Happy Choices = Happy Days

My schedule is empty today except for a couple of pesky phone calls. I can choose to spend my day in any number of ways. Go to the movies? Call a friend? Go to the museum? Read a book? Take a walk in the water?. Life is a great big gift basket of choices.

I dreamed of free time when I was struggling to get through college or build the church. Free time seems as though it should be fun. Yet, plenty of retired people are not so sure. A lot of us are addicted to work.

I started working in high school and I worked until a month before my child was born. I returned to work three months later and I have worked all my life. I have always found work interesting and rewarding.

I’m still working on my writing, teaching a class and taking a few counseling appointments but mostly, my time is my own. Quite honestly, I find free time challenging but I’m much better about it than I used to be.

Many years ago, I when I married for a second time, my new husband proudly told me I never had to work again. He would take care of me and my ten-year-old child. In his eyes, I was a widow who had been forced by circumstances to work.  We both thought he was saving me.

Within weeks after I left my job, I was volunteering for a million committees and was chair of most of them. My new husband was generous but absent minded and  I had to ask him for money when I ran out. I hated that! I also hated the free time!

To make a short story shorter, after six months, we held a family conference and my new husband daughter begged me to get a job. I was gainfully employed within the week and we were all happier.

I’ve learned a lot since then. I now know that I always have choices. I get to choose my activities, my friends, my thoughts and my dreams. Most of all, I can choose my emotional response to free days.

This morning, I chose to start by making a gratitude list. Now I am writing a blog. Next, I will choose to make those pesky phone calls.  The rest of the day will probably be spent working on my new book. I am making positive choices even if they are not thrilling.

Choosing well is the key to happy days. We all know people who feel sorry for themselves because they can’t play basketball because it is raining. If you can’t have your first choice, then be sure and pick something you like rather than just feeling sorry for yourself and grumbling all day long.

There is no percentage in saying no to everything because you aren’t able, at this time, to have one of your first picks. I had a great day in a small museum last week even though I didn’t feel up to walking around in the big one.

Saying no, feeling sorry for ourselves and choosing inactivity doesn’t get us what we want. Looking around and pitching into new activities raises our spirits.  Don’t be depressed because your grand children live far away. Instead, choose to volunteer to be a big brother or sister to some other children.

Like many older people, I don’t have the physical ability to take long trips. I’d love to go to Greece or Turkey but I recently took a four-day trip up the coast to San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Solvang. I had a wonderful time with my daughter and sister.

Many surveys show that people grow happier as they age despite their physical limitations. I am certain it is because we are spiritual beings having a human experience and part of that experience is learning to control our responses to life. We learn to make healthy and happy choices.

As you go through this day, remember that you have a lot of power and you get to choose your responses to life. Most of all, remember, You deserve the best!

Ask yourself

What can I do that’s fun today?

How can I open my life to new & excellent experiences?



One Comment on “Happy Choices = Happy Days”

  1. Jane – such a great reminder – thank you!

    Love & FUN,
    Mary Beth

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