Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Short Guide to a Happy Life

When I was at my Mom's on Thanksgiving she gave me a bunch of novels she had read to see if I wanted to read any of them. When I was looking at the selection a little slim book caught my eye, "A Short Guide to a Happy Life". I pulled that one out, and read it in one sitting. Have you ever read something that just spoke directly to your soul? This book did that to me.

Ann Quindlen wrote the book after loosing her mother to cancer. She writes how this one event in her life changed the way she lived forever. She no longer was a person who let life pass her by, but she suddenly had an overwhelming desire to live deeply every day. She became a better friend, a better employee, a better listener. She was present, she showed up, she laughed. She ate fudge and she enjoyed it. She went to events instead of sitting home. She started doing all the things she had always planned to do.

This year on Thanksgiving I am grateful for so many things. I have a life full of adventure, wonderful people, and comforts that most people take for granted. But more then that, I realized after reading this book, that I am grateful that I too, have learned the same lesson as Ms. Quindlen, and I share her overwhelming desire to live. I have made most of the same changes she has in her life, and I am a happier person for it. I show up, I listen, I laugh. I have learned how to find happiness in the little things in life, and to never take things for granted.

I will end this with my favorite passage from the book, one that truly explains how I feel, one that reaches into my core:

"I learned to live many years ago. Something really bad happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had a choice, it would never have been changed at all. And what I learned from it is what, today, sometimes seems to be the hardest lesson of all.
I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that this is not the dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get."

Happy Thanksgiving!

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