Live Simply With Style

Retire Happy

Happiness is more than a feeling; it’s a choice. Many of us may wonder how an elusive state of mind can be a choice.

It may be helpful to look at what people think keeps them from being happy: We inherited a predisposition. We were trained to postpone happiness. We’ve procrastinated about forming our philosophy of life. We have no focus, purpose, or passion. We’re comparing ourselves to others. We’re fantasizing. We’ve made happiness conditional on certain events or on others’ behaviors. We’ve confused happiness with success and, even, with fun. We feel unworthy or guilty. We’re victims. We’re voracious. We’ve forgotten how to show appreciation and give gratitude. We erect all kinds of hurdles to happiness—perhaps, because it may be easier to be unhappy than happy.

As we read through that list again, we can see that happiness pays no attention to age, success, wealth, or education. Circumstances do not cause an individual’s happiness or unhappiness. It is determined by people’s reactions to actions or events.

So, how can one learn to react in a happy way? First of all, throw the idea that one should be happy out the window. We do want to work, however, on accepting ourselves, building satisfying relationships, searching for meaningful activities, and maintaining an open attitude. We want to enjoy life, finding our core pleasures, experimenting with new experiences, and seeking actualization. There are many ways to do this—some insignificant, some momentous, many common.

We can be as enthusiastic as we decide to be. We can be happy at any place and at any time. It’s how we choose to view the experience that makes the difference. We can opt for delight and ecstasy or we can choose despair and misery. To help us along the way, we can listen to the teachings of therapists such as Barry Kaufman (Happiness Is a Choice). His one-step program is simplicity itself—decide to be happier starting today.

As we retire and make changes in our everyday lives, learning to be happy may be one of the most important. Start this instant. Choose happiness.


On Top of the Rock

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