“Don’t live in the past. Every new day is a new start.” – Neviesh Perry
Almost two years ago, I met my age-defying (she’s almost 85!), delightful neighbor, Martha. Immediately I was struck by this happy-go-lucky, smiling energy that seemed to radiate from her. Since then, we’ve become very close friends. Recently, I asked her if she’d be willing to share some of her secrets to happiness, and here’s what she had to say:
RCG: Martha, I’m not sure if you’re aware, but you have such positive energy! I rarely meet someone as happy as you! Is that how you’ve always been?
Martha: Thank you! I feel very lucky to have this personality. When I look around, I notice that many people aren’t happy or don’t know how to be happy.
RCG: Do you think this is a divine gift you were born with? Or is it something you’ve learned?
Martha: Maybe a little bit of both. I think you’re born with it, and you have to learn. It’s also very important to always appreciate what you have. Maybe it’s a combination of all of these things.
I feel fortunate to be this way.
Moving forward from loss:
RCG: I know you’ve experienced deep loss when your husband passed away twenty years ago. How did you move forward with such positivity?
Martha: I chose to move forward and to be happy. Many people don’t make that choice because they don’t even see that it’s there! For me, it’s so obvious. You have this choice- so make it! It’s better for you and better for everyone else.
RCG: Sometimes it can be hard. I know that I can get caught up in a negative fear spiral, and I need to get out of it.
Martha: You do! And only you can do that. You can make that choice.
Over time, I’ve learned that a miserable person makes everyone around them miserable.
That was not a choice for me. I prefer to live in the here and now.
What brings Martha youthful and filled with so much joy:
RCG: I wanted to ask you what keeps you so young? I look at your life, and you live it with such vibrance! I see how you continue to explore all of Los Angeles and appreciate all that the city has to offer. What inspires you most?
Martha: I love music. Classical music brings me joy. I also like jazz, country music, and opera.
My father exposed me to classical music when I was ten years old, and it’s always been a part of my life.
RCG: That’s so cool! What would you say brings you the most joy?
Martha: Being with the kids, my grandchildren. I have five granddaughters, and they bring such joy to me.
RCG: Are there any additional thoughts you’d like to share? Any more tips?
Martha: Yes, I have a very important one. Don’t live in the past!
I learned this from a very dear friend of mine. Once, we were talking about my biggest regrets. I told her how I regretted a decision I made almost 50 years ago. At that time, I had a very young child and decided to go back to work. I took him to a nanny, and I’ve regretting that decision terribly.
Well, my friend was very upset.
She said, “Why keep on saying this? You did it. That’s what you thought was right at that time. You can not change it. Don’t keep on thinking about it! If you can change something – then do it. If you can’t – forget about it.”
RCG: What did you think?
Martha: She was right! If you can not do anything, don’t feel guilty. Live in this moment. Forgive yourself and move forward. Enjoy where you are right now.
Final thoughts from Martha:
RCG: Any closing thoughts?
Martha: Every day when you wake up, you have a choice. So, when you wake up, be happy to be alive and well. And to live!
RCG: Thank you, Martha! Every day I learn more from you.
Martha: My pleasure!
So, did you enjoy this story? If so, please send to someone who might enjoy it!
And PS, my favorite book about living in the moment is The Power of Now.
Have you read it?