The Key to Happiness

Shannon - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on October 14, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that your attitude determines your happiness. Not how well your day is going, not how good or bad of a time you’re having; your attitude.

I once knew a woman– a family friend, named Karen. She constantly had a great attitude regardless of what was bothering her. She was always in a good mood and nothing could bring her down. Not even being diagnosed with lung cancer at the young age of 29.

When Karen was told she had less than a year to live, she made the best of it. In spite of her health, she did everything she wanted to do before she died. (Count on fingers) She traveled to Europe , she spent time with her family, and she saw a Broadway musical, and she had a great time. Even when treatment got hard, and I could tell she was in pain; she smiled right through the hurting. I once asked her, “Karen, with all the injustice in the world, how can you possibly be so happy?” She replied. “Honey, life is too short to waste time sulking. If I were to let this bother me, the last moments of my life would be spent in depression. I need to be as happy as I can, while I still have the chance.” Karen was one of the strongest people I’ve ever met. She was always happy, right until the very end, which—despite what the doctors said—was 2 full years later.

Then I see people who drop a 5 dollar bill on the way to school and the rest of the day, they complain that it’s the worst day of their life. They sulk and pout and that makes them have a horrible day. But if they were to brush it off and tell themselves that 5 dollars really didn’t matter, they could still have an amazing day.

All you need to do is look on the bright side of things and have a good attitude. If you go through life, expecting things to go wrong, and being upset when they do, time will pass you by and you won’t enjoy anything. Something always goes wrong, nothing is perfect. Instead of being mad about it, just think about how much worse it could be, and be grateful for what you do have.

It frustrates me to see someone as strong as Karen, who enjoyed life even with cancer being a part of it. While lucky people are so unappreciative that the littlest thing can turn them against life. Life isn’t about the things that actually happen to you, it’s about how you react to them. You are the only one who can decide how happy you are.