It’s a fact, we’re getting older. But, being happy is a choice you have to want to make. It’s not always easy, but that can be said about a lot of things in life. Right?
Often, when my husband and I would go out to eat, I would see couples, our age and older, eating their meal, and not saying one word to each other the entire time they are there. I remember noticing this when we were younger, and I told my husband that I didn’t want to become like that when we got older. Now that I’m older, I understand that we don’t ALWAYS have to be talking. There is something comforting about being together and not having to talk. Sometimes…
We are getting older and we would rather be happy, than not be happy. Since we don’t have much control about the getting older part, we do have some control over whether we’re happy, or not.
Below I would like to share with you some things I’ve learned both personally, and those I have read in books, magazines, and the internet.
Those that participate in life, and/or are more active tend to be happy. They are doing more, swimming, dancing, walking, bike riding, exploring, relaxing & engaging. Those that tend to be friendly, by reaching out and making an effort to getting to know others, tend to feel happy. Even casually is better than no attempt at all.
I enjoy my quiet time, I always have. Think it stems from being an only child. But being alone all the time has made me become depressed in the past. I’ve learned to get out, enjoy life, engage with others and participate in what makes me happy. To some, that may seem selfish. To me, it’s just enjoying being 57, spending time with my hubby, and making fun memories.
Here just lately my husband and I, enjoy going out and dancing. I used to love dancing when I was younger. Now I enjoy it more so now that I am older. Why? Probably because I am happier in my skin now then I was, let’s say 35 years ago.
Did you know that being happy can actually extend your life?? Having good feelings helps when facing life challenges. It tends to make us more resilient.
This also includes spending time with friends and family as well. When you are happier and you’re feeling good, it is more likely that others will want to be around you.
No one is happy 24/7. That’s just life. Decide to be happy. If you think you have nothing to be happy for–it’s not about being happy for things you have. It’s about just being happy!! Being happy for you!! Happy that in spite of everything that you went through the first half of our your life, you made it!!! We made it!! A lot that happened in that first half of our life was beyond our control. Or, possibly, we weren’t mature enough and we didn’t know how to react, and we reacted negatively and well, let’s just say it didn’t end so well. Now that we are older, we face different obstacles, but I control how I react. I discussed this in an earlier post called “My AHA Moment“. By choosing how you react to any given situation, can change how it turns out. And sometimes it can surprise you!!
At our age, why do we still hold on to grudges? There is nothing positive about holding onto grudges. In fact, whoever it is your holding this grudge against—you are giving them control, the power, over your life. Over how you think, how you feel, etc. It does nothing to them. It’s wasted energy. I don’t know about you, but I have better things in my life to use that energy on. Wouldn’t you agree??
Did you know that by not forgiving something someone did to you, let’s say 15 years ago, has probably left you feeling bitter? I learned years ago, that actually forgiving someone, for something awful that they did to you, was very liberating. My mother was abusive to me, both physically, and mentally. All the anger, hatred, shame, feeling unloved and unwanted, it affects your entire life, even as an adult. When my mom got sick with cancer, one night in the hospital, I leaned over her hospital bed and whispered in her ear that I forgave her.
Oh my, I actually felt the weight lift off of my shoulders, and off of my back. I was free and I was no longer dragging that negative, angry, and bitter baggage around with me, wherever I went. No longer did I have the shame. I was free. And I was not only able but deserving of being happy!
Decide today to forgive. And if you can’t forgive, try doing this. Write a letter to whoever it is that you’re angry with. Write this letter as if you are talking to that person right now. Tell that person, how you feel. Don’t hold back. Let it ALL out. If it makes you feel better, call them every name in the book. Just let it all out! Tell them exactly what you think of them and what you think about what they’ve done. Tell them how it made you feel. Re-read it, to make sure you didn’t leave anything out. And then burn it. In my case, I dug a hole out front, by the bushes, I burned that letter in the hole, and when it was nothing but ashes, I covered it up with dirt. I buried it. And with that done, I was able to put it behind me. It makes you free of all the negative things. You have allowed yourself to be done with it. It may have consumed you for much of your life. But let that anger go. Will you forget? Probably not, but you took back your control!! You took action, and you choose to forgive, or at least let go. It can be quite liberating, to say the least. I hope this makes sense to you. All I want for you is to be happy.
Find a Purpose
This is one category that I have struggled with, especially for the last 4 years. Not being able to work like before, due to my illness, it can take someone’s purpose in life away. I first felt it when my kids no longer needed me to cart them around to all their practices, games, etc. It was like what do I do with myself now? Well, I went back to work. Till August 2015. The 7th was the last day I worked in the field that I’ve worked in, my entire life, retail. Many of those years were spent in retail management.
I felt lost. I felt many, many things. And most were negative. I was very angry. That’s when I decided I needed to become a more positive person. That was a chore in itself, cause naturally, I am not a positive person. Did that give me purpose? Honestly, I don’t know. But in my search for that happiness, I came across a program where I can work from home. It offers awesome training. From this training, you learn how to make real money online. I finally had a purpose in my life again! I had direction!! And I was learning something new, online–which I love doing!
Writing this blog also gives me a purpose in my life. I am reaching out to you beautiful, wonderful people–50 and beyond. And we are sharing stories, information, ideas, suggestions, and positive laughter, with one another. I want you to realize that you are important. I want you to feel good about yourself. And know that you are not alone. That many of us have similar feelings, illnesses, thoughts, living situations and much more!
Find a purpose. Whether it be spending more time with the grandkids, or crocheting blankets for those with cancer, to helping out at your local mission. Volunteer at your local hospital, or grade school! Whatever it is that you feel would give you some sense of purpose, do it!! What’s stopping you? What may help you, is to find something you are passionate about and pursue it.
Some have said that finding a part-time job gave them a feeling of purpose. I can relate to that with my work at home business. It is my job and I treat it as such. Treating it, as I would work a 9 to 5 job, that gives me purpose.
I have a few friends that say having their hobbies gives them a sense of purpose. We all have different ways to find purpose in ourselves, in our lives. Isn’t it time you found yours???
Joy and Gratitude
For some, joy and gratitude can go hand in hand. They say joy comes from things that just happen out of nowhere. Often this can be missed cause you are not paying attention. You are not looking for it. Or we are just too busy in our day to day lives, we often miss it. Good things happen in your life every day. Both big and small. Take the time to see the joys in your life, and do so often. Make it part of your life. And by doing so, you’ll begin to be more aware of the joys in your life. The joys that are around you. Take note of what brings joy to your life and hold on dearly to that. Ask yourself, how can I create joy in my life? Or how can I bring more joys into my life? For that matter, to others lives.
Gratitude is something that you should practice every day in your life. Be grateful for those that are around you. Tell them and show them often how grateful you are to have them in your life. Keep in mind, that one day they may not be here for you to tell.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a recommendation I have seen in many books and articles I have read. It helps you to take the time to stop, look around you and see all that you do have to be grateful for.
One story comes to mind when the girls were little, and I was first diagnosed with PsA. It was only in my hands then. But oh man, there were days when I hurt so bad. I would have tears running down my face, and one of the girls would ask me why I was crying, and I would tell them, mommy’s hands are hurting again. I’d see their faces and then tell them how lucky I was. I had hands that could hurt. That there are people in the world that didn’t have hands. They didn’t understand it then. But I wanted them to know that no matter how bad things could get, there are others that are worse off than you are.
When you are grateful, it often comes back to you. For me, I can find joy in being grateful. Kind of goes hand in hand. Being grateful helps me to see what joyous things I have in my life. I hope this isn’t sounding foolish, cause that is not my intent.
Being happy at our age is a choice. A choice that only we can make. If you look to others to make you happy, well I’m sad to say you won’t be happy. I did this mistake years ago, and I learned that it was not fair to the person I expected to make me happy, and it didn’t work. I wasn’t very happy. Only you can make yourself happy!
Take time to be mindful. What exactly does mindful mean?? WOW…there is a lot of different meanings I found on the definition of mindful. Without getting into all the different dynamics of being mindful, I settled on this definition:
The state or quality of being mindful or aware of something. In the present!!!
I’m still learning how to be more mindful, myself. The book that I am reading TIME Mindfulness: The New Science of Health and Happiness, has taught me to live in the now. My husband Tom and I were at a state park with our dogs. And I was trying to explain Mindfulness to him. Or what I knew of it so far. I told him to listen to the kids on the playground playing, to listen to the birds chirping, the squirrels in the trees, the boats on the river, and to listen to the wind rustling the leaves in the trees. To notice what is going on in the here and now. You focus all of your attention on the present. And you get to experience all of what comes with doing that. Feelings, sensation, and thoughts. By doing this, it can often bring you joy.
In a sense, you’re taking control back of your mind. You’re not letting it wander or worry about things in the future, or of things in the past. But in the present, the right here and now. I have what my husband calls a hyper brain. At night, I cannot shut my brain off. It’s like the energizer bunny. Over the years I have implemented things I can do to help. But it’s still a big issue for me. I know that being mindful can help me with this, I just haven’t gotten that far in the book yet. There are many practices and or steps to being mindful. Since this is all very new to me, and I really cannot share with you much much more than I have. But may I suggest the book above. It is easy to read and understand. Very insightful!
There is More
What can make one person happy wouldn’t necessarily make another person happy. Maybe what I mentioned above doesn’t help you at all, don’t let that stop you from becoming happy. Search the Internet. There is so much information out there. So many books.
How did I begin this happiness thing? I noticed that being around negative people, made me very angry and negative. It literally wore me down, both physically and mentally. Their negativity was taking a toll on me! Solution–I can only be around negative people for so long. I refuse to let their attitude dictate my attitude. I’ve quit watching all the talk shows. I find them to be degrading, unreal, stupid and negative. I no longer watch the news. It has always made me feel helpless. My husband is very much into the news, so between him and my father, I am kept up on the important things. And there are a few places I go online, where I get news.
I try to surround myself with who and what makes me happy. My husband. Usually my girls–although it can tend to be drama filled at times. LOL I remind myself that this too shall pass. Music, I LOVE music. My dog Mojo. Actually, I find animals make me happy and bring me joy. Watch some youtube videos for yourself. You can’t help but smile when it’s animals. Or babies! Going to a new place brings me joy as well as excitement. Going to the beach, not only makes me happy and brings me joy, it relaxes me. Family and friends have heard me say many times, “I need some beach therapy!” Look for it. It is out there. What makes you happy???
Please let me know what makes YOU happy. What things do you do??? As always, I would LOVE to hear from you, you can do so in the comments below.
It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens. -Woody Allen