Older Than Dirt: The Secret to Happiness

Sister and I began our new year in a new apartment. It's a senior building much closer to town than we were. We hated having to depend on our family for so many things. It isn't as though we can't walk, we just don't drive.

It is too easy to get lazy when you depend on everyone else for everything. But we are not what one would consider the outdoor type. Hiking, playing golf, and bike riding? That's not us at all.

Sister and I do fun stuff, but it seems much of it is either at the computer, the casino or eating at a restaurant.

My son thinks it is very important for me to keep walking! He knows that at some point I MAY no longer be able to care for myself, due to aging, or even illness of some kind. He also thinks that he and his wife would most likely be moving me in with them. Lately I have noticed he mentions quite often how HAPPY he is that I am still getting around so well. Do you see a connection here?

Most seniors find their own kinds of fun. What others find enjoyable is not always what works for everyone. I believe that being happy comes from inside of us. We each have different interests, and don't always need to drag everyone else into what it is WE like to do.

Where was I going with this, anyway?

Oh yes, it is coming back to me now. What makes people happy? Is it just a temporary condition, or the way someone might describe us? I have always considered myself to be a happy person for the most part. Easy-going and even tempered. However, I have been known to come somewhat unhinged when I run into major stupidity of one kind or another. I did learn a long time ago that common sense is not an inherent skill, and there are many who are never able to master it.

Being around unruly children can also bring out the beast in me. And this is clearly NOT related to my age. My own kids were extremely well behaved, and perhaps that is why I am so intolerant. I was asking the waitress at restaurants to keep me out of the kid's section a long time ago. Does that make me a bad person?

So what makes for a happy person? A happy life, you say? What about those who have a truly crappy life through no fault of their own? My brother used to say, "We can only play the cards we are dealt." (He did happen to be a poker dealer for much of his life.)

I think what that means is that we can only change certain things in our lives. We can move to a more suitable place as sister and I have done. We can cut loose the people in our lives that often bring us down and we really never cared much for in the first place. We can put away a few bucks and buy something we really want, but sure as heck don't NEED! We can help someone else who is clearly worse off than ourselves. (That one always makes me happy.)

We cannot make ourselves taller (sister has a hard time with that one). We can't make ourselves younger (I hate that one!) and we surely can't go back for "do-overs" in our life.

I believe that when we first wake up in the morning, we set our pace for the whole day. It happens that first few seconds as you are opening up your eyes. If you can just focus on something that makes you happy, and not something you dread, you got it right! Even something as small as that first hot cup of coffee could get you off to a very good start.

If you are the kind of person who really can't find any good reason to be happy about anything, perhaps the kind of happiness you are looking for is just not possible. You may just be overlooking something that is already there.

With all her complaining, even my sister admits that she is happy where we are, at this point in our lives. However, once a week or so she still says she wants to move back to Washington state. I tell her, "Go ahead! But I am not leaving!"

I know she won't go without me. That's just how we roll.

Be happy!