How to be Happy


October 18, 2013 by Marj Hatzell


That up there is a boy who knows how to be happy.

I’ve learned quite a bit the past few years parenting my children.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (you know I had to put that in there,) I thought happiness was being happy all the time. I thought it meant feeling elated, feeling good, and never being sad. But then life happened, lots of life happened, and I found myself feeling sad often. As a person that takes pride in my annoyingly-optimistic outlook on life, that felt very foreign to me. I almost felt guilty for struggling with life events.

My children were born and things were difficult. I was sad often, happy sometimes and handling things the best way I knew how. We had many, many challenges, between their medical issues and developmental delays and other family crap. And believe me, some families get heaped with WAY MORE than their fair share. One day I woke up and I decided I needed to get more out of my life. I needed to be happier. Surely I could be happier. But what could make me happy?

I tried things. Things didn’t make me happy.

I tried other people. Other people didn’t make me happy.

I tried dogs. I less-than-three my dogs muchly, but the dogs didn’t truly make me happy.

My husband, my kids, my house…none of those REALLY made me happy. Sure, I love them. But why wasn’t I happy?

I tried therapy\. And while therapy helped, it still didn’t make me happy.

One day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I said to myself, “Hey, self! Guess what? You are the only one that can make yourself happy, self.” ME. The happiness has to start with ME. Inside of me, even.

I’m not wise by any means. I mean, I’m book smart but I have little-to-no appropriate social skills. I’m a spaz. I have anxiety over talking on the phone and have to script out conversations before I do it. It’s painful for me to have my hair cut (for REALZ.) I never shut up and no one has EVER accused me of being reticent. And probably never will.

My point? I don’t have all the answers in life. But what I did figure out with all of this awesome life experience is that happiness doesn’t come from without, y’all. It comes from within. And happiness isn’t all, “HAPPY FUN TIME! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!” Sometimes happiness comes in the form of contentment. Will you be “happy” 24-7-365? AW HELLZ NAW. Real life doesn’t work that way. But you can take what you’ve got and make the best of it. If things are within your control and you’re not happy with it? CHANGE IT. Things that are out of your control? LET GO. Yes, we have challenges. By all rights I should be a miserable, blubbering, hostile, angry mess. But I’m not letting that direct this movie called life. Heck no. I’m in charge here. You can disagree with me. Go ahead. It’s your life.

Yes, bad things happen. It’s hard to be happy when people are murdered, children are victimized, loved ones die or are stricken with disease. But you have a choice. You can let those experiences define you or you can choose to let other things define you. They impact your life but they don’t have to be your life. You dig?

Life is so short. So freaking short. It’s over in the blink of an eye.

Get busy living.

Or disregard everything I said and keep looking for the magic road to “happy” that doesn’t exist. Your choice.

10 thoughts on “How to be Happy

  1. Susan Buccella says:

    I dig!

  2. Jen says:

    We are very much alike. Scripted phone conversations (when I can’t email/text/do anything OTHER than talk on the scary, scary phone?), check. Ha. Trying everything to find happiness? Check. Realizing no one else can do it for me? Check that one off, too. It’s hard, but so true. If you aren’t happy, you AREN’T happy. There’s no magic person or animal or thing that will snap you out of it. And therapists will happily take your money, but they don’t have the answers, either (I am also as scared of psychs as I am the phone.) It really starts with making a choice. Great blog.

  3. wow this is a very different kind of writing and reflection here, than even a year ago…what growth and wisdom…i am so honored to know ya lady (and I won’t say I told you so!!)

  4. Mary says:

    This is awesome. Or, as we say at our house YOU are on the Awesome Spectrum!

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