Choosing to Work Towards Happiness

Happiness does not seem like a choice after a catastrophic event like stroke.  However, you can choose to work towards happiness. The rewards are tremendous!

Derailed Plans

We walked out of a restaurant last night after being seated. Well, I rolled.

There’s a new Indian restaurant in my small town. The sign said buffet. It was only at lunch and the dinners were $20+ a plate. Not in our budget at all.

We would have paid that as a splurge for the buffet. Not because we wanted a ton of food but because we wanted to try a variety of dishes.

Neither of us has ever eaten at an Indian restaurant. We thought it was the perfect opportunity to be introduced. We were scared to order a $20+ dinner and not enjoy it. Maybe one day we’ll make it there for the lunch buffet.

So out we went. It was a small place. Getting in and out of a booth and into my chair was awkward and noticeable.

We ended up having a wonderful Mexican dinner al fresco.

Surprising Reaction

I’m not gonna lie, I was disappointed; I was looking forward to a new experience. Plus, just putting on shoes instantly triggers spasticity and increases pain. When we first left the house, it was hot & uncomfortably humid. Getting in and out of the car twice and chair 4 times was more than I bargained for at the end of a long day. Every transfer is scary and painful.

Typically, my night would have been ruined after viewing the menu. The pain, heat, no-buffet letdown, and finally the dinner prices would trigger a boatload of angry negative thoughts.

It said buffet on the window. I’m not fond of leaving the house. Freddy could have picked up dinner. I could be safe and comfortable at home.

When I first had the stroke, the smallest negative event or interaction (like being hit with the heavy humidity) would trigger every negative thought possible. The heaviest darkest cloud would begin to engulf me from the inside out.

My mantra would begin: I can’t do this. I’m not strong enough………. Why should it be so hard to go out to dinner?  We shouldn’t be this broke, I am(was) a middle aged accountant!

I don’t know if it’s my focus on publishing Paul’s silver linings post or that I started re-reading Happiness Is A Choice or all the many many months (well, now years) of seeking out the positives, but I easily and thoroughly enjoyed our very last-minute change of plans.

No positive self-talk necessary.

Everything Happens Exactly as it Should

Maybe my core belief that “Everything That’s Supposed to Happen; Happens”, (no need for upset or anger, it won’t change anything) has fully returned to the deepest part of me.

I wasn’t reactive and I didn’t need to be consciously proactive.

It was a great feeling. It was a first since the stroke.  I felt……….. happy?

Normally, after I reacted, most likely with some tears, (more like a complete meltdown), I would have to start a very stern, positive internal dialogue that could last till the next day.  The night would be ruined with me demanding we just go home.  Similar to the meltdown I had a couple weeks back.

If I read this 2 years ago, written by someone else of course, I would have thought this girl is a nut job, why am I still reading. That’s almost as nuts as someone saying their stroke was a blessing.

I’m not to the point of feeling blessed by the stroke nor do I think I’ll ever be.

I guess you never know, one day I may say the stroke was a blessing. (I highly doubt it; I don’t use the word blessing)

Although, I NEVER thought a night like tonight would ever occur. Not only wasn’t I upset; it was a totally pleasant evening. Not one ounce of upset, anger, or frustration even with the high pain level.

Is this what happy feels like?

Even as I sit here at 3am wide-awake in bed with cable out (at the time when I actually like to watch TV), I’m just glad I have my phone to write this on.

Maybe it’s what I’m supposed to be doing at the moment because obviously I’m not supposed to be watching TV.


Everything happens the way it is supposed to, is a very helpful belief.

All we have in life is our beliefs. Good or Bad. Isn’t it just as easy to form a positive belief as a negative one?

No need to answer that question.

Sometimes it’s really F’ING hard to form a positive belief. I’ve been working on this daily for years.

Happiness does not seem like a choice after a catastrophic event like stroke. However, you can choose to work towards happiness. The rewards are tremendous! I guess what I’m trying to say is – it can be done. There is light at the end of the tunnel! Working towards happiness does pay off.

Daily, I’m able to find things to be grateful for, positives, & happy moments. However, last night I had my first feeling of happiness unrelated to any particular event.

You’re alive either way, isn’t it worth it to work daily on finding happiness? No need to answer that either. The answer is a definite YES!

Not only does noticing the good stuff make the days easier, but all those little things add up to big changes.

I have no doubt that last night was just the beginning. If it can happen once, it can happen again and again. Like the daily positives adding up to a pure happy experience, all the pure happy experiences will eventually add up to a happy life.

Who knows, one day I may actually look at my life as a gift.

Now for a question worth answering:

Are you choosing happiness or choosing to work toward happiness or neither yet?

           Answer BelowTill next time - Have Wonderful Days - Leslie

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2 Responses to Choosing to Work Towards Happiness

  1. Paul Hoffman August 20, 2015 at 4:06 am #

    You know my answer…I chose happiness.

  2. Leslie August 20, 2015 at 1:36 pm #


    You don’t just choose it, you’re the epitome of happiness!

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