Do What Makes You Happy

This holiday season is a bit difficult for me. My mom, who I was very close to, passed away last year – it will be one year as of Dec 28th, so you can imagine I have been thinking about her a lot lately. All things considered,  I’m still making the most of the season and finding reasons to be happy, but I’m also still grieving a bit.

I keep thinking about all her advice to me over the years. Why are moms always right? I remember growing up with all my little teenage problems, and I thought she was crazy with all her words of wisdom she tried to throw my way.  Turns out, she knew what she was talking about. One of the last pieces of valuable advice she gave me was only a few months before she died. She was pretty ill and she knew she didn’t have much time left, so she would initiate these little talks here and there when she felt it was appropriate. I had made the trip to visit her for a few days. She was sitting in her usual recliner and I was in another chair in the living room. We were talking about my future and I expressed a few uncertainties about my path in life. She said, “Do whatever makes you happy.” Now a lot of people might might roll their eyes as they make excuses for that being easier said than done, and they wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but I think we do that because we have already chosen to not listen to what they are saying like we should be.

If you think doing whatever makes you happy sounds selfish, maybe it is to a degree, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Interestingly, it was then that I realized that a big part of doing what makes me happy aren’t selfish things, but selfless things. It has helped me come to a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to my relationships with those I care about. I think about how I can help and love them in ways I never thought about before. The people I love are most important to me, and so is showing them that I care.

When my mom said this to me, I felt a freedom to choose. It’s not the same as when someone wags their finger in your face and demands that you not be selfish but instead give, give, give. No, instead I felt her unconditional love, and that made me want to do nothing more but to give it back. When someone you look up to gives you their blessing to choose your own path in life, you might even surprise yourself with what you feel compelled to do.

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Ash Pariseau
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