At age nine, the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) kindly plucked me from my family and dumped me into the foster care system, that shook up my world. My life changed drastically at a young age, so I, in turn, harbored a little seed of unhappiness. Feeding off my anger and misunderstanding, that seed bloomed into a tree taller than Shaq. On nights I spent under blankets quietly crying “I want my mommy” and wishing she would swoop in like Wonder Woman and save me, I blamed DCFS for my pain. Eventually I transferred the blame to my parents, because – they brought me into this world.
Did I have a right to be unhappy? Of course! Whether or not my feelings are justified, I always have the right to feel how I want. However, regardless of the cards I am dealt, my feelings and response are my choice. Choosing to blame some one else is a waste of time. I could sit cross-armed, lips poked out, and angry at the world, but guess what? The world would still go round. People move on and live their happy while you stew in your misery. I benefitted in no way by blaming others for my unhappiness. Not until I owned my feelings, plucked leaves, and broke branches did I find my happy. I cut down the unhappy tree and saved myself.
Happiness is an an inside job.
-William Arthur Ward
Twice this year, I hung out at the self-proclaimed happiest place on Earth, Disneyland. In February I chased my seven-year-old niece around Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Kids are fearless. Hearing that she met the roller coaster height requirement ignited an explosion of joy (They let her slide a teeny bit, lol). Look at the terrified faces in the picture below, my niece is the one smiling and holding up the peace sign, she is a G. I figured she would love the Mad Tea Party, but she had zero interest in waiting in the line.
Last weekend I went back to both parks, but this time with two of my best friends. Would you believe they refused to ride that The Hollywood Tower Hotel with me? Scaredy cats. Ironically, they made the Mad Tea Party a deal breaker.
Waves of nostalgia carried me away as the magic of Disney twirled around me. I could not help reflecting on my journey. I am grateful for the ah ha moments that led to me understanding that happiness is an inside job.
The happiest place on earth is where you choose to share your happy. You are the life of your party. Always.
(Click images to enlarge)