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Happiness is a decision

As I was browsing through an old online journal I came across a piece I’d discovered and shared several years ago. I’m not sure where I originally found it, who wrote it, or whether it’s about a real person (if anyone has any insight into its origin, please let me know), but as its underlying message resonates with me, I thought I’d share it here.

A 92-year-old petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, and shaved perfectly with his hair fashionably coiffed, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home. His wife of 70 years had passed away, making the move necessary.

After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, his helper provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet curtains that had been hung on his window.

“I love it!” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room – just wait!”

“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he 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. See, 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! And 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.

“Thank you for your part in filling my memory bank. I am still depositing!”

Today, what will you deposit in your bank account of memories?

Laurel Storey, CZT – Certified Zentangle Teacher. Writer, reader, tangler, iPhoneographer, cat herder, learner of French and Italian, crocheter, needle felter, on-and-off politics junkie, 80s music trivia freak, ongoing work in progress.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Kathy April 15, 2012

    This is awesome. I love it. Such wonderful words of wisdom to live by!!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com/
    Kathy recently posted… I Quit! BFF 184My Profile

  • Megan April 15, 2012

    “Today, what will you deposit in your bank account of memories?”. Dayum, that’s a good question!

    Let me preface my answer by saying that my best friend Pam is blind and I have gotten quite good at seeing things I would not normally see, for her. So that I can describe them to her, to live vicariously through my seeing eyes.

    I was at the MS Walk 2012, Los Angeles this morning. My cornea is forever burned by the many beautiful, emotional, and hopeful images, I cannot begin to explain them to you. I have done other walks, for AIDS, cancer, etc. but something about this one (maybe because I did it for the first time with my daughter, maybe because I wanted to memorize all the visuals for Pam) just got to me. I took some pictures to share them with my family, but upon coming home and viewing them, I realized I wanted them up there for posterity. So that I can go back and revisit them, when I’m tempted to bitch about the little things in my life. So that maybe they inspire others to do the same. I hope it’s not too crass of me to include a link to my post: http://filelalaine.blogspot.com/2012/04/ms-is-my-bitch.html (If it is, please accept my apologies and remove the comment/link).

    It was one hell of a day to deposit in my bank of memories!
    Megan recently posted… MS is my bitchMy Profile

    • Sabrina April 16, 2012

      It’s something to be on the other side of the fence isn’t it? It doesn’t matter what fence it is, just to get past pisstivity and on to acceptance, compassion and thankfulness. I loved the pics and especially the arrow pointing to you and Emily. I can’t imagine thinking of all the different ways to describe our surrounds to someone that cannot see. I’d imagine your writing will absorb this new strength. We can’t seem to help others without some of it getting on us. Take care! 🙂
      Sabrina recently posted… No Matter What Happens Next, Don’t Second Guess ItMy Profile

    • Laurel Regan
      Twitter:
      April 16, 2012

      So glad you shared your experience and your photos – what a wonderful day! Starting with my dad’s diagnosis back in the 80s, MS has reared its ugly head several times in various of my family members, so I thank you for your contribution to the MS Society’s fundraising efforts. I did the walk myself one year, and had a great experience.
      Laurel Regan recently posted… On speaking Canadian to an audience of AmericansMy Profile

  • Classic NYer April 16, 2012

    What an incredibly powerful message!
    Classic NYer recently posted… On an unexpected angelMy Profile

  • Glenda Cates April 17, 2012

    Such a beautiful post Thanks for sharing it with us.

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