What Makes You Happy?

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What Makes You Happy

 

I haven’t written in a long time, part of me felt like it was maybe because I’ve been doing better. I haven’t been feeling as depressed. My life had seemingly come together, even if just the slightest. I always told myself that when hockey ended, I was going to become an author, a literary wizard; I was going to write every day now that I had a bit more time. Well, hockey’s been over for about six weeks, and I am just starting to write at 10:56PM Easter Sunday.

Sure, I’ve been busy with things in the meantime, but if anyone knows me, busy, is not an excuse. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find the means to do it. Busy doesn’t exist in my world. It’s not because I don’t ever do anything, in fact, that’s probably quite the opposite. I probably have more going on than most folk. Actually, I could almost guarantee that. I just don’t feel the need to let everyone know how I preoccupied I am. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. It makes me sick when people say they are too busy.

Why? I remember years ago, my sister tried to chat with me through Facebook, through simple Internet chat… and, I recall looking at the messages, the message read something along the lines of hey, call me when you got some time, want to know how college is going. I looked at it, thought, meh; I’ll call her later… I am busy. I never called her. And, I don’t know if I ever talked to her again. She committed suicide a couple of months after, and I’ve never been too busy since.   So when people tell me, they are too busy. It doesn’t sit well. At all.

So, to say that I haven’t been writing, because I have been doing well, or because I have been doing poorly… I don’t even know the answer. Sometimes life has a tendency to just happen, and just leave me trapped in the motions that I just can’t comprehend the appropriate emotions, and feelings.

I know that writing provides me with the single most joyous experiences of my life. So, you would think it’s easier to do so. But… for some reason, it’s been getting more difficult, and for the first time, I feel like my writing is actually good. In the past, all I did was write about how I felt. That’s it. There was no scientific method to it; there was no English specialty behind it. Simply, just how I felt. I have such a difficult time re-reading my pieces, for a variety of reasons… mainly because I feel such a huge disconnect with the person who wrote that very piece, but also because… I think it’s shit. I looked earlier, and I have posted 47 entries to GAB. This being 48. I can honestly say that 1 was of quality, Your Move Chief. So, as much gratification as writing brings me… I don’t know if it’s from the actual writing, or the feedback. As pathetic as this may be, I seek so much approval, and accreditation, from… whomever, predominantly from my mom, and from my fiancé…. It’s pathetic, if I don’t hear anything within a day or so, I am texting those two asking what they thought… It drives me crazy that I do this. But… I do. And, I can probably recap every single compliment, or piece of positive feedback I have received from my blog. There is truly nothing, and I mean NOTHING more gratifying than when I hear about people who have read my blog, and find comfort from reading. Whether, I know them or not. I spend so much time wanting to write, then I spend such little time actually writing, and I conclude with spending even more time looking for approval on my writing. From, my family… my fiancé… my best friends… my friends… strangers… When, I receive this, it’s pure happiness. Joy. Elation. You know that feeling where you just can’t wipe that smile off your face. This is the only time I’ll feel it. So you’d think I’d write more, with this being the case. But, truth is… I think I have become a bit scared. My unrelenting life standards have once again trapped me with failure. Where, I need simple accolades. However, that’s slowed down significantly. I don’t know if it’s because my writing has gotten stale, or the content has. Or maybe, I am just without the random viewers from Europe. Or, perhaps, the people who have already graciously patted my back don’t feel like they need to tell me good job every single fucking time. Though they shouldn’t. However, I feel like, unless I get that… I am failing. I want to know what every single person thinks of my writing, even if they think it’s complete crap. I just want to know… because; I think it is too, I can’t even find myself appreciative, and satisfied with my own work.

So, in getting to the point of this entry… the great folks at Mind Your Mind proposed the question, what makes you happy? I thought about it for a long, long time. There are so many things that I enjoy, so many. But, to label them as something that makes me completely happy would likely be false. I think at any point, doing makes me happy. Regardless, of what it is that I am doing. I think sometimes you can find temporary joy in that, and I do. But, I tried to really think of something that makes me truly happy. True joy. I almost couldn’t think of anything, till I thought about writing, then I thought about all of the positive feedback I have received over the two years, and the people I have been able to help, if even just to help them temporarily. This has brought me pure joy, and continues to do so. It’s the only thing that allows me to feel self-pride, and self worth. Regardless, of the success I have at work, or in coaching sports, or my daily life even. I always seem to be stuck wanting more, and eventually get a place where good just isn’t good enough. But, with writing, that’s different. Even, if I receive two notes about my latest post, to me it was a success, and it provides that feeling. That feeling where I can’t stop but smiling, even if it’s a random stranger at an arena that says, “hey, you’re the guy that writes that mental health blog” … Yes, I guess so. These are the things that keep me ticking, and continue to remind me just what it is to feel joy, and to feel good.

You just hope that somehow you can find a way to enjoy, accept and appreciate your own bravery and work. Sometimes there is just far too much pressure on writing purely for the audience, and hoping to help them find joy, and hope. I need to find my own first.

Rest easy, and rest happily Max. I hope you can still find some time to read my blog, and I hope that you’ve found true joy.   I know you and Jen are hanging out as we speak. Listening to music, watching over us, and laughing at us.

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Sometimes… All I Want is that Kraft Dinner.

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DEPRESSED people live in the PAST

ANXIOUS people live in the FUTURE

PEACEFUL people live in the PRESENT

– LAO TZU

Good evening.

Sure hope life has been treating you well in the last handful of weeks.  Last time we spoke via goneawayboy, I dug into Ayn Rand’s – “John Galt Speech” piece.  I’ve never really re-read the blog entry subjectively, but I know that piece was probably one my favorite ones that I have put together.  I think I just channeled the time and energy it takes to write differently for that piece.  It was like writing an essay for school, having to prepare by researching and drawing your own thoughts, and ideas from the pieces you’ve read.  Except this time, I wasn’t getting docked 10% because I messed up the fucking APA Bibliography.

But, with all that being said, pretty fucking hard for me to comment on which posts of mine I like, and which I don’t like…  I don’t think I have re-read one of them in their entirety with the exception of immediately after to hunt for double spelled words, missing words, the odd comma, or period.   Though, till today, I’ve never really asked myself why I don’t re-read them…  It’s never really struck me as a big deal, or a concern, if it even is.  But, I talked about it this morning at my therapy session.  Why don’t I read any of my blog entries days, months, and years after I write them?  I think, in a nutshell… because, I am scared.  I know I have read bits and pieces of certain ones, though never to finish.  I just feel such a distant disconnect that I just can’t believe that I wrote that.  And, not in the sense that, “wow, they’re so good.”  But, in the sense that… I was really feeling like that? Is that how I feel, or was feeling?  Fuck, that’s scary.  When your in these deep, intense emotional phases, where I generally write, they’re just that, so deep, and so intense.  It’s difficult to read things afterwards when I’m not in that state of mind.  It’s hard to go back to that state, it’s hard to imagine it, hard to see it, and as a result can be hard to read the product of those deep, and intense emotional phases.  When I have tried to read bits and pieces of my work, it’s been when I am typically feeling good, or… fine, if you will.  Usually something will drive me back to a specific entry, perhaps a comment that I need to approve, and after reading the comment I go back and see where I was when I wrote something that struck with this person…  But, I can never finish reading them. Ever.   Or, perhaps, it’s someone sending me an email, text, bbm, facebook, tweet or instagram, (Did I miss any) mentioning something I said in a certain piece.  I then retreat back to the entry to read bits of it so I can appropriately reply, I guess?  But… I never finish reading it.  I just reply…  thanks.  I just can’t read them.  Part of me, as I write this… I want too.  And, often times I think about writing a memoir, or putting all of these pieces together to build something else.  I think about it every day.  But, how the hell am I going to do that when I can’t even read the fucking things.  I think that’s why I have completely stalled the shit out of that idea.

It’s a pretty weird, scary feeling to write what I do, and then several months later, visit it again only to get through a paragraph and have to stop reading because the disconnect between myself at that point, is such a drastic difference to myself at the point of writing.  I know it’s me that wrote it.  But, when you have to make a conscious effort to understand that 4 months afterwards, It’s…. fucked, It’s…. difficult.  It’s not what I want.  I know that my writing has had such a phenomenal effect on some people’s lives, and I am completely honored by that, I truly am.  I feel so happy, and flattered that I can help others by sharing my own story.  This is why it’s all the more difficult knowing I can’t even read my own posts, and revisit my own story.   Www.Goneawayboys.wordpress.com is something I should be completely proud of… But, I can’t even read it myself.  It’s… Sad.

This was just something that got brought up today during my weekly therapy session, and I thought it was intriguing. My therapist had asked me a question about the subliminal messages I sometimes write.  She had asked for a specific example, and though I’ve written 28 blog entries, maybe more.  I couldn’t provide one example.  Just said… I don’t really know, I’ve never read them.  I write it, I look for glaring grammatical errors shortly after, and I don’t even look at it for, well, forever again.  I’m scared too.  I bury it.  HOW IRONIC?

A few weeks ago I was faced with a challenge.    In August of 2012, I had put together a blog entry about my experience with psychic Patricia Monna at Our Angels for Our Wellbeing, and how positive it was.  I’ve never ever gone back to read “We Carry On… Like it’s easy, a better happier.”  Then one morning, about 10 days ago, I recieved a comment from Patricia reaching out to me, fourteen months after I had wrote that entry, saying that she had a message from Jen.  I had no idea what to think.  I approved the comment.  Put my phone down. Pretended that nothing had just happened.  Having a terrible poker face, Amanda knew something was up.  So, I showed her the comment.  Her eyes welled up, and I began to feel a tad bit of emotion as well, and a tad bit that I did not want to encounter at that very moment.  So I put my phone back down and didn’t look at the comment again.  Fast-forward a few days, I had probably gone back to read the comment over 15-20 times, and twice tried to read the blog entry in which she commented on.  The first time I hardly got past the fluff, and the second time, I went to the paragraph that I initially mentioned Patricia, and then attempted to skim the rest of it… Which, I couldn’t even do.  Same result occurred.  I shut it off, and put my phone down to just lay there like nothing happened.  I guess if I lay there like nothing happened, maybe it will go away.  No.

It took me a few days to gather the courage to contact Patricia and take her up on reaching out to me from Jen.  I think I knew that I always was going to, even right after reading her comment the first time.  I knew I’d call her eventually.   But, it took me a few days to get to that point.  I can even remember last week, when I had my phone in my hand and her number dialed, it took me… ahh, about an hour to touch call.  I tried to just do something else at the moment, and hope that I’d maybe forget.  I tried to think of what I’d say if she wanted to talk right then.  Or, if she wanted to meet today.  I wasn’t ready to meet.  I was hardly ready to click call.  A million thoughts ran through my head.  I played every scenario.  Fuck it. Call. Receptionist took a message for me.  Hang up.  PFEW.  I don’t have to deal with that emotional monster today.  I just had no idea what to expect.  Patricia called me back later that evening and we set up an appointment for the next week.  Once I got to chat with her on the phone about booking an appointment, I right away felt at ease, and felt comfortable.  There is just a kind, gentle aura to her.  One that just made me feel relaxed, and like this was going to be O.K., this was going to be a good thing.  I wanted to listen to her.

I met with her this evening, and in the week preparing to meet with her from when we had spoke on the phone last, I think I felt everything from excited, to nervous, scared, happy, sad and everything in-between.  It was a great experience, it was emotional, though I held it together much better than expected.  She had told me so many things that she was just bang-on accurate about.  It was crazy.  Things that I know I need to do, I know I need to take care of, but I don’t.  I “stall the shit” out of it.  I’ve just been stuck.

One of the most painful things I experience every day since we lost Jen, is not being able to go to her to talk, not being able to go to her for direction.  Jen was always a very intelligent, and wise person.  I always looked up to her.  If she listened to certain music, I listened to it.  If she watched a certain movie, I watched it.  Even if it were Steel Magnolias, fuck, Clueless was my favorite show!   If she read a book, I wanted to read that book.  If she had some new west coast lingo, I had some new west coast lingo.   What Jen did, I wanted to do.  I idolized her so much.  Since she’s been gone, I know she is still here, there have been many, many instances where I can feel her presence, or something happens where I know Jen helped pull that miracle for me, or something stupid will happen, and I know it’s her playing a joke on me.  Having some fun.  I love those moments.  Times where Mom and I will just look at each other , or sometimes it’s Amanda and I, and we’ll just laugh, look at each other and just say “Haha, Jen!”.  It’s that special moment where things just seem to slow down, and stop for that very moment, you realize that even though you’re encountering some silly nuance, you enjoy it, because you can just feel Jen watching, laughing, happily… though at our expense.   That’s fine.

I catch myself every day at least once a day, just saying “Please Jen, Please” “Help me, or, guide me through, or give me a sign.  I feel stuck”.  I’ve been saying the latter a lot the last 4-5 months.  I feel stuck.  Please Jen, give me a sign.  And she does, and I know them at the exact time they happen… But for whatever reason, It’s sometimes difficult to get past the fact that I feel like I am communicating with her, and it’s such a special experience… I almost forget to listen to her signs.

After speaking with Patricia today, looking back, Jen’s been leaving me so many signs helping me out, trying to push me in a certain direction.  The weird part is…  Patricia pretty well told me the exact same thing I know now that Jen has been trying to tell me for the last few months.  It was as if, Jen couldn’t stand watching me stuck like I have been, and I know she just thought, for fucksakes kid, if you won’t listen to me and figure out these signs, I’ll draw the damn things out for yaQueue; Patricia. It sounds completely fucked, and you probably think I am absolutely crazy, drunk, high, or all.  But I am neither…  (Maybe a bit the former)  But, I really believe this.  Jen’s left me so many signs trying to guide me, little hints all over the place trying to push me along, just continuing to be my big sister, just from afar.

Patricia then comes out of nowhere and tells me she has a message from Jen.  This, 14 months after I spoke to Patricia last, and at that was just one of many people she probably see’s throughout the day… Jen had got in touch with Patricia to kick me in the ass, and get me out of the mud.  She’s right.  I know she is.  I never believed in this stuff before either, ever.  I thought it was absolutely crazy.  Nuts.  But, the practices I used to try and help myself, before, well, they don’t fucking work.  So, I needed to open my mind, and I am glad I did.  Things have just become clearer in the last twenty-four hours for me.  Beginning with my therapy session this morning when we struck a few clarity moments, to ending my evening talking to my sister, through Patricia.

Call it crazy. Call it stupid.  Don’t believe it. Form your own opinions as you will.  But it’s far too coincidental for it to be some stupid fake crap. But, if anyone that’s reading this is going through a tough time, and you just feel stuck…  Book an hour with Patricia.  Just go.  It’s a different experience.  I can’t really explain it, other than how I’ve wrote about it.  But, It’s something I would strongly encourage.  Especially, if you don’t believe in “that crap” … I didn’t either, but at some point you just get tired of doing the same old, and continually being just stuck.  Time to try something different.  Am I ever glad  I did.   As I challenge you to try something different, something out of your comfort zone.  I am going to challenge myself to sit down and read what you read.

As always, Thank you for reading, even when I can’t read, it still means the absolute world to me that you can.

I hope that you enjoy, and somewhere in this…  this massive pile of words, and sentences you find what you’re looking for.

 

Cher, I don’t want to do this anymore. And my buns, they don’t feel nothin’ like steel.

– B.A.C. – 

John Galts Speech

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It’s been months since I’ve wrote something in this blog outside of a minor entry several weeks back ripping into the few evil hockey parents.  I think about it every day, but I just can’t bring myself to write anything.  I can’t find it.  This week, I’ve had a few people reach out to me telling me to get back to writing, that it helps them.  One person told me they dreamt about my writing, and asked if I could start again soon.  Another asked me when the next piece was coming.  Another person asked to meet with me about my experiences fighting with my life.  I had another friend tell me I need to start writing again, to save my life, and to help save his.  I have all these amazing people around me that look forward to reading goneawayboys, and that thoroughly seem to enjoy my writing, and are always applauding me for it…  Yet, I have a hard time believing in it myself, and finding that quality and that safety to it.  I just write.  It’s amazing, and humbling to know that some people find great value in reading this blog, and for those of you, I am very sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you through this blog.  I just needed some time to piece myself back together the last little while after nearly losing it.  Thank you, as always for your overwhelming support.

In the past I’ve said that I often will only write when I feel down, amidst a lull, when I need a boost.  On the flip side, I didn’t feel the need to write when things were going well.  That’s what I used to believe, anyways.  I’m coming to the realization that, that is just complete and utter bullshit.  I don’t write because I don’t want to do anything, except keep to my withdrawn self.  I don’t write because I feel like I don’t have the mental wherewithal to put anything of magnitude together. I feel tired. Weak. Exhausted. Scared. Withdrawn. Empty. Lost.  I don’t write because… because I am feeling depressed.

Why? Why am I depressed? Well, I don’t know that answer as much as I would like too.  Simple question, right? … I think I often lack the things that should create, and attribute to personal happiness.  Or maybe I haven’t made the choice to find happiness yet? I don’t know what happiness really means? Or, maybe it’s because my family has a history of mental disorders? Or, it’s just the hamster wheel running dangerously low on serotonin for the last fucking decade or so!  Simple Question… Yes, but complicated answer that I just haven’t quite figured out yet, and I don’t know that I ever will… If it were easy, I’d be able to solve this problem, because trust me when I feel like this, I don’t want too….  But, I feel like I sometimes have no control of it, I can only try to contain.

I’ve made myself believe that I only write when I need a lift, when things are going to shit.  That’s false.  I write when I am feeling better, when I have that drive, that energy, I write when I feel like I can help make a difference in not only myself, but maybe someone else.  I write when I give a shit about someone other than my own self, and their own demons.  I write when I feel like a human being.  I write when I feel.

I can’t write when I can’t seem to find myself outside of the fucking pits, when I don’t care about really anything, or anyone’s feelings other than my own, and I hardly care about my own.  I just succumb to my depression.  It’s like being back into a corner, with someone you know you can fight with a little bit of effort, but you just can’t find it in yourself… you back into the corner, and your stuck.  Out of batteries.  Out of juice. On empty.  It’s almost impossible to get out, or so it seems at times, at the worst of times.  I can’t write and be honest with you, when I am not honest with myself.  When I asked myself if I knew what things attributed to my happiness really were, to be frank… I have no idea what they are.  I drew a blank.   This blog, writing, having people read it, the reaction, the comments, the feedback, hell, the fucking pats on the back.  That’s happiness for me.  That’s it. That truly is it. Making a difference. The one thing.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer. Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

 Writing in goneawayboys and posting it publicly is that joy without penalty, the achievement; it’s what happiness really is for me.  The scary part is…  The only thing that truly defines happiness for me right now is…Writing… What…  Really…

When I am feeling at my worst, I become very elusive with others, and especially to myself.  I can’t find, or come to terms with what creates happiness for myself.  I know that it is writing, but when I am feeling empty, and disengaged, I can’t find that… even though I know, if I just get off the couch and turn on some music, read something, I’ll feel inspired and I’ll write something, and in turn, I find happiness.  Even if for a moment.  When you suffer from depression, you learn to take as many moments of happiness as you absolutely can.  Because, not often can I find them.

My best friend wrote to me in an email earlier this week something I have been replaying over and over in my head… Happiness is a Choice… At first I read it, and thought, ok, Well, I cho-cho-choose to be happy! … And it was as if I waited for some animated vortex to appear in the middle of the hallway and throw me a bag with happiness inside… When that didn’t happen, I waited for the genie to pop out of my Booster Juice and graciously grant me 3 wishes.  After waiting several long hours, I realized neither of these things were going to happen, and I went to bed disagreeing with Mother.  Happiness is not a choice.  It’s subjective.  It’s fake.  I woke up, still pondering that same comment, then that led to me questioning myself of what happiness really is, what does it really mean.  In school, in all those life management, and leadership classes we were always asked what success meant, and everyone had a different answer.  But, no one ever asked the question.  What IS happiness?  By definition, it’s the quality, or state of being happy.  Ok. Great. So what does that mean, how I do just be happy.  It sounds so simple. Why can’t I find it? Why can’t we find it all the time? What am I missing here? Happy by definition is the feeling of satisfaction, pleasure and contentment.  Sounds easy, but a feeling? Is a feeling permanent? Or, is this just a temporary relief from all things negative? I want to make the choice to be happy starting now ending when I die.  Not just for the next 20 minutes.  But, what creates this feeling… Money? Family?  Friends? Materialistic things? Fancy cars? Fancy jewelry? Mansion? Strength?  Self-image? It is what your friends have? Is it what Hollywood has? Is it whatever doesn’t kill us? Is it gratitude? Is it a fucking Choice?

Intrigued by this “Happiness is a Choice” … I dug a little bit further into what happiness really means outside of these wildly simplistic and vague definitions the internet has explained to me.  I read the “John Galts Speech” an excerpt from Ayn Rands “Shrugged Atlas” (Ok, I read most of it… It’s 43 pages in size 12 font)  Ayn Rand, Or John Galt the fictional character describes happiness as coming down to the choice of being either a rational man, or an irrational man.

“Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy—a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power… Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”

“The emotional state of all those irrationalists cannot be properly designated as happiness or even as pleasure: it is merely a moment’s relief from their chronic state of terror… But neither life nor happiness can be achieved by the pursuit of irrational whims. Just as man is free to attempt to survive in any random manner, but will perish unless he lives as his nature requires, so he is free to seek his happiness in any mindless fraud, but the torture of frustration is all he will find, unless he seeks the happiness proper to man. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.”

I often find myself looking for a time machine; I want to fast-forward my life 10 years. I said the same thing when I was 14, and I’ll bet I’ll say the same damn thing when I’m 34, and 44.  I have a very hard time finding my own acceptance, and contentment. Galts Speech depicts happiness perfectly for me, it’s not about materials, and it’s not about money.  I’m frequently thinking if I just had more money, if I just had more materials, more muscles and supermodel physiques, I could finally be happy.  I’ve convinced myself I need to be wildly successful to have my family members be proud of me, for me to accept myself, and to otherwise simply avoid being a failure.  If I could accomplish this… I would achieve my personal expectations, but these expectations are completely irrational and I know that… But, I make the choice to believe they are rational because well, it happened to that guy. You shouldn’t need cars, a big house, and fame or widespread success to achieve happiness.  It doesn’t help the people that have all those things either; they always want something more, something is always missing, something irrational.  Thus, when you are unable to achieve these irrational goals, and expectations as soon as you believe you should… It’s a temporary relief of terror, and the torture of frustration pursues.   Often times, that is all I can find.  I dwell on myself constantly, beating myself up about why I am not doing better for myself.  I’m 24 years old.  I have pretty well anything you could ever ask for, but always for me it is never enough.  It’s a trap.  I always want more.  I got a good job, I want a better one now.  I have a nice truck. I want a nicer car now. My family says they are proud of me. But, I can never believe them because I am not proud of myself.  I’ll never know if Jen is proud of me. I’ll never ever know that. Ever. Yet, I feel like I need to know that to be happy.  I’ll never know.   It’s unrealistic, It’s irrational. It’s mindless fraud and torture.  This is why I fight find consistent happiness.  I struggle to create rational goals for myself, goals that are attainable that result in joy, joy without penalty or guilt.   Writing in goneawayboys is often the one rational goal that I have for myself that I am able to achieve multiple times.  I am able to use my mind to the fullest of power, not escape from my mind for temporary relief.

This is happiness.  In order to find constant happiness for myself, I need to become more honest and rational to my self.  Going back to the very beginning of this post where I used to tell myself I’d only write when I felt like shit.  No.  I don’t write when I feel like shit because I can’t.  Otherwise, I’ll continue to be an irrational man, and be tortured by frustration, and destruction.

Mom was right; Happiness is a choice.  

“Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions”