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A Year of Happy

A Year of Happy

I went through my divorce in 2011.  It was not a happy year.  My former spouse and I reached the amicable decision to divorce together and there were no surprises, nor was there any mistreatment of each other.  So as far as divorcing went, I actually had some of the best of circumstances.  Notwithstanding, it was a year filled up to the brim with uncertainty, sadness, worry and grief as every part of my life changed.

About this time last year, I decided I would never in my life have a repeat of the year I had just “survived.”  I was determined to take my happiness into my own hands and I declared that 2012 would be my Year of Happy.  I pulled out a fresh sheet of paper and started writing all of the things I could think of that make me happy.  The range was noticeable, from hearing my daughter’s laughter to taking a road trip to polka dots.  What I observed upon completion and reviewing my then 3 pages of happy notes was that most of it was completely within my control.

I realized there was no magic to it.  I absolutely had the ability to take charge of my happiness – it merely meant I needed to develop habits and live intentionally.  I also knew that I needed a measure of accountability – to make sure I kept my happiness intention top of mind.  So I embarked on a happiness picture project.  Every day I would take a picture of something that made me happy.  At the end of the week I would post my pictures in a Facebook album.  My goal was two-fold:  that it would hold me accountable by publicly declaring my habit and it may even make others happy, too.

The benefits I reaped from developing and maintaining this one tiny habit were extraordinary.  Not only had my theory about controlling my own happiness been right, but I did not anticipate the joy it would bring to my children or those around me.  It also “forced” me to make sure I was doing things that would guarantee happiness.  I set up my life in such a way that I was planning for my happiness in advance and it worked!  I can say that I have never felt happier. 

I do not want to give the impression that all of my days in 2012 were stress-free and without challenges.  That isn’t the case.  But what changed significantly was my outlook when those less-than-perfect days hit me.  I knew that despite a bad day – I still had to find my happy.  And I did.  It was always there.  I just had to look for it and pay attention to it.  I simply needed to live my happy.

Angela Dunne


My Year of Happy album may be viewed at:!/media/set/?set=a.2878586240531.200862.1136256063&type=3

1 Comment

  1. I know a few people going through divorce in Hibbing that are having a hard time with it. They aren’t as lucky as you, and are having to rely on great divorce attorneys to help them with their case (ex. ). I hope they can someday be as happy as you.

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