Saturday, December 17, 2005

Be Happy

Abraham Lincoln said that “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I have found that this is true. I know there are people who have a right NOT to be happy, but for the most part it’s a choice. When people greet me and say “how are you?” I always say, “I’m living a dream.” About 90% of the people to whom I say this, say “I am too but mine’s a nightmare.” I always wonder why they would be living a nightmare.
I read in a self-help book by Jim Rohn that “it’s not about what happens to you, but what you do about what happens to you.” That way you are in control and you are not relinquishing control to “IT”. Victor Frankel was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp and underwent unspeakable treatment by his captors, but he never relinquished control over his reaction to their actions.
I’m not sure about you, but that puts a slightly different spin on how you feel about being stuck for an hour in Birmingham traffic. In the context of what some people must endure, being upset by a traffic jam or working for a boss that is a goober is a little bit petty .

I have lived a gifted life. I was born in what would now be considered poverty but I never felt poor. My mom and dad were both proud people and they worked very hard to provide the basics for our family and I cannot remember going “without”….ever.
I’m not sure when I made my decision to be happy, but it was fairly early on. One situation comes to mind. Back in 1980, I worked as a repairman for South Central Bell. I came in one day in April and they told me they needed me in Mobile, Alabama to help with cleanup efforts after Hurricane Fredrick. They said I would be there at least 6 months living out of a Howard Johnson’s motel. Many of my co-workers complained and resisted. I headed home and threw a suitcase and a cooler in the back of the truck…I loaded up my wife and and my German Shepherd Duke and set out on an adventure.
We worked hard, but we played harder. On the weekends, we went to Biloxi, New Orleans, Panama City and all points in between. I met lifelong friends there wrote stories in my journal that are a scream.

As Danny Kay says “Life is a Big Ol’ Canvas so throw a lot of paint on it.” If you’re not happy with you life, change it. Meet new friends, go to the library, go to a new bar, a new church, or go somewhere you have never been….but go expecting the best because I have also learned that if you go expecting the worst, you usually find it. Be Happy.
NOTE: The photo above is from 1980 - when I had hair.

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