I’ve been doing some reflection today before I write my Year In Review tomorrow. I started reading “Happiness Is a Choice You Make” by John Leland and it’s making me think. Leland spends a year with the oldest old, learning what happiness means to the elderly. Their definitions are all different, but staying happy in the present moment is a shared belief among all. Apparently, the elderly experience joy in the moment instead of the future because there may be no future, unlike a young person.

I remember hearing about the book last year in the New York Times and thought that would be a perfect read for my project. I noticed the library had it a few weeks ago, but I was reading another book. I noticed the book was still there in Wednesday and I pounced on it. I’ve been savoring “Happiness Is a Choice You Make” and I’ve been thinking as well.

Since bringing the Happiness Box Project initiative public, I’ve gone into more debt. I wanted to get healthy again as serious liver issues were looming, and sharing my money with others brought cheer. Travelling and seeing friends brought cheer; and while changing my diet since going gluten-free has helped tremendously, it’s expensive. I don’t regret the debt because this has been the most joyful year in a long time. I know when I pay it off, I’m not going to stress and not enjoy – I’ll still enjoy even while paying it back.

“Happiness Is a Choice” is following one elderly man that survived the Holocaust. Surviving one terror really shaped his outlook of happiness and for him, sharing with others brings him the most joy. He told Leland that in his perfect life, it isn’t money, fame, or material things that make him happy, it’s sharing a bowl of grapes with others.

I’m nowhere near finished the book, but it has me thinking. Maybe that is the definition of joy for all of us – sharing with others. While I do believe going gluten-free has helped (85%), I also believe spending time with loved ones and sharing myself with others also helped too. I’m an introvert, but I do believe spending some time with loved ones and sharing with them is best for us all.

As we inch into 2019, I am taking notes to apply not only to 2019, but the rest of my life.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

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