A 92 year-old, well-dressed, polite gentleman moved into our nursing home today. He was immaculately dressed, his hair was clean and well-combed, and he was closely shaved. Although he was legally blind, he was able to get around without much difficulty. His wife of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move to our nursing home necessary. After a long time of waiting in our lobby, he smiled sweetly when he was told that his room was at last ready. As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window.
“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an 8 year-old having just been presented with a new puppy. “But Mr. Jones, you haven’t even seen your room yet!” I replied. “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied. “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged or what is in the room. It depends on how I have arranged my mind, and I have already decided to love the room. Being happy is a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulties I have, such as an old, aching body with parts that no longer work or the loss of my wife; or I can get up and be thankful for the parts of my body that do work, and for countless other blessings. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away. Old age is like a bank account. You can withdraw from that account the good things you have put in.”
I learned so much from this kind man. My advice now is for all of us to deposit as much happiness as we possibly can in our bank account of memories. As I have made deposits in my account, I have come up with five simple rules of happiness:
ü Free your heart from hatred
ü Free your mind from worries
ü Live simply
ü Give more
ü Expect less