My wish...

for you is happiness.  

Happy today. Happy tomorrow.  Happy on the best day of your life.  Happy on the worst day of your life.   Happy on the last day of your life, and every single day leading up to that.

Happiness is a tricky thing.  It comes in lots of packages.  A small but beautifully wrapped package, with fancy bows and sparkly paper.  It comes in a big, tall package with loud, obnoxious wrapping with reinforced tape ready to prove just how strong it is.  It comes on Saturday night in wrapped in a couple of complements and cocktails. It comes wrapped in your paycheck or with your diploma. It comes home wrapped up with that brand new baby or new husband. 

We have all had some of this gift wrapped happiness. When times are good.  It is fun and it is fleeting. 
My wish is for a different kind of happiness.  A deep-seated happiness that spills over to friends and neighbors.  It spills over to strangers in the street.  It is always with you.

It is there on your wedding day, but also at a loved one's funeral.  The kind that is there when you look your best and is still there when you have been stripped of the fancy bows and sparkly paper.  Happiness that comes when you see your baby for the first time, but doesn't leave when that child disappoints you in a fundamental way.  It is there when the paycheck comes and when the paychecks stop coming.  It with you on Saturday night with your buddies and your beers, but doesn't go away with the buzz leaves and the boys go home.

I speak of happiness not in terms of laughing, smiling, excitement or giddiness.  The happiness I am referring to is more subtle.  It comes in the form of peace, contentment, love and most of all sustainability.  It is this happiness that endures the challenges, the deaths, the days and months without a paycheck.  It is always there. On the days you shine and in your darkest nights.

The key to this type of happiness is YOU.  You have the ability to do that for yourself.  Some people say that happiness is a choice.  I look at it a bit differently; I think that your choices decide your happiness. 

It is hard to choose happiness as your child disappoints you, but choosing to love your child fully, inspite of their choices, ensures happiness no matter what comes next.  Choosing happiness when a loved one dies is difficult, but choicing to trust that you can overcome great heartache and pain, ensures happiness when the sadness passes.  Choosing happiness when you are depressed, lost, and unsure of what to do next seems impossible, but choosing to get help or to stop the behaviors that lead you right back into despair, ensures happiness when your mind is clear and you find your way again.

I am not suggesting that this is a simple process.  You don't choose today and suddenly tomorrow you are at peace with whatever is thrown at you.  But it is a process that anyone (rich or poor, fat or thin, abused or not, loved or unloved) can go through.  Not everyone's process will look the same. Some may take months and others my try for the rest of their lives.  Others will never  try; they will dismiss my thoughts and go about their lives.  That's OK.  I choose to make a difference in my own life and help those I can.  Some will find lasting happiness and some will not. 

I have been going through this process of finding happiness for a couple of years now.  I've been lucky to be able to try a number of things to figure out what is best for me. The thing is...I never quit looking.  I never said "Screw It...this is hard and it isn't working!"  I continued with therapy.  I left my comfort zone and tried new things.  I tried to understand other people point of view.  I still have work to do, and I embrace the challenge.  I think that lasting happiness is worth the work.  The cool thing is, is that it no longer feels like work, it feels like learning.  The more I learn the happier I am. 

Am I perfectly happy 100% of the time?  NO, I am not, but I am still learning. 
Am I happy most of the time?  YES. 
Do I feel like I am equipped to handle anything that comes my way?  YES.

My wish for you, is that you will choose to make choices that give you lasting peace and happiness.
We are all capable of that and we all deserve that.