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This time last year I was unhappy. I had a boyfriend, a good job, and an amazing group of friends – really, no excuse for unhappiness. But the smallest things – sometimes nothing at all – would bring me to tears. All. The. Time. It was a lonely and unsettling experience. Was I depressed? Maybe. Longing for the familiarity of home during the holiday season? Probably. Missing my mom as the anniversary of her death loomed? Definitely.

So I did what Cancerians are best known for: I hid in my shell. I locked the world away. And I thought. I thought “long and hard”, as my mom used to say, about what I needed to be happy and what I would change to achieve that.

I made just one change.

I told myself “choose happiness”. It was that simple. It was my decision to be exactly where I was in my life and no one else’s, and there was nothing in my surrounding environment that would make me happier if it was different. So I decided to wake up every day and find things to be grateful for and give thanks for everything I have.

It was incredible how quickly things changed. I felt lighter. I couldn’t stop smiling. I was energized. I set new goals. I developed habits to bring more positivity into my life wherever I could.

Sometimes we want so desperately for the World to create the idyllic setting for us that we forget how much control we have over our own reality. This year taught me that I CAN steer the direction of my destiny and happiness. And I haven’t looked back.

Choose happiness.