My Resolution: Take Charge of My Happiness

By making resolutions we attempt to make ourselves feel we are in control, and can decide how we will live our lives. But this week I am not feeling like I’m in the driver’s seat as a flurry of sickness and death has overshadowed the holidays.

The past week has been brutal. I’m not including my irritation at Washington over their inability to meet a deadline. As Obama said, we all have to meet deadlines in our lives and jobs, so why does Congress not honor them? I’m all for goal setting and deadlines too–that stuff we can manage, and we should do our best but….

I’m talking about health issues. I’m talking about friends and family. Has anyone noticed that bad stuff comes in waves? Once I get a piece of bad news I start bracing myself for the next two pieces of news that are sure to follow– imminently.

Shiva #1 launched my week. A friend died of a lung disease after a two-year struggle (he never smoked). As I drove home I got a call that another friend’s 94-year-old dad passed peacefully. That seemed “normal–he will be missed but it was his time. Later that week another friend’s 94-year-old father died as well. Sad to be sure, but I put that in the “normal” column as well.

Next, two people very close to me received odd blood tests and learned they have diseases, which will need to be managed (closely). Meaning of life and bucket list conversations ensued. Ok, so was that three for the week or would there be more?

My father used to say when I was full of worry, don’t bother with the small stuff–soon enough there will be something to really worry about. And that phone call came midweek.

One of my dearest friends who I had ridden the Pan Mass Challenge bike event with for the past 20 years contracted an infection on a trip to Costa Rica. (They think that’s where he got it.) Within three days after his return he was admitted to the hospital and began to go downhill from there. Five days later he died, unable to fight the infection.

I am done counting out the bad news of the week. (Like I have a choice.) I wanted to write about resolutions and what I plan for the year ahead but I am humbled and am left with the very little I can control.

I like to believe that I have control over my happiness. Shit happens and that I can’t do anything about.

But, as 2013 rolls in I am standing firm on something I can control: My Attitude!

How I receive and share, live my days and in my community is my choice. That is something I can control.

So, I created a little poster to put on my wall to remind me about what I can do for 2013.


Resolutions - Attitude

Attitude is a choice. I choose to be happy and will work at finding the positive in my days.

Take a big breath before reacting/responding—put some space between myself and the issue at hand.

Think a thought that turns the corners of my mouth up not down, to lift my mood.

I think therefore I am. (Thank you Descartes.) Attitude is power.

Talk is good but word choice is key. My language choices are powerful and can alter outcomes.

Undo conflict. Find a resolution inside to make peace and forgive because it’s exhausting to carry anger.

Decide to be happy. It’s a state of mind and must be committed to daily.

Enjoy the moment right NOW. It’s what we can count on.

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Felice Shapiro

Felice Shapiro Felice Shapiro loves figuring out what's next. Felice writes with honesty and humor about real life events, romance, tragedy, reinvention and family not to mention — fashion, beauty & travel. As a serial entrepreneur in the publishing space, she launched to meet the needs of women entering their next phase at 50. Inspired and armed with her love of publishing, writing, start-ups and women’s issues, Shapiro launched an online magazine for 50-something women to share personal stories, successes and relevant issues. She is proud of BA50 which is in its 4th year and has over 7 million unique visitors. 

  22 comments for “My Resolution: Take Charge of My Happiness

  1. Mary Jeka
    January 1, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Felice – I couldn’t believe it when I read your column. I had exactly the same holiday – sicknesses from family and friends and then a close friend died suddenly. I was feeling a bit wobbly from all the bad news. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Mary Jeka

  2. felice
    January 1, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Mary – sorry for your tough week as well – so much to process at once to be sure.
    I wish you easier weeks ahead as we turn this corner and hope to see you in the new year

  3. January 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Felice, it seems things do come in batches…mine have been home repair-financially related. I love the shift you’re embracing, it’s a good reminder to adopt gratitude along with intentional living.

    • felice
      January 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Home repair – Yuck that is challenging

  4. Cathy Chester
    January 1, 2013 at 9:29 am


    I was getting ready to write about my own tale of sickness and loss. After sitting in my pj’s for 4 straight days from a nasty stomach bug that overtook my family (we really did celebrate the New Year’s toast with toast!) I remembered my beloved uncle I lost quickly this summer from Pancreatic Cancer, and another beloved best friends dad (he is like my other dad) lying in hospice in TX. I salute you and your poster which I’d like to hang on my Wall of Honor where I have poems and photos that remind me daily of having a good attitude about life, loss and love. Thanks for the great entry. My prayers on all of your losses. Cathy

  5. felice
    January 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Cathy – thanks for your sweet thoughts — I love the Wall of Honor idea
    love to you and hope you have a quick recovery and eat something REAL soon

  6. January 1, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Happiness is “a state of mind and must be committed to daily.” So true, so true.

  7. January 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Sadly, nothing really shocks me anymore. Just recently one of the healthiest women I know was diagonosed with Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 60. The older we get, the more tough news we’ll hear, and we need to be prepared for it. I just try to remain grateful for the good news that comes my way.

    • felice
      January 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      You are so right but sometimes we get blown off course and when we need to right ourselves tin’s not always clear how — I am going to use this as a poster in my room to right me when i’m starting to TIP.

  8. Helene Cohen Bludman
    January 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    The sad stories come too frequently these days. I love your positive attitude and your poster is a keeper. Thinking I can shuffle some papers around to make room for it on my bulletin board.

  9. felice
    January 1, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    That’s so cool – take a picture of it and send it to us when you find a home for it.

  10. January 1, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Your article and story are both sad and yet inspiring. The strange part about grief is that you have to go through it, you can’t go around it. To find a balance between the process of grief and its sadness with joy and gratitude for our daily blessings is key. I find that grief hits in waves and you can ride the wave or fight it. You’ll survive better if you learn to ride it. And recognize that the waters calm for periods of time, in time.
    To be able to see the positive is what we need our friends and family/support system for. Your blog provides that and especially this week. Wishing you peace of mind on your journey through each day.
    And thank you for sharing!

    • felice
      January 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      You are so right on with your analysis of grief – it’s such a relief when it lifts but man o man you can’t force the process — thanks Audrey for all your wonderful insights

  11. January 1, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Thanks for such a strong, positive writing and attitude!

    • felice
      January 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      I’m hoping it can be contagious

  12. January 2, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Sorry for those losses — that’s a lot to deal with at one time. Good for you for finding ways to take care of yourself. Love the graphic — I’m pinning it!

    • felice
      January 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm

      THanks so much– my husband shot that picture of me 2 weeks ago – cool shadow shot I agree – that’s fun that you pinned it
      thanks for reading and being part of the community

  13. January 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

    I’m sorry for your numerous losses of late. Your ability to face them with such a positive attitude is truly inspirational. Wonderful points you make, my favorite of which is “Attitude is power”. Oh, and “Enjoy the moment right NOW. It’s what we can count on.” Thank you for sharing.

    • felice
      January 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      How kind of you – well – sometimes I start thinking – what are our options – this seems like a better choice when we don’t have a lot of choices — Yeh Attitude is power – now that one gets my energy up vs. down

  14. January 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Your resolution for happiness is spot on. As we get older unfortunately bad news happens regularly so what can you do but what you said! My resolution this year is gratitude. I am grateful for seeing the driver give me the finger, for the neighbor picking up my glove, for living today.

  15. January 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks for a wonderful post! Sometimes, especially after the holidays, we feel so exhausted and stressed – even without bad news such as this – that we have little energy to look ahead in a positive way. I find that 3 simple steps can help me when I feel this way… 1) every morning, write down something I’m grateful for; 2) make a list of my top 5 priorities in life and focus on those; 3) get support, someone to open up to – a close friend, a family member. We women need each other and are happy to be there for each other in good times and bad! Thanks for a great post & reminder about the power of attitude.

  16. Victoria
    January 11, 2013 at 12:29 am

    I am so happy that I came across in this website i fell that I now have American women friends ,I always wanted some .i fell so home.i am so happy reading all your stories.thank you ladies

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