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Living Simply and Finding Happiness

Updated on October 2, 2013

Do you see that glass in front of you half-empty or half-full? I have spent decades expecting the worst and more often than not fulfilling those expectations almost by sheer willpower. It’s a hell of a way to live and quite frankly I finally grew tired of my negativity and did something to change it all. I am going to be emphatic in this next statement because I believe with every fiber of my being that it is true: happiness is a choice! We can choose to be miserable or we can choose to be happy and for quite some time now I have chosen to be happy.

How do I know that happiness is a choice? I have some very special people in my life and by their example they have shown me that despite the luck of the draw, despite the hardships faced, one can be happy by simply willing it. My best friend Bob has Alzheimer’s Disease and if there was ever a reason to be miserable and dejected having Alzheimer’s would be that reason. However, Bob faces each day with one credo and one credo alone: life is good! He is determined to make his remaining time on Earth a positive experience filled with love.

One of my former students was born with Spina Bifida and has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life. If you ever want to see a radiant smile then I’ll be glad to introduce you to Mary who refuses to allow her handicap to stop her from enjoying life.

So yes, I am happy! Perhaps you would like to know my own personal list of reasons why I am happy? Well I’ll be glad to tell you, so kick back and allow me to list my reasons for happiness.


Livin' large and lovin' life.
Livin' large and lovin' life. | Source
Bev brings happiness to my life daily!
Bev brings happiness to my life daily! | Source

PHYSICAL

I don’t know who my birth parents were but those folks must have had some seriously bionic genes which they passed along to me. Aside from the fact that I am sixty-three years old and still hike and snowshoe, I am a picture of good health and have been for most of my life. Now let’s stop and take a look at that last statement for a minute or two. I do not eat properly; in fact, I am the poster boy for unhealthy eating and I consider vegetables to be totally unnecessary. Ask Bev if you don’t believe me! If it has fins, wings or feet I will eat it; if it came out of the ground or off of a tree I will not eat it. Pretty simple formula and one that is fairly easy to remember.

I put my body through hell for decades while I was drinking, continually ingesting alcohol which at times was my only food source. I have never broken a bone and I have only been in the hospital once and that was for a bulging disc in my back which was operated on and has never given me a moment’s trouble in the twenty years since.

I have two arms, two legs and a fully functioning mind and body that takes a lickin’and keeps on tickin’. Please, tell me why I shouldn’t be happy?

I have all of my senses and with them I can taste the juiciest of steaks, smell jasmine in the air and touch Bev’s face, hear her laughter and see her smile.


MENTAL

I was given a brain which is capable of complex thought. It may have made some questionable decisions in the past but it also has the ability to process those decisions and adjust accordingly. Within seconds it can gather information, sort through that information, choose the best course of action and act on that calculation and it does that thousands of times each day without fail.

Computers may be faster but my mind can also add sensory input and adjust accordingly and as such is a marvel to behold. It is, quite possibly, one of the most complex machines known to mankind and considering the fact that it functions competently for seven, eight or nine decades without a warranty makes it one of the best buys on the market.

Please, tell me why I shouldn’t be happy!


Sit with me and let's chat

EMOTIONAL

Oh yes, lest we forget, what many consider the weakness of the human species I consider to be my strongest asset. I have the ability to feel the joy of laughter. I have the ability to feel remorse for my unkind actions. I have the ability to feel emotional pain for a loved one when they are suffering and I am capable of giving strength to those who are down through my compassionate words.

Empathy towards others is quite possibly our most wondrous of gifts. Once I thought it was a weakness to show emotions. Now I celebrate every tear that falls, every laugh wrinkle on my face and every ounce of compassion in my body. It is joyous to be human and to care about other human being.

I must not forget that, which in my opinion, is our highest calling, namely love. Whether we descended from the apes, crawled onshore from some primordial ooze or were begotten by the Biblical ancestors, what has developed is a higher life form that is capable of receiving love and accepting love.

I love and I am loved. Please, tell me why I shouldn’t be happy!


Are you happy with your life?

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The importance of family
The importance of family | Source

Yes, I Have Reflections

When I first started attending AA meetings I would speak at meetings and I would talk about the problems I had, how miserable my life was because of my past drinking. I felt it was important that other alcoholics hear how tough my life was and most likely I was hoping to gather some sympathy. One day an old timer took me aside and told me that my sharing fell under the category of “poor me, poor me, pour me another drink.” He went on to tell me that the purpose of an AA meeting was to share our experience, strength and hope so that others might find the solution through our words. Oh, but he wasn’t done! He also added that if people wanted to know how to be miserable all they had to do was go to a tavern; it was my job, however, to teach people how to be happy in sobriety.

I have not forgotten those words. The only problems I have today are problems magnified beyond reasonable proportion by my mind. I look around at people who are homeless, jobless, unloved, abused and in a state of hopelessness and it is pretty easy for me to gain perspective and realize just how lucky I am.

Yes I am happy! I was born with all the tools necessary to find joy in my life. I was born with all the tools necessary to give support to those who are down, to bring laughter into lives and to spread love wherever I go.

I would be a fool not to be happy and Daddy didn’t raise no fool!

AUTHOR'S NOTE: One year after writing this article I can say without hesitation that life has never been better. Is it always easy? Not at all; there will always be hardships and trials. However, it is a wonderful life and will remain so as long as I remember the hard lessons learned.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Powerful and so touching! Happiness does come through our life experiences, learning how to face life with a stronger understanding. Enjoyed your thoughts and reflections, it makes me thankful for the values my parents have taught me.

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 5 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Happiness indeed comes from within ourselves, it is a result of what we give the most attention and focus to.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, I see you published a new hub so I'll be there shortly. Thank you my friend; I'm glad we both reached this point of enlightenment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jlava, very well said. I can concentrate on the negative and it will show in my words and actions, or I can concentrate on loving life and I will reflect that. I wish you a wonderful and happy weekend.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      You are right-on with this. True happiness comes from helping others who are down. Many are in need since the economy took a dive. I am glad you found joy in your life. Thank you for sharing...

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 5 years ago from Sunny Spain

      So true Billy we can't control what happens to us in life nor choose what happens to us most of the time but what we can choose is how we respond to it.

      I can see that you live your life with an attitude of gratitude and I can't think of a better attitude to have. I enjoyed your hub very much voting up :)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 5 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      So inspirational, Bill!

      When ever I am tempted to feel sorry for myself, all it takes is a split second to consider the abundant blessings and joy in my life. I truly believe, as you point out, that happiness is largely a choice. Making a gratitude list at the end of each day (I don't even write it down, I just make a mental checklist) is a wonderful way to wind down. Makes me smile no matter how challenging the day. :)

      All the best, Steph

    • hetty frederik profile image

      hetty frederik 5 years ago from Jl. Jambu 13 Complex Arco, Sawangan Depok West Java Indonesia

      Thanks for sharing your positive views, Billybuc

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, I am seeing more unhappiness in the past few years than I have seen in a long time and I have to believe that the economy is at least partly to blame. We have to find our own happiness and not have it contingent on outside influences. Thank you my friend for your timely comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Maggs! I greatly appreciate your comment and you outlook on life. I now surround myself with positive people and you are one of them.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, I think we all go through those stages where we feel sorry for ourselves. Those who are aware realize fairly quickly just how good they have it. Thank you my friend for your continued support. I hope warm weather has arrived in Bend, unlike Olympia.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hetty, it is my pleasure and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. Blessings to you!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Very inspirational read. I agree that happiness is a choice that we can make regardless of the current challenges we face in life.

      I have always loved that John Denver song which, if memory serves me correctly, was in a 1969 or 1970 movie about a young woman who was dying and was trying to leave a legacy of letters to her young daughter. The song celebrated the beauty of life and nature even as she was dying. Sounds morbid but I find that to be realistic. It is often the simplest, totally available, absolutely magnificent free things in life that we fail to fully appreciate and recognize until it is almost too late.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Gail! I always loved John Denver even though it wasn't the hip and cool thing to do and I remember that movie well although I do not remember the name of it. I'll have to look it up. You'll be happy to know your book is once again the property of the U.S. Postal Service and is winging its way to you. Thank you my friend and have a happy Sunday!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Will be on the look-out for the book. Thanks for getting it back in the mail so quickly.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My pleasure Gail!

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Daddy certainly didn't raise no fool! You are right, I think we always have the freedom to choose our thoughts, thank you for reminding me of this in another wonderful, insightful article.

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful hub with us. It really makes me think about what I have and be thankful for those things, instead of thinking of what I don't have. Great hub by a great writer.

    • meloncauli profile image

      meloncauli 5 years ago from UK

      Great hub. We tend to forget that we have more choices in life than we imagine. We can create our destiny to a degree and I totally believe in positive breeding positive. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya my dear, some day we will sit down over tea and enjoy each other's company and talk as old friends. I love having your visit me. Thank you so much and have a blessed day.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, that is so nice of you! I happen to respect your talents greatly and for such words of praise to come from you means a great deal to me.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melon, I believe we can not only create our own destiny but our own reality. So many things we have a choice over. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and comment.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      And this, my friend, is why you are so dear to me. You continuously overcome the obstacles and make positive decisions to make positive changes. This, I believe, is due to the fact that, as do I, you recognize the obstacles are yourself!

      I look forward each day to sharing with you. That, my friend, you can add to your legacy!

      Much love and respect,

      Sha

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Sha, did you ever hit the nail on the head with that statement. The problem with me has always been me, and as soon as I realized that fact life became so much easier. Wouldn't it be lovely if I could blame all of the negative past on someone else? But I simply and truthfully cannot do that.

      You are a wonder and a truly kind person. Have a fabulous day and peace and love to you as well.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Umm, I'm not Gail but you are welcome, Ella! Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Billy. Another inspirational hub. As usual you put things into perspective and provide food for thought. Well done.

      Graham.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, thank you my friend! I think we all gain a certain amount of perspective as we reach the Golden Years. I'm grateful that I have finally found a tad. :) Take care my friend!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 5 years ago

      The way you write is just beautiful. I love your open and honest approach to who you and are and what you are about. Because you like yourself, you are very likeable too.

      And I am happy to read more of your hubs and get to know you better. Thanks for writing such a refreshing article to read. Voted up all the way.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Toknowinfo, thank you very much! Those were kind words and I will try to live up to them in the future.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I came back to let you know that I added a link to this hub from my own hub titled, "Quotes About Choosing Happiness."

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much Gail; I'll check it out and do the same.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 5 years ago from South Carolina

      Aw Billy, you didn't have to do that but of course I'm happy that you did.

      We seem to share some basic beliefs about happiness and the other important things in life like love and living simple lives.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, we do indeed, and I'm enjoying our growing friendship. Take care my friend.

    • Chaya Parmessur profile image

      Chaya Parmessur 5 years ago from FRANCE

      Ya Billy, totally agree happiness is a choice and my moto has always been "Life is what we make it". Wonderful to read that you actually made a tremendous effort to change the way you saw life (glass half empty), proving that we can change if we want to.

      At the end of the day we have so much to be thankful for and life is truly beautiful. It also sounds like you have a lovely family, good health...maybe a little more vegetable would be a good idea (I have to say that being vegetarian myself!)...and most importantly love. Keep being happy and writing great hubs to inspire others. Glad I found you through Cloud Explorer. Voted up and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Chaya, what a gentle soul you are! I am so happy that Michael pointed me in your direction. Take care my new friend and peace and happiness always for you.

    • scrittobene profile image

      Maria D'Alessandro 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Bill thanks for this insightful article. It's so important to express gratitude each day for all the good things we are and have rather than dwell on what's lacking in our lives. An true sense of abundance attracts more of everything to our lives. Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Scrittobene, my pleasure and thank you for visiting once again.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Billy - What a wonderful and inspired meditation, yes meditation. Your words are worth reading and rereading until they have taken root deep in our souls. You are absolutely right happiness and contentment are choices we make in spite of our circumstances and situations. Thank you. Theresa SHARING

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shoot, Theresa, I'm just a guy....if my words help anyone else then I am so grateful. Thank you my friend; your words bring joy to me.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      "happiness is a choice" - Mr. Happy certainly agrees here.

      I wrote a while back an article titled "Smile While You're Bleeding" (or something along those lines, haha ...) which basically said exactly just that. We chose how we feel. If we want to be angry and crusty we will be as such. On the other hand, if we chose to remain calm, thoughtful and happy - we will be as such. It's fairly simple in my mind. Yet, I see people getting worked-up over the smallest nonsensical matters on a daily basis ... it seems like some people like creating themselves stress or something along those lines ...

      I enjoyed the read and I guess I woun't recommend broccoli. : /

      All the very best!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Happy, I knew a guy once who described it this way: "some people can make a typhoon out of a glass of water." There are some who seem to look for a reason to get their panties in a knot. Thanks my friend, the very best to you as well and no, definitely not broccoli. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      What a wonderful feel good hub that really helps put life in perspective. I think when we focus on the good things and the things that we should be thankful for, life can be so much better. I do agree that empathy and walking in the shoes of the less fortunate can do wonders to make a person appreciate what they have. You are such a positive inspiration and it is a pleasure to read your hubs.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 5 years ago from Southern Clime

      Your outlook on life and happiness is incredible. It is also contagious. This is great information for people who wish to use it or share it with someone else. Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tammy! Your book should be there soon...and I hope things are better....sending prayers your way and as always, gratitude.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Levertis...I learned from some pretty good people. It was either change my way of thinking or die....I'm happy with my choice.

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      bilybuc really is within us only the thing is we have find it and try to be happy in any situation...

      even i face disaster situation in my life....but with my own courage again i stand on my feet and tried hard to make my self happy...

      today i am happy with my loved ones ...my parents, brothers and sister friend..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carrie, I am so happy that you have found the secret to happiness....it's all about love my friend.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Bill, I don't know how I missed reading this one but I'm so glad I read this now! Happiness is something we do have to strive to achieve. Sharing this one! Take care, Kelley

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, thank you for sharing this; I really do appreciate you very much!

    • zionsphere profile image

      zionsphere 4 years ago from Oregon

      Agreed! Happiness is absolutely a choice! You can either dwell on what is wrong, or you can dwell on what is right, while finding solutions to what is wrong. I am really really happy to see so many people thinking about the way they think, and how it effects every aspect of thier lives.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Zion, welcome! It gives me hope to think that more people are doing some soul-searching and introspection. Where there is hope there is.....

      Thank you!

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 4 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      You are a treasure, a delight. You are full of wisdom, not because you can recite unnecessary words, but because you have lived, failed, and gotten back up again and again. You know the pain behind the smile, and yet you know how to allow love to flow through, the bleed the pain out, so their is nothing but sunshine on your shoulder. Loving you more and more.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Ok now I am the schmuck who never did make it to this article! But seriously, you had me from the first line. When I was younger my mom always told me it was better to look at life as though the glass was half full not empty. No truer words could there be and because of my dear old mom, I truly do try my best to live my life accordingly. Therefore, I like you try to live life to the fullest and be happy more than not on a daily basis. Have of course voted and shared too as always :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I can tell you that you are easily the happiest Hubber I know; your inner happiness shines through with every word that you write in comments.....I am honored to know you because you are genuinely a good person. Thank you my dear!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carly, that's where true empathy and compassion comes from, right? You know as well as I do....one has to walk in those shoes to truly understand what another feels. You have been there....as have I....and I suspect that is just one reason we feel so connected.

      Thank you my dear; hugs coming your way.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Wow, you have truly been blessed. Just reading this I can feel the happiness and thankfulness pouring out of your words. You are right, empathy is a gift, and so is being sensitive to the world around us and to other people. You relate well to people and you've certainly made a difference in my life with your positive attitude and zest for live, so THANK YOU!

      Awesome hub! Have a great evening :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Mel! You made me smile this morning and for that I am grateful. I have been blessed in this life; no doubt about it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      HouseBuyer, thank you very much for the visit.

    • KellyMediaBest profile image

      KellyMediaBest 4 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      I love this article! You really are a unique human to be able to acknowledge and identify all the thoughts you wrote here. We should all be happy with what we have, especially if we have a healthy body, a mind that works, and loved ones to share our lives with. Some people have nothing, and that is where you either need to find happiness in your own life and "see the glass half full" as you said, or fall into the "poor me" category like so many people that I know do. Very inspirational article, thanks!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Kelly; it's nice to have you visit my site. I'm pretty big on motivation and positive thoughts; I've seen too much negative in my lifetime and now I'm very focused on what is important in life.

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