This smile = happy.

The squad and I have been talking about happiness lately. We’ve been talking about it a lot. One of them, when asked the question “Are you happy?” He responded with “I get by.” This made me kinda sad. But he’s a boy and they are programmed differently. This started much more dialog with the girls of the tribe and me.

For the past few weeks the girls and I decided to wake up and choose happiness everyday. We are all in very different places in our lives, both physically and mentally. We are all more than a hundred miles apart. And they are happily attached and I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed they are happy in their relationships with their significant others. All three have known heartache and they deserve to be in love. So, back to waking up happy.

None of our lives are perfect; far from it. But we have all chose to wake up every morning and give thanks for all we have and not dwell on the things we don’t. Things could have turned out a lot different for all of us. And the last 6 months have been hard for us all. But we kept our eyes on our goals. We all have different ones. And so far, we are all succeeding. We have all had some setbacks, but when that happens we just say, “Out of the ashes the Phoenix will rise.”

I can honestly say we are all happy. We might not be happy about everything, but we are all in a good place. The last two months have went very smooth for all of us. We cut out a lot of drama, cut some toxic people loose and concentrated on the important stuff. We define the important stuff as family, friends and work, in that order. We all work very, very hard. We all love our family and friends unconditionally. And we have learned that we can’t solve every problem every day. As long as we get up and get going everyday, then sometimes that is enough. We still have big long-term dreams that we are all working towards. And we’ll all get there. We all have some loose ends that will be tied up in the very near future.

We are already making plans for a long girls weekend on the lake on a houseboat like we did a few years ago. And we have all made a conscious decision to just breathe a little when things get tough. We have learned not to have a knee jerk reaction to unpleasant and unexpected bouts of bullshit. We pray more. We talk to each other more. We make a lot of lists and check things off as we go. We have also learned to ask for help when we need it. And then, despite our programming, we decided that emotions do not make us weak.

We are all optimistic about the future. We all know we have to work hard to get there. We have all laughed thru tears, gave and gotten a lot of hugs and also said, “just get the fuck over it,” more than once.

We are all far from perfect, but we are trying. We have been donating a lot of our time and some of our funds to charities we believe in. I haven’t said “fuck” in more than 57 days, but I still say “shit” way too much for my mother’s liking. We still enjoy a good glass of wine from time to time and we are eating a lot better than we have in the past.

We have been trying to decide when all this started. When did we all actually grow-up? And we haven’t come up with a good answer yet. But we have sure had a good time the past few months and we are enjoying our own definition of happy.

On a different note, I’m off to BBQ on the River in Paducah this weekend. I’m going to eat way too much good food and take my first trip in a helicopter. I’m reminded of what a different place I am this year than I was last year. Some things are better, some are not, but I still wake up happy every morning.

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