My grandma used to write me letters when I was away at college. It was one of the greatest things she could have done for me because I still have all the letters today and I will keep them and treasure them for the rest of my life. In one of them she wrote, “Life is what you make of it, so make yours happy.”
And, she followed that advice. She was one of the happiest people I knew. But, if you looked at her life from the outside, you would not get the impression of a happy, idealistic experience: She and my grandfather never had much money.
They owned a one-bedroom apartment in Paterson, NJ, which she made into a beautiful home she was proud of. She was a cleaning lady until she passed away at the age of 70, cleaning a woman’s house, and washing her clothes twice a week. But she took great pride in her work.
By most standards, this is not the life we aspire to when we think of what will make us happy. But, my grandma was happy. Why? Because she had the right attitude.
She made do with what she had. She prioritized and even though she made less than $100 a week at her cleaning job, she saved that money to give to her grandchildren and to go on vacation twice a year, two things she took tremendous pleasure in.
My grandma was happy because she took responsibility for her happiness.
She knew that she was the only one that could make herself happy and she did. That was the lesson she was trying to teach me. And, that is the lesson I’m trying to teach you.
You don’t need things to make you happy. You don’t even need to have the right life circumstances. All you need is the knowledge that you are the only one who can make you happy.
When I brought my husband to meet her for the first time, she told him, “We don’t have a lot of money, but we sure have a lot of fun!” So, go ahead, have your fun. You don’t need anything but a good attitude to make it for yourself.