The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

Five Simple Rules for Happiness?

Here is the story Deb sent me today.
It made me happy, so I am sharing it too.

A 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud man,
who is fully dressed each morning by eight
o’clock, with his hair fashionably coifed and shaved
perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved
to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years
recently passed away, making the move necessary. After
many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the
nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his
room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I
provided a visual description of his tiny room,
including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on
his window.

“I love it,” he stated with the enthusiasm of an
eight-year-old having just been presented with a
new puppy.

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait.”
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he

“Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.
Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on
how the furniture is arranged … it’s how I arrange
my mind. I already decided to love it. “It’s a
decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a
choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the
difficulty I have with the parts of my body that
no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful
for the ones that do.

Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open,
I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy
memories I’ve stored away. Just for this time in my

Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from
what you’ve put in.

Deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred.
2. Free your mind from worries.
3. Live simply.
4. Give more.
5. Expect less.

Author: smallboy

Helen Tara Hughes is a writer, producer and actor. An award-winning theatre performer, she cut her teeth in classical and new work at major theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival. Her first taste of documentary work – a POV radio documentary for CBC’s ‘Outfront’ – gave her the documentary bug, and in 2009 she transitioned into Producing with the feature documentary, Goodness in Rwanda. As a writer, she has been published by, Eros Digest, and TWISI, and has a book of short stories that will be published in the fall of 2012. As a filmmaker, she creates short films based on poetic writing. She moonlights as an Asst Producer and Coordinator for documentary, factual, and independent films, and is developing a slate of her own media projects for 2013.

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