What I learned from the happiest person I ever knew.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been dealt a pretty damn good hand—loving parents, an inspiring sister and brother-in-law, an incredible girlfriend, delightful childhood memories, lifelong friends, decent athletic abilities, solid genes (at least I like to think so), and unmatched life experiences. On top of already having more than enough to be happy, I was also given one of the most special gifts of all—a best friend—a mentor—a cheerleader—an evangelist—and an eternal soul mate—my Grandma.
Yet—with a life I couldn’t have drawn up any better, there are days I’m still not happy.
But thanks to her, those days don’t happen often.
She showed me the only thing I’ll ever need to be one of the happiest—if not—the happiest person on earth.
It’s not about what you want, it’s about what you got.
And it’s not all about what you got either.
It’s much more than that.
It’s about what you’ve built. It’s about standing when you don’t have to sit. It’s about giving your time and energy back to the planet and the people on it. It’s about being selfless and a seasoned listener. It’s about taking deep breaths. It’s about working hard to give your loved ones a greater life. It’s about being captivated by the lives of others. It’s about clearing your mind of all negative judgment. It’s about jumping out of your chair with uncontrollable joy when a loved one just shows up to say hi. It’s about positively energizing everything you touch. It’s about dancing the night away. It’s about being a better friend—a better mother—and a better Grandma. And it’s about seeing, smelling, touching, tasting, and hearing what life has to offer while you still have it.
You’d think I was describing the Dalai Lama, but I’m talking about my Grandma and how she lived her life.
I wish I could truly describe the type of women she was, but no words other than perfection come even remotely close.
She was just… beyond remarkable.
In order to truly appreciate the highs, you need some lows.
She wasn’t dealt the best hand. She grew up a poor farmer in Wisconsin, didn’t have many toys to play with, had to go to the bathroom in a pot in the winter because the pipes to her house would freeze, and her husband died in her 40s leaving her with 3 children—no driver’s license—and no good means to make a great life for her family.
Yet—with a life many would trade away, she found a way to live a legendary one.
Even though she didn’t have much to many, to her she had the world.
She had love, food, a roof over her head, 3 beautiful children, her health, and her faith.
What more could one need to be happy?
There was one thing.
And she had every letter of it.
My Grandma was able to achieve such an abundantly rich, happy, and long life (95 years) because of her mentality. She showed me that the root of all our happiness stems from one very thing—appreciating the things we have. Because at the end of the day, a lot of us have already won the lottery.
Picasso once said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”
Well, World Wide Web, Marcella Geneva Swiggum found life—and then she gave it all away.
Because of her, I have the only card I need to live a happy life.
Keep flying and thanks for reading!
What do you got?
Clothes on your back?
Shoes on your feet?
A book? A bike? A phone? A car? A vacation? A job? A friend? A family?
The ability to…
The ability to…
For just a moment, slow down your busy day and really think about everything you have—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Think. about. every. little. thing…
Now think about how those little things came to be…
Now figure out how you can appreciate every tiny molecule of every little thing you have—more.
Because if you can do that…
You’re already smiling.
Help others fly higher.
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Add to the conversation.
Have a short story about someone who’s positively changed your life? Please feel free to share it in the comments because I’m sure someone out there will be able to benefit from it too.