Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Choose

Since the last time I posted here, I have been traveling on business in the Fort Worth area. I like Fort Worth, It is a nice place filled up with nice folks. My clients are the finest kind and the meetings went well.

That said, by the time I dragged myself onto the plane at DFW last night. I was tired, cranky and pretty much in a bad mood. We all get those. It was a combination of a lot of work, too much hotel room life, and some of the political goofiness that was going on while I was traveling. So, strapped in and waiting for the plane to take off and get me back home to South Florida I was not what you could call a happy camper.

Then a family boarded the plane. Mom, Dad and daughter. The daughter, a young woman of around 14 or so was wearing a complex and painful looking leg brace her parents were pretty much carrying her down the aisle to their seats – opposite me.

In conversation I learned that the daughter had been undergoing surgeries since she was 3 to correct a birth defect and that she had what was supposed to have been her last surgery 2 weeks prior. During a routine rehab therapy session, something in her leg popped and it set her back literally years. This young woman had to be in pain. It hurt to look at her.

They were flying to Fort Lauderdale to see the only doctor that was familiar with her situation after only a couple of weeks at home in the Dallas area. She was looking forward to school and seeing her friends. Her parents were looking forward to some time without doctors and hospitals. She is a pretty girl, but had lived with the surgery, devices and crutches most of her life. Here she was, almost done and bam! A major setback. But, you know what? She was happy! As was her family. Sure, Mom and Dad looked tired and somewhat wrung out, but the three of them were happy. Smiling and laughing.

This was one of those moments when life up and smacks you in the head. I had it coming. Here I was feeling all sorry for myself because I was tired and such, and this young woman, whose issues made mine look nonexistent was happy and laughing.

In speaking to them I learned my lesson. There is always a reason to be happy. It is never as bad as we make things out to be. Not the old silver lining opprobrium, or anything like that. Just the simple fact that as long as we are breathing, we have something to feel good about and all of the problems that we let anger us, upset us, depress us and so on are not as bad as we dress them up.

Sure, there are real problems in this world. Yes, people we love get sick, injured or die. Business goes sour. Deal fall through. Things get lost. Political winds change. But at the end of all of that we get to choose happiness or misery.

The world does not choose that for us. Each of us makes that choice every day. Next time you feel a bad mood coming on, stop and think, “Do I want to be miserable or do I want to be happy like that girl on the plane?” Me, I am going to work on choosing the happy.

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