If I have learned anything over the past 70 years, 50 of them as a wheelchair user, it is that what brings happiness changes with the seasons of your life.
At first, as a young man, it was all about the chase — the emotional rollercoaster of pursuing and being pursued by girls. That was the name of the game, and happiness rose and fell daily with the tide. Later, still young but nearing middle age, the lure of good times won me over. Smiling faces, thumping music, food and drink, drugs — if something felt good, it was instant proof that you were happy, at least until you woke up the next morning.
At some point I began to feel the need to leave a mark, to know that my life counted for something. Working and succeeding, doing something worthwhile was the path to happiness and fulfillment. Funny, how I look back now and think that all of it, no matter how memorable and valuable it may have been, is fading fast.
Change rules our lives, and time pushes us onward on our journey. What is really important? What is lasting? What do we leave behind?
Friends. People. Relationships. Memories. Love. Now I know, as time becomes more precious with each passing day, what really makes me happy.
Every day is a blessing, an opportunity to express gratefulness, to cherish the gift of life — and happiness.