I have struggled some lately with being happy day to day. I start the day refreshed an energized, ready to charge into the fray. Then little things tend to come up - tests, homework, disappointments, unexpected stumbles - that make me feel worse and worse, until by the end of the day I am tired and stressed and upset and want to just hide in my bedroom.
However, fortunately for me, there is generally somebody already there. My roommate - Katie.
Katie is one of the most positive people I know - running a close race between my mother, grandmother, and a handful of aunts. When I ask her how her day went, the answer could be anything from "It was fantastic!" to "Well, my master class piece really didn't go very well," to "I had an awful exam in sight singing," - and every time there will be a smile on her face. It is an absolute marvel to me. She always knows when I've had a horrible day - theatre and sign language have made me a little transparent, I guess - but I can almost never tell with her. She is always happy, and always trying to make sure that I'm happy, too. I've questioned her about this talent on more than one occasion. "How do you do it?" I ask. Her answers have been beautifully simiple and surprsingly profound.
The first was this: "It's no fun to be sad, so I try not to do it."
Good heavens - is it possible that it's really that simple? I suppose it truly is. I don't particularly have an enjoyable time being in a bad mood or being upset or sad. In fact, I hate it. So, then, the question - if it's upleasant, why do it? The answer - there's no good reason at all. Don't! Being happy is so much better! It's about the most brilliant thing I've ever heard.
The second answer was this: "I just have such a wonderful life!"
This one gave me something to think about. And when I thought, I came to the following conclusion - when I was upset or down on myself, I was looking only at the downsides of life. Stress, homesickness, lonliness, fatigue, disappointment, inadequacy... looking at life like that, it's little wonder I ended up sad. Who wouldn't? But then I started to remember the things that make life wonderful... good food, a warm bed, great books... the trees putting on colored leaves, the cool outside air, the warm sunshine... Good friends, loving family, education... a purpose, a plan, the gospel...
Good grief. My life is wonderful, too.
To what end, then, is sadness? No end at all, in my mind. There are times when sorrow is worth something, as in times of mourning or true hardship. And hardship certainly does happen to everyone. It has happened to me. But life is wonderful, too - and it can be even better if we make it so.
"We are as happy as we make up our minds to be." My mother is a shining example of this. My Grandmothers did it before her, and my aunts as well. My best and finest friend in the world, my dear Katie, is living proof of its truthfulness for me every single day. They each have the remarkable gift of being able to disregard the circumstances. No matter how hard things may seem, they almost always find a way to be perfectly happy right where they're planted.
I want to be like that. I will be like that. Sadness is no fun at all, and I have so much to be grateful for, and such a wonderful life to live... If I have anything to say about it, sadness and bad feelings can go to the back burner and stay there.
I will be happy.