My mom is 90 and has Alzheimers. She has always been the most optimistic person, and happy most of the time. It was hard when she had teens and when she was still with her violent husband, and then when they divorced and she was a single parent of 3, still at home. She still managed to find the joy in her life and to spread it around. I have always envied her this. I tend to the depressive side, noticing everything that I could possibly take personally and making a meal of it. Ironically, I am also thought of as positive and happy, by people who know me. I think it is the inside of me that has turmoil, but when I am out in the world, with people I like, I am, indeed, happy. Is it really true that the happy people see only happiness? In my case, I work at being happy. I see the negative and feel the sadness of the world, but choose to see the world in a positive light be happy as often as possible. I’m not sure if my mom is making that choice as it does seem to be her baseline. She may have made that choice a long time ago and it is now a set habit. If so, then I am encouraged by it. Perhaps it will someday become my baseline, too. Or was she born that way? She has never truly suffered from depression. She has definitely had sad and hard times in her life, but she reacted to them the way I think most people would. They cry and possibly find a friend to complain to, but also just do what needs to be done. I say this and then immediately am reminded that it is so easy to look at someone else’s life and think it is so much easier and kinder and happier. Looking at my own life is quite different. It is a case of comparing my insides with someone else’s outsides. I too, was able to “do the next thing” in difficult situations after crying to a friend. My mom, with her Altzheimers, is no longer able to make choices. She is exactly who she is. She can’t remember if someone made her mad. She no longer carries a grudge. Instead, she seems to truly love everyone that she comes in contact with. Unless she is having a crabby day. She gets crabby when she is in pain or she feels all the control in her life has been taken away. Then, she might snap at me or say something mildly unkind about a stranger. But, this is rare. I am, of course, afraid that I am basically a negative person and when I get old and can no longer make the choice to be nice, will I become one of those old, cranky crones? I hope not. I am going to believe that it does make a difference to make a choice to see happiness every day and that it will become a habit that I wake with. I don’t currently wake with it, but it does come easily once I have been out in the world with others.