just remember, success is getting up one more time than you fell.
Struggling with depression and being raised in a family where more people were suffering from depression, or at least had a less positive view on the world, has made it, well… slightly less easier for me. Still, I can make the choice to be happy and love myself and my life. I may step into the pitfall of depression again, but as long as I’m aware of it, I can fight it. Even if I will never be the most optimistic person around, it’s ok, just as long as I can be happy with what I have.

One thing I already do every night, is to think of at least three happy/positive things that happened that day. At first I thought this was difficult, but then I realized I was looking for big things when actually I should be looking for everything, no matter how seemingly small. Ever since, I come up with lots of things.

I am going to be like this old lady! Maybe not today, but I certainly can make my best effort. And if I keep on doing it, it will become a habit. A habit that I will gladly teach my daughter.