This I Believe

Emily - Williamsville, New York
Entered on October 12, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that anything is possible. I believe that life is what you make of it. I believe that the only difference between a bad situation and a good situation is your attitude. I believe that happiness is a choice, not a feeling.

When I was younger, I would always find something to complain about. A long line, the weather, other kids getting ice cream… I didn’t even realize that there was anything wrong with my behavior. I felt that happiness was merely a feeling and that when everything was going right happiness would happen automatically. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), that is not the case. Everything could be going right in my life and I would feel depressed, and everything could be going wrong and I would still feel just fine.

I complained away elementary and middle school, and when I got to high school I realized that some people just seemed to be happy every day. Were their lives perfect? Did they have the best friends, the best boyfriend, the most money, the cutest clothes? No, they just realized that life was more fun when they were being happy and thus chose to feel that way.

Today, whenever I feel stressed or upset I just remember that I need to choose to be happy and instantly I feel much better. I don’t want to waste my life being sad. Of course, that doesn’t always work. Sometimes I need to take a long shower, read a book, or talk to a friend. And sometimes I really do need to just feel sad. But when I get that way, I give myself a specific amount of time to wallow, and then I get back to my life.

To keep my good mood going, I fill my life with things that interest and inspire me. I’m the Secretary of Drama Club and go to play rehearsal every single day. Since I love to sing, I’m a member of Concert Choir (of which I’m also Secretary), Choraleers (the all-girls choir), and Swing Choir. I also baby-sit for a family a few days per week. Although it is work, I have grown to love the two little girls and look forward to the days that I go.

I’m sure there are people out there that are offended that I say happiness is simply a choice. In today’s society, it seems that everything has to be labeled as something else and medicated. “You’re depressed, take Prozac.” And yes, I realize that happiness is just not possible for some people without therapy or medicine, and I respect that, but I also believe that it is not the case for everyone.

I believe in playing Solitaire when I’m stressed out. I believe in talking over and resolving my problems before they get out of hand. I believe in taking time to appreciate the sky. I believe in good friends and in the importance of family. I believe that The Postal Service and Sugar-free Red Bull are the only mood enhancers I need. I believe that for me, and everyone for that matter, happiness is an option. I suggest that we choose it.