Monday, June 9, 2008

Happiness is a choice

It's a path you either choose to follow or not. It's not something that's handed to you. It's not earned, nor can it be bought. You have to choose to be happy.

Most days I would say that I choose to be happy. I put on my happy face and march into work. When people say "hi" to me and ask how I am, I genuinely smile and reply, "I am fine." They do not know that it's sometimes an effort to project happiness when troubles are on my mind.

This does not mean that I don't have a down day every now and then, when projecting that happiness is virtually impossible. I can't think of anyone who could say they've never had a down day. I definitely have my times of despair and no one knows just how deep those feelings sometimes run (except for my mother, who lived this type of life with my father). I have become very adept at hiding behind a facade. The walls around me have been built over the years for my own protection and I'm reluctant to let them slip.

Sometimes I let someone in and a little chink of that wall comes tumbling down. Oftentimes, I'm sorry that I let them see the part of me that hides. At those times, I rebuild the wall, stronger and thicker than before.

I try to do the best that I can to remain upbeat and happy in the face of extreme trials and tribulations, but sometimes it's just too much for me to handle.

I think I might have been happier if I'd just left myself be the silent mouse who makes no noise and does not stir the pot. It's easy to go unnoticed as I've done it most of my life. I've lived in the shadows for so long that it's hard to come out into the open, but I made the effort. I'm just not sure if it was worth it.

I ventured out in search of friendship and although I thought I had found it, I discovered I was mistaken in more ways than I care to admit. I have made a lot of new friends in the last year, but most of them are online and we can only communicate via email. Going to lunch, sharing a pot of tea, or just visiting in person are all things that are as elusive as fluttering butterfly. There are times when I really want to be included, but I don't interject myself into a situation where I don't know if I'm welcome or if my prescence will be unwelcome. Good manners may let someone include me but it might be obvious that my presence is still less than welcome.

It had been somewhat of a foolish dream on my part to think that I had value to people outside of my immediate family and long-term friends. I decided it was time to face reality and choose my own happiness. It cannot be dependent upon what others think of me, say to me (or not say to me), or any other outside influence.

I can again return to the quiet, unassuming persona I have been for most of my life. I choose to be happy and I will be the author of that happiness. I can participate from a distance and be content. I have my faith in God, which sustains me in all things. I have my family, my children, and my grandchildren whom I love with every fiber of my being. I have my online friends in far away places (and they know who they are) and those in not so far away places. That will be enough and I will be satisfied in the place where I am.

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