A Short Guide to a Happy Life

“Life is made of moments, small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves how to live, really live…to love the journey, not the destination.” A quote in the book, A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen.

While at the library the other day, I came across this small book amidst others about life and healing. I was originally looking for a book about the healing powers of light and energy, but this one caught my eye and as I try to never deny my curiosity, I picked it off the shelf. It was a great surprise to find this treasure and while the book was published ten years ago, it still has some beautiful and simple truths to it that I wanted to share.

The author Quindlen claims to not be a professional or counselor by any means, but is known in a small circle to make a mean tomato sauce. Her charm, outlook on life and simple advice make her an instant and guiding friend throughout the book. She offers some impactful photos that easily brings about a smile and after first skimming a few pages, I flipped back to the front and read the whole thing through. Throughout, you will find she gently encourages you to get a life. A life where you pay attention to the small details around you, not the kind of life where you waste away minutes, hours, and days. “Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes…”

Her wisdom comes surprisingly from the darkest possible reason, a dividing of a “before” and “after” life when her mother passed away from ovarian cancer when she was 19. Since then, she says she saw life differently; “I was never again going to be able to see life as anything except a great gift,” and she had been given a new perspective on mortality, death, pain, and even love.

This made me wonder how many people have gone through devastating situations that consequently divide your life into a “before” and “after”. I have this year, and while it was not by the loss of a family member, it was the loss of my innocence you could say. While I’m not fully ready to write about it yet, just know that a collection of events in my life have now given me a new perspective.

Have you gone through something in your life that noticeably divided it? And how do you look at the world different now?

I will leave you with those questions and this last quote from her book, in hopes that if you come across it, you will find it a true treasure as I did.

“But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul.” pg. 10

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One comment on “A Short Guide to a Happy Life”

  1. It was rather interesting for me to read the blog. Thank author for it. I like such topics and everything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

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