You don’t seem happy.  Those were pretty much the last words I said to my ex boyfriend/husband/spousal equivalent before he ran away from home.   He wasn’t happy I guess.  He was probably even less happy after I sent him pictures of all his stuff in the town dump. But that’s not the point of this post, the point is … are YOU happy?

If you’re not happy, today is the day we’re gonna figure out how to get you absolutely and completely HAPPY.

I am.  And I don’t mean right now, at this moment, I mean I am fundamentally happy.  Part of that is just my character and part of it is a decision to be happy.  To make myself happy.  Not a raving lunatic with a grin plastered on her face no matter what … just, you know … happy.  Or who knows. Maybe I’m just a bit simple.  With the New Year just rising up over the old one, now is the perfect time to ask if you’re truly happy and if you’re NOT, what the hell can you do to change that.

Because seriously. Why wouldn’t you?

Only you can make you happy. I pulled that top shelf, pseudo-psychological cliche out of an old episode of Who’s the Boss, but you know what?  It’s true.  You’re the only one responsible for your life and circumstances.  You.  Just you.    Not someone else, not something else.  You.  Happiness isn’t about what you have or who you’re with or where you live; it’s about your state of mind regardless of those things.  I got my degree in psychiatry while we were on Christmas break by the way.  No I didn’t.  But it doesn’t take a degree or a genius or even more intelligence than your basic baby to know that “things” don’t make a person happy.

Babies are happy once they have the basics.  Food, sleep and a big fart and they’re happy. That’s it. That is all it takes to not only make them happy, but oftentimes deliriously happy.  Yup.  Allowing a big burst of wind to come flying out of their bum is enough to make the most basic, undisturbed form of human life happy. We’re not going for deliriously happy here, just shit grinning happy so keep your toots to yourself for the moment.   Why are those little babies so happy?  Dunno.  Like I said I’m not a genius or in any way qualified to be advising you on any of this.

However I’m doing it anyway.

Because I’m not big on New Year’s Resolutions we’re not going to call this that. Besides.

This isn’t a resolution.  It’s a revolution.

2016 is going down as one of the most depressing years in history.  There was racism, Zika, Brexit, Syria, and heroin overdoses for entertainment.   So it’s understandable if you feel a bit like you were dragged out of 2016 on a stretcher.

But this is 2017.



How do you know if you’re generally happy?  Well my simple test is this;  when you wake up in the morning are you in a good mood?  And are you happier more days than you’re sad, depressed or unfulfilled.  If you’re any of these three things on a regular basis, you’re probably not happy.  And you could be.  You should be!  Because why, WHY would you go the rest of your life not being happy if you could be?

I’m guessing when you blow the candles out on your birthday cake you don’t wish for things that will make you unhappy.  You don’t wish for scabies.  You wish for whatever it is you think will make you happy. (Me? I always, always just wish to be happy … because that’s the anticipated end goal of every wish).

I’m talking to you old man who scowls at the woman ahead of you because you think she has one too many items in her grocery cart to be allowed in the 8 items or less checkout.

I’m talking to you unhappy stay at home mom who doesn’t really have a reason to be unhappy, but just is.

I’m talking to you unhappy working mom who doesn’t really have a reason to be unhappy, but just is.

I’m talking to those of you who hate your jobs, are bored with your routine, don’t even like (let alone love) your husband or wife, those of you who used to be wildly happy but … just aren’t anymore.

Let’s get you happy this year.  Really happy.  Deep down happy.  What would that take for you personally?

Realizing you are genuinely depressed or anxious and finally calling your doctor about going to see a therapist?  Do IT.

Realizing you hate, HATE, HATE your job so much it’s ruining your life?   Make a plan to either figure out a way to like that job or … get a new job.  Really.  People do it all the time.  They quit the jobs they hate.  Do it this year.  Be smart about it.  Make a real plan to get the balls to figure out something else you can do.  Research it, figure it out, plan it and then one day you’ll be able to walk into the office and quit that stupid, asshead job that sucks the life and happiness right out of you!  Do IT.

Realizing enough is enough with taking care of people around you and finally dropping the hammer with a great big SUCK IT ALL OF YOU.  I’m gonna take care of me.  Do IT.

I did it.  I did every single one of those things.  I went to see a therapist (who eventually fired me), I quit my job as a television host (which most people would think is a dream job) to terrifyingly start a blog, a job that I literally wake up early and jump out of bed to do.  And there are a few people in my life who were sucking the life out of me so I cut them loose.

You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, skipping down the yellow brick road throwing chocolate sprinkles on everyone in your path to be considered happy.  Or the kind of person who smiles when they’re giving bad news or arguing with you.  I don’t like those people.  They’re creepy.  But you should be generally happy in this life because along with death and destruction, this life also has puppies and flowers and learning and teaching and hugs.  And french fries.

Everyone has times of drama and trauma. Of course you’re not going to sail those times feeling happy and carefree, I mean, you’re not a sociopath, but the happier you are in your own life, the easier those times will be to get through.

Happiness takes practice.  It’s exactly like becoming a great pool player, only you don’t always find happiness in a dive bar with puke stains on the floor.  In fact, usually you don’t, so stay out of those.

Go out there, grab this New Year by the should-have-been-packed-away-by-now Christmas balls and GET HAPPY.  Do what you need to do. Pay attention.  Make a plan.


Swear more, eat more, eat better, be honest, be kind, be helpful, be wise, listen, dance, be useful, be encouraging, be strong, be selfish, be curious, be happy.

Go get ’em.  Do it.


  1. Lois Baron says:

    I’m so happy you’ve unchained the sloth and are back. Happy New Year!

  2. Dorothy says:

    This is hands down your best post! Thank you!

  3. Dawn says:

    Great advice! You are 100% right–the only person who can make you happy is you. I wish more people knew this! Thanks for a great kick-in-the-pants post.

  4. Sandra says:

    You are so right. Now, I am pretty happy, but I could be more happy. What tends to make me unhappy? When I procrastinate. So, do I procrastinate? Yes.

    I want to be more like you, but I’m lazy. I get mad at my husband for not doing the things I want to be able to do myself. I’m going to quit that, and start things first.

    One thing at a time. I’m going to get downstairs into our dungeon of a basement and start cleaning it up. Moving things around. Making it so that we can actually see it get bigger. And emptier.

    And then we can renovate it.

    Thanks, Karen.

    • Chris White says:

      Sandra, loved your comment on being mad at your husband for not doing something you want to be able to do yourself. I suffer from this regularly. Your comments and Karen’s how-to blog are the motivation I need to kick start 2017. I am going to learn some new tricks, ask questions when I can’t figure something out, and in general, just TRY!!!! Look out Honey Do List….. Here I come.

  5. Cecelia Haney says:

    Love this sentiment, Karen!

    More Happy in 2017!!

  6. Leisa says:

    Perfect way to start the year!

  7. Ella says:

    I needed that. Thanks!

  8. GillyBean says:


    So nice to see positivity and foward thinking-ness in a kick ass-y kind of way.

    I always think of happiness as a work in progress. Something you should always keep working at because you needs are constantly changing.

  9. Kathline says:

    I’m all about this! The first thought in my head come Monday morning shouldn’t be “f****”. It’s not likely I’m going to figure out a way to like my job so I’m going to have to figure out a way to change it. Time to stop doing all the things I “should” be doing and start doing what I really need to be doing!

  10. Milton says:

    Awesome post!

  11. Judy says:

    I don’t remember how I found your blog but am so glad I did. You are an inspiration to all and definitely have a way with words – love your sense of humor too. Wishing you much love, good health and laughter in 2017 and beyond.

  12. Judy DeLacy says:

    A few decades ago, I read a self-help book by Dr. Wayne Dyer. He’s the one who taught me that only myself can make me happy. At the time, I was unaware of the fact that I was expecting husband #1 to bring me happiness. He wasn’t. I was a mess. Once I realized what I was doing wrong, I made some a drastic decision (left husband #1), took my three children and moved from NY to CA to start my life over. It was the best decision I made, for myself and the kids.

    I’m including a link to a short 9-minute video of Dr. Dyer where he essentially tells us to practice ‘positive affirmation’ for our subconscious. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s what it boils down to. I hope you enjoy the concept.

    Regards…and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

    Judy D.

  13. Katy says:

    Thank you Karen!

  14. Jenn B. says:

    Great post Karen — I absolutely got pulled out of 2016 on a stretcher; but medics arrived, friends rallied round, and my innate happiness with breathing has kicked in again.

    That breathing thing is awesome for gratitude. Which is what has made me happy — being grateful for the good things, (like bacon) and not putting so much emphasis on the not so great things. So far so good!!

  15. Melissa says:

    A perfect sentiment, perfectly said! I tell my children this all the time, no one can make you happy but yourself, and no one can make you unhappy unless you allow them to do so.

    So, I’m with you on the 2017 Happiness Bandwagon! Let’s sing it from the rafters damn it! Just. Be. Happy. Do what makes you happy!

    My dad used to say, sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. I’ve changed that up a bit, I say, ‘sometimes, just just gotta make your own sunshine’.

    So, if we make one small change, and just make up our minds to do one thing a day that makes us happy, it might just snowball into full-blown happiness!

    So glad you’re back, hope you enjoyed your time off, we totally know you sat around all day eating bon bons and watching old movies all day…..not! You were missed!

  16. Claire says:

    Excellent post, thank you.

    And that job that’s so stressful, I haven’t slept properly for months? This Friday is my last day. It’s a good feeling 🙂

  17. Clare Hollingsworth says:

    So inspiring! I have started at my front door, clearing and sorting and THROWING AWAY (or charity shop) and I’m not going to stop this project until I reach the back door. Every time I think I’d rather watch a movie, I will think of your post and happiness and keep going 😀 Thank you!

    • Alena says:

      after you are out of your back door, can you please come right over? Your way of doing things sounds like fun and it will be even more fun under your guidance. I will cook and throw in movies and bottles of wine!

  18. Jacquie says:

    Well said Karen. People think I’m crazy when I say that absolutely EVERY emotion/feeling we have is a choice. Sometimes it’s a “healthy” thing to feel bad eg. grief, but you can choose how it affects your life and for how long.

    Worry is the worst thing for your wellbeing but people say they can’t help it, they’re just made that way. Worry achieves absolutely nothing and whilst a small amount is natural, again it’s a choice how far you let it go. Saying you have no control over it is saying you have no control over yourself as a person or your life which seems like a cop-out to me. Sorry if I’ve offended anyone!

    Wishing all a very HAPPY 2017.

    • Laura LeRayne says:

      Hi Jacquie! Speaking only for myself, you did not offend me… you simply DESCRIBED me. I have been told that worrying is harmful and useless, but it’s a habit just like smoking, drugs, and/or drinking… it is VERY difficult to stop doing ~~ especially “cold turkey”. But it is a habit i will break (before it breaks me). After my mom died it occurred to me that my “emotional eating” was not going to bring her back, so at 5’0″ tipping the scales at 235, i quit eating every time i missed her. (I’m down to 155!!)
      But worry… Worrying is a different story. Let’s see, i lost my sister to brain cancer, my mother to breast cancer, my brother has colon cancer, and my dad has Parkinson’s. People ask me, usually in a horrified whisper, “Aren’t YOU scared?” I always answer boldly, “Oh No, I’m fine!” but i swear, every time i stub my toe, i think i’m dying from some horrible disease! And i honestly don’t know how to stop being afraid.
      I just don’t know how. If you have any suggestions, i would gladly accept them. And please know that i’m not being snarky or snide at all! My reply is completely sincere… i need help.

      • Karen says:

        Hey Laura! I’m going to cut the line here if that’s O.K. 🙂 Therapy. You need to see a therapist. They will help you cope and get out of the fear pattern you’re in. 🙂 Truly. ~ karen!

        • Laura LeRayne says:

          Hi Karen! Yeah… I’m thinking that i probably need to find a new therapist… LOL

        • Laura LeRayne says:

          But i DO want to tell you that i absolutely LOVED your post!! (I even “pinned” it and will send it to my daughter.
          I truly am attempting to be happy. It’s a new concept for me, i think, as i haven’t been truly happy since i was in my 20’s (i’m 48 now). I was deliriously happy in my 20’s LOL

          • Karen says:

            Oh! Thanks, lol. Yes, let’s maybe think about changing your therapist if you haven’t seen any improvement. I mean if you’ve only been going for a few months you could give it more time but if you’ve been going for years and haven’t improved maybe changing therapists would help? ~ karen!

      • Jacquie says:

        Hi Laura,

        Sorry, I only just saw your reply. Like Karen, I was going to suggest therapy – I had a couple of sessions years ago now and have recommended it to everyone since. However I’m British and we don’t do therapy, it’s still thought of as being a bit airy fairy 🙂 so people tend to think I’m a bit flaky when I mention it! Another suggestion is hypnosis; I stopped smoking the same day I had a session after 30 years of smoking, and I would recommend it for weight/food issues and also anxiety – in my opinion, pretty much anything that the mind gets itself in a tizzy about can be helped by hypnosis!

        I’m so sorry for your losses and your dad’s situation. You’ve had a lot on your plate; please do yourself a huge favour (and I mean that, you really would be helping yourself massively) and get some professional help; as you said, maybe a new therapist is in order.

        By the way, reiki would be good too for worry/anxiety.

  19. Best fucking post ever! Feel free to edit the f out but it made me happy to say it (swear more)… and I really needed that. I tell myself much of that same story but I tend to get distracted and trail off in the middle. You are more convincing. I am easily amused (which I claim is a sign of intelligence) but my happy ass has been dragging. (Just your average end of the world shit) SO, Thanks, Karen! In fact, I am happy my freaky little terrier woke me up at 2:30 am (the third time tonight) so I could read this post.

  20. Emma says:

    Karen you are da bomb. Love you and Happy New Year. ??

  21. Teri says:

    Amen sister! Testify!
    So appreciate your ability to grab me by the nose ring and make me pay attention.
    Years and years ago a philosopher I admired said, about happiness, “It is and inside job”. Occasionally I have forgotten that but, in due course, I find my way back although sometimes it is a process and not an event.
    Thank you for the reminder that, if the answer isn’t ‘Yes!!!’ (complete with fist pump and leg kick), then it is ‘no’.
    And puppies and French fries make great stretcher bearers…

  22. Doctor or not, you’ve put in a nut shell what my therapist has been pounding into my head. Upon her advice, I’ve taken to posting positive affermations on the wall length mirror in my bathroom. Soooo, LIKE IT OR NOT Karen, your headed straight to bathroom!!!!!

    Thanks, this was perfect!

  23. Melissa says:

    Perfect post to start the new year. Bring it on 2017!

  24. Jenny W says:

    I think, sometimes, on our never-ending quest of the “Happy”, we often forget to look around ourselves, and simply feel content <3

  25. Lynn Barnes says:

    I would like to have coffee with you……………………..please!

  26. Eileen says:

    Sometimes being happy is a conscious decision; sometimes I wake with joy…and energy! Thanks for the post.

  27. Kathryn says:

    In 2015, I read all the books about getting happy, and spent that year making notes about what made me happier and what didn’t. Which led to returning from my last Christmas break with a resignation letter in hand. It took me most of 2016 to quit the job, sell the house that was suitable for the job (getting rid of about 25% of the stuff in it), find a small house, buy it, set up my business, and culminated in having a few quiet moments rather than a week long Christmas break, but at the end of 2016, I am far, far happier.

    I realized at the end of the summer that I’d spent most of my vacation time (when I had a job) going to conferences to learn new things, and doing side-jobs, so work is now what I used to do on vacation, so I’m not worn out.

    I found that during that changing everything year, most of my remaining stress was from money, so I did 2 things — I took an online course called Put your money where your happy is (about prioritizing things that make you happier) and subscribed to (You Need a Budget) to help me understand what I have and where it’s going.

    So now, for the most part, yes, I am happy.

    • Jenifer says:

      After reading your post, my first thought was “Wow! She is so BRAVE!” And you are. Those are some courageous moves and I am in awe! I dream about doing things like that. I am working on the smaller things like getting rid of STUFF and DOING more stuff. 🙂

      Bravo to you and wishing you peaceful budgeting. 🙂


    • Karen says:

      Excellent. That was all very brave of you. 🙂 ~ karen

    • Alena says:

      As I was reading your post, I thought “you are one brave lady”!
      Clearly, so did others. You rock, Kathryn!

      And P.S. if anybody else is thinking about a budget, there is an excellent spreadsheet (free download) on that I have been using for the last 4 years. It’s easily modifiable to use everybody’s individual needs. Tracking all expenses is an eye-opening experience.
      (If Karen has a similar spreadsheet, I apologize. This is not an attempt to lead her readers astray).

      • Kim from Milwaukee says:

        Thank you for sharing that budgeting site Alena! Definitely need to use those tracking tools…gotta get out of debt in 2017!

  28. When I read that last bit, “Swear more, eat more, eat better,…” I read it as eat BUTTER, got excited and thought that this was a program I could get behind! Sigh…. well, it’s still pretty good, but butter would have made it “raving lunatic” better.

    • Mary W says:

      That sounds like a great way to start the new year. I’m feeling better already just thinking about eating butter more! Thanks for the laugh this dreary morning.

    • Grammy says:

      I bought a nifty little churn-in-a-jar a month or so ago, and my 7-year-old grandson and I made our own butter. That made both of us exceedingly happy. Until the dog snatched the kid’s butter and bread right out of his hand. But the kid got more, so he was able to stop crying and actually laugh at the dog. Things like that make me happy. So, go ahead — eat some butter.

      Plus, do everything Karen tells you to.

      • Wow! Making your own butter! Awesome – it means you’ll never run out. That’s some kind of perfect world, that!

        • Grammy says:

          Oh, it’s so easy. You can do it by shaking heavy cream (in the U.S. the grocery store sells “heavy whipping cream”) in a mason jar (or a very clean commercial glass jar) and shake it till it turns into butter. I did that in a kindergarten class in the ’40s. But now there are these pretty little butter churns that make the work easier — you turn a handle on the top of the jar and it spins the paddles inside. If you try it, read the directions — you need to press out all the buttermilk if you’re not eating it all right away. Bonus: the buttermilk that’s left when all the rest turns to butter is perfect in any recipe that requires buttermilk. I made muffins and pancakes with the buttermilk. Win-win.

    • jainegayer says:

      LMAO! Me too! I thought it said butter.

  29. Sandy says:

    Great post and great advice. I needed it! Thanks, Karen.

  30. Ann says:

    I am so lucky. I survived a pretty hellish childhood. I was as dysfunctional as I could be as a young wife and mother. But somehow I knew I didn’t want my life to continue that way forever. To go down all the wrong roads my mother did, and now my siblings were.

    So thru out my 30’s I kept trying to move forward, leave my past behind. Take joy in what I did do right and forgive myself more for my wrongs, which were still pretty much constant. I think most mother’s of kids feel they are constantly messing up!! Plus having a high pressure medical job where making mistakes cost but happened. I was an xray tech in a busy department. You don’t even want to know how many retake xrays happened back in the old days and how often it was your fault, not the patient. But any way, slowly, over that decade and into the next, I did learn how to be much happier. It is a slow process. But I do believe most of us damaged souls can move forward, as long as there are not true medical mental health issues to be dealt with. I will never dismiss the fact that mental health in this world is not addressed properly or often enough.

    Now that I am into my 60’s, yes there are times I am somewhat sad. Times I have a day where I can’t figure out where my anger comes from or why I can’t find happiness in my ordinary life. But it is so incredibly rare. And I can’t even tell you how happy I am when I walk outside and see my animals, my garden, the things I knit for my family, the sun, the earth, the smile of almost any child, a kindness done by someone else for someone other than I. My list of things that make me happy is so incredibly long. Maybe that is part of it. One by one, I found the beauty in things others don’t seem to notice. I seek out happy people to be with, those who share my interests. I do for others as much as I can. I give to others when I see the need. Not to any extreme, I keep hoping to do better at the giving thing in this next year.

    • Thank you for sharing your incredible journey. It couldn’t have been easy to revisit the pain. But your story is so inspiring! I’m not generally an unhappy person, but you have inspired me to do better – try to be kinder, nicer and see more beauty in the world. Thank you.

  31. TexasMom says:

    Perfect timing Karen, Thank You!

  32. carolyne darimont says:

    Wow, just, Wow

  33. Jenifer says:

    You convinced me…I’m getting a puppy. (My husband said no to the baby.) LOL

    If you are ever in upstate NY, look me up and we can hit some flea markets, farmers markets, consignment shops….they are always fun!


  34. When I wake up in the morning I wish I hadn’t. I am not happy and haven’t been for far too long. While I realize that it is up to me I feel trapped in my situation. However I have resolved to make 2017 the year I finally get out of this trap I am in even if it means being homeless at 58. I am resolved to get rid of excess baggage in my life, knick knacks I have kept for the memories, which now make me sad or thinking they are worth something when they are actually costing me more just having them. I signed up for the Daily OM, It helps as long as I take the time to read it. I am a little inundated with all the get happy fuel for the fire everyone is posting about (which always seems to appear when I am feeling extremely low. They help, they do and I’m trying, I really am.

  35. Karin in NC says:

    I’m also a genuinely happy person. Content. I have a positive outlook. I agree with everything you said here about how to just start being happier, but I think you left out one very important thing in your list of “be” – be grateful. I’d willing to bet that no matter how much you think you don’t have, you have so much more than you need. Be grateful for having a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, everything. Be grateful you caught a green light, you saw a baby fiddleleaf fern or a beautiful moon or two puppies playing. Whatever. Just find things to be grateful for every day and you’ll be surprised how much happier you can be. Just my two cents. Full disclosure, I’m not a psychologist either.

    • Sandra says:

      I agree with this, too. Write the good things down! When you’re feeling down, you can go back and remember the things that made you happy. When I go down to my dungeon of a basement and do something, I’m going to keep track of it. When I finish a project, I’m going to write it down. If I don’t do anything, I’ll write down something my husband said that made me laugh. Or what my grandsons did to make me smile. Anything happy.

    • CGinAZ says:

      Amen Sista-Friend.

  36. Kimberly M says:

    This is pretty much the most positive thing I’ve read so far this year. Granted, the year just started… but hey! I posted something along these lines for my friends and family on Facebook. Basically, stop complaining you’re unhappy, if you’re unwilling to change it. Take the steps to get to a happier place. I, as well as many others, want 2016 to suck a big one a disappear, but I also know my blessings are so many. Definitely taking this year and giving it a big hug with my sweaty post-workout (because yea I’m doing that too this year) body, and setting the right tone for the rest of it. Love this blog so much Karen. It has given me so much over the past few years and I’m thankful for that too! Much love from the middle of the USA.

  37. Mary W says:

    My father did not give advice. He said wise things at just the right time. When I was 15 and he was helping me learn to drive, he was in the passenger seat as I waited for the light to turn green and go. When it did, a man tried to run the red light and almost hit my car. I yelled and said to Daddy, He makes me so angry, we could have been hit. Daddy looked at me and simply said – HE can’t make you angry – only you have those controls. I’m 70 and still remember those words. He never mentioned the almost-accident and didn’t say anything else at all. He wisely let it all sink in. Still today, I always check to make sure no one is running a light before I go on green. I check myself anytime I think someone is making me angry or sad. One of my favorite quotes from anonymous: Don’t put the keys to your happiness in another person’s pocket. Great post today, sweet Karen.

    • Karen says:

      “Don’t put the keys to your happiness in another person’s pocket. ” Love that, lol. Thanks Mary. ~ karen!

      • Donna says:

        I’m keeping that one! Thanks for sharing it.

        Another similar one: ‘Don’t let anyone live rent-free in your head’.

  38. Laura Bee says:

    Karen, you’re the best. I was fired from a job I really loved. Or maybe I wanted to love it. Some of the people I worked with were dicks. Hell, I have had 3 other jobs here in town but one turned out to be seasonal, another sold the restaurant and then the new owner hired me but my availability didn’t work for them…) So when that happened I was not happy for almost all of 2015. Anyways… I have never been fired in my life and now at 43 I have been fired 4 times in 2 years. WTF! I was not happy. Anyways, my bf HATED his job and finally found one he can walk to just when I was fired this time, so I applied to the Crappy Tire one town over (only one car). I got the job, the hours are better so our daughter is not in daycare except for PA days and holidays. And I like what I do. It suits me.
    Silver linings and all that jazz. Bring on the happy. . .

  39. Marilyn says:

    Good post Karen..happiness does come from within and you can definitely make your life happier if you choose to do so..I’m a happy person, always have been and a positive thinker brother thinks I’m pollyanaish. But I am confident and well loved..I think that being well loved and cherished also helps you to be happier and kinder to others. And kindness can also make you happy..when you are kind to others and see the results of your kindness it can make you very happy! We all have our moments for sure but the good far outweigh the bad if you ar a happy person..happy new year Karen!!

  40. Lori says:


    LOVE THIS POST. Thank you! I needed that.

  41. CA says:

    Great post! I have finally decided to not return to a career I have hated for years after being let go from my last job six months ago. The problem is I don’t know what to do next. I have no idea what I even want to do. Everything I think of is followed by a reason not to do it. I am happy not doing anything; I like getting up and doing whatever I feel like. If I want to cook, I do it, if I want to go for a walk, I do it, if I want to lay on the couch all day and surf the net I do that. I keep waiting to win the lottery but that’s not realistic.

    Being single and just turning 52, this lifestyle is not financially sustainable and I must find something soon. I really don’t want to have to take a job I hate again. It makes me feel ill looking at job ads for my previous job (Human Resources – ugh).

    Any interest in doing a follow-up post on how to find what you want to do in life Karen?

    • Karen says:

      Maybe the easiest thing for you to do would be to figure out what you hated about Human Resources and work from there. 🙂 i.e. Did you hate going into an office? Did you hate regular hours? Did you hate doing the same thing every single day? Did you hate the politics? Complaining people? It’s a place to start anyway. ~ karen!

      • CA says:

        All of the above and then some 🙂

        • Lez says:

          CA my heart goes out to you. I was also there 4 years ago. I left my miserable husband of 26 years, basically left my daughter to fend for herself at university, as she was sucking the life out of me, but I provide everything for her. I was incredibly unhappy & also didn’t know what to do. I moved away from my beloved Cape Town to a tiny town in the desert, where it is all orange farming & no one speaks my language. So I learnt to speak Afrikaans, that was hard (!) & am slowly being accepted here. I met the love of my life & we decided to turn the spare room into a guest room! Wow! Who knew there was such a niche in the market here?? I have now hosted guests from all over the world, made new friends & am making good money from the absolute privilege of guests paying money to stay in our home! If you even have a spare couch, you can get on Airbnb & make money CA! Trust me. A small investment with some new bedding & towels, a welcoming smile & some info about your area, that’s all you need! It grew from there in 1 year to a bigger unit we built & now it is full time work in a totally new field for me, very hard work, but my choice, & now we are on 5 websites & I’m running an international business! Like Karen, I am basically a content person, but I was NOT happy. I was stuck, & made a huge leap of faith & it makes me happy. I love my guests & helping them enjoy South Africa. So when most people are starting to think about retirement, I just turned 54, I have started a whole new career, & trust me, if I could do it anyone can! Plan, think, dream, & as Karen says, just do IT! So CA, if I can help you in anyway possible, I’m there at the end of an email address. Let me know. Karen, you are simply Wonder Woman & an inspiration to so many. A great post. Thank you. Onwards & upwards in 2017!

  42. Karen says:


  43. maggie van sickle says:

    After reading all the comments I feel very lucky and I am in a good place. Retired, a pension, good health, living in a nice little home on a beautiful lake, 2 good kids and 3 wonderful Grandkids. I am happy and will be happier when I leave this small piece of paradise and move back to my home town of Dundas to be closer to family. This is a big move but it is something that I can make happen and I intend to do just that and although I am happy just think how much happier I will be. Have a great day Karen and to all your fans that are struggling u can make things happen no matter how big or small your problems are. Have a great day!

  44. Topo says:

    To CA

    I am in the exact same place as you! Fired from a job I hated July of this year. The place actually affected me to the point of having problems dealing with stuff. Turning 52 this month. Trying to figure out a new way to make a living while struggling financially. It ain’t easy. I live in Ottawa where there are government funded programs. There is one for “Mature Workers” and I’m hoping it will provide some sort of clarity or help. There is also something called “Second Career” which pays for you to retrain in a new career. I don’t have links, but you may want to look that one up. Motivation is hard, but if I force myself to attend one of these sessions, at least I’m getting out there instead of surfing the net for jobs that I don’t really want to do. Because, to be honest, I love staying home and being a childless housewife. Anyway, just wanted you to know you aren’t alone!

    • CA says:

      Thanks for the response TOPO. Unfortunately, I don’t qualify for the second career program. If you do, you should take advantage of it. They told me not to even bother filling in the application. I would go back to school myself if I knew what to take. Best wishes to you!

  45. Linda in Illinois says:

    Great way to start the New Year, you are my inspiration.
    Happy New Year!!

  46. Angie says:

    Thanks! Just what I needed to read today!

  47. Alena says:

    OK, Karen. I will try – I really will.
    Great post, BTW.
    Happy 2017!

  48. Maria Largaespada says:

    I just hung a chandelier in my dining area…all by myself.
    and I’m happy.

  49. Flash says:

    Do you have a puppy? They really do help make you happy :). And show outright love and devotion a tad more than sloths and chickens
    happy New Year

  50. ronda says:

    to “quote” Monty Python … always look on the bright side of life! It may seem simplistic, but it works. Its helped me get through what has probably been the worst year ever!

  51. isabella says:

    I’m happy and thank you for reminding me that being happy is up to me. I’m glad that you are happy as well. Actually I don’t think I would have read your blog is you were a depressive. Who needs that! So thanks for being happy you and happy me is always happy to hear about happiness, bizarre behaviors, crazy stuff and fun stuff. Cause none of us are getting out of here alive, to quote my mom.I’d rather leave smiling than frowning.

  52. Carolyn says:

    Once again you are right on target with your post!
    Thank you for saying what we all need to hear!

  53. Thera says:

    I am on my way to being happy, 2016 was my Quit Year, I quit smoking, I quit coffee and I quit a bad marriage (FYI do not put that as your FB status as people explode). This year is for beginnings, or good habits like healthy eatIng and walking and happy things like going back to school to learn to do something I love at 45. I hope everyone is either already happy or on their way like me!

  54. Fred says:

    70 Acres on the Welland River,Old farm house in need of TLC,…just too much to do….very unhappy

  55. Darla says:

    Great post! I took the step to be my own boss years ago, but this reinforces the fact that I am not just my job. I have to make more time for family and the things I like to do. Not just the ones I have to do.

  56. Grammy says:

    Everything Karen said in this post and in her subsequent comments is excellent advice. It obviously has come at a good time for a lot of people. I have just one suggestion that might be useful to so many of you for whom your jobs are at the core of your unhappiness:

    I was a single mother very young, and always had to work. Without a college degree and being too clumsy for waitress work, I found office jobs where my good typing skills were needed. Most of the jobs were awful — mind-numbingly boring and usually with bosses who thought “the help” were supposed to be treated badly just because. So, I know something about that sense of feeling trapped and unhappy. But, somehow, I figured out my own personal answer. I got an entry-level job as a file clerk with the government (all that required was a high school diploma). The pay was barely adequate but it had good benefits. I found out I was very smart, and I worked really hard, and over the years I worked my way up through many promotions. Most of the time, I hated the work and the hours and the rigid rules and, yes, the lazy co-workers and incompetent bosses.

    But I always said, “This is not my life, it’s how I make my living. This job makes me able to have a good life outside of work.” I would have loved to have the luxury of working at something I loved, but none of those jobs paid as well as the crappy desk jobs I did. So I went to work every day and did the very best at what they paid me to do, and then went home to my son, grateful that I could live in a decent place and afford decent food and he didn’t have to go to school naked. That made me able to do it again the next day.

    Throughout my long life, a failed marriage, a very long second marriage (still going), kids and dogs and tragedy and ecstasy, all the stuff of life, I’ve always been happy that I didn’t sit around waiting for that job that would be my ultimate fulfillment because I always sought fulfillment outside of the place where I made money. I know that doesn’t work for everyone, and I envy those people who’ve found happiness because they work at what they love. But if you are in a place where you feel nothing is good because you have a job you hate, working with people you don’t like, until you can change that in whatever way you need to, just tell yourself your LIFE is outside of that place, the work just let’s you have your life.

    I’ve been retired now for 14 years, and it’s because of that crappy job that I can now do whatever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want. I can be generous with my time and money doing things that matter to me. I hope the same outcome for all of you who are struggling for the balance in your own lives.

    • Nancy Blue Moon says:

      Amen, Grammy…my story is very similar…I worked for the Pennsylvania State Government…The job I had was a crappy one, I hated every day I had to drive over an hour to get there, but I was also very grateful every day that I had that job…It gave great benefits for me and my son, vacations and other fun day trips with him, decent clothes for him to wear to school and a good life for us together…Thank goodness I had that job because his father cared not a bit if his son had even the most basic of necessities…No matter what I had to do…I am grateful that he and I had the chance to make such wonderful memories together because around the age of sixteen he began to show signs of mental illness…he is now twenty six…he is Bi-polar and has severe Agoraphobia with psychotic features…he rarely leaves the house anymore because of his irrational fears of people and things…but for his Dr appointments…If any of you ladies have the means to leave your job and train to do work that you think will make you happier…by all means go for it…I wish you all the luck in the world…but I believe the most important point in all of this would be learning to be happy with the life you are in now because life can change at any moment and you never know what the future will bring…no matter how you plan it…Karen is absolutely right…”Only you can make you happy”.

  57. Jody says:

    I’m happy. And it’s the simple things in life that make me the happiest. Quietly knitting, tiny seeds sprouting, walking my dog, hugging my husband, watching my son flourish into a young man. Here’s a quote from someone somewhere, “”Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles”.

  58. Marti says:

    I gassed myself all the way through my elliptical training today. Now… where’s the “test”?
    Did I miss that part?

  59. Mindy says:

    Every wish I ever make is the same. For YEARS, always the same, single word. Stars, tunnels, moving hay, birthday candles….all the same wish. Happiness.

  60. savitri says:

    For me this messages is most thought provoking. Thank you

  61. Gayle M says:

    Happy. Thank you for the eye opening pronouncement. Celebrating 43rd anniversary with my hubby/best friend this weekend, driving 2 hrs south to Shipshewana Indiana area in the frigid snowy cold for 2 days away from it all. Happy? Add very lucky to that. And bookmark it for future reference (like when we’re building that garden retaining wall this spring!).

  62. Ellie O'Toole says:

    POWERFUL! I’ve bookmarked this entry as a Favorite and moved it to my #1 slot. I plan to read your inspiring message every day until I’ve mastered the happiness factor. 2017 will be a memorable year. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  63. Patti says:

    You are a Credit to our Gender!!!! And funny as hell!

  64. Stephbo says:

    I don’t make resolutions, but I do have specific intentions that I work toward each year. This year’s intention is to be happy, so your post is very timely. In addition to some of the things I’ve been thinking about, you have also convinced me to get 20 puppies (if one is good, 20 must be better) and to fart more. Thanks!

  65. Sarah says:

    Happy New Year. Thank you for this.

    I needed this. I have been skirting around grabbing life by the Christmas balls.

    Between this blog post and watching the movie Joy. I feel like its time to practice being happy.

  66. Stan Nowak says:

    Karen, this ‘Stuff’ is like a great cup of coffee in the morning or a refreshing splash of cold water on my face! Thanks for this and keep doing your ‘Stuff’!

  67. jainegayer says:

    Well said, Karen. It’s just more fun to be happy!

  68. Maureen Locke says:

    Many times I think I’m unhappy but then I start counting my blessings and they are many. I tend to be a “glass half empty” type of person so I’m constantly having to give myself a severe talking to. I have a wonderful life with a job I’m not a big fan of, but it’s ok. I dream of retirement… hopefully soon. My husband is my best friend but he’s turning into an old fart who never wants to go anywhere. Instead of whining about it, I grab my single best friend and off we go on an adventure. My husband is content to stay home and I’m enjoying life. My parents always said ” life is what you make of it” and I guess that’s true.

  69. Ellen says:

    This post hits home big time! The yoga “challenge” I am doing this Jaanuary is called Yoga Revolution, so those words really jumped off the page for me. Lots to think about with this post. Thanks

  70. Renee says:

    Your post spoke to my heart Karen. It is just what I needed. I had already decided to make 2017 “THE YEAR OF ME” I will make those dr appts I have been putting off, I will get new glasses after about 8 years, I will get rid of things that are bogging me down. I wish I could quit, but alas, it is my & hubby’s business, so it is hard to walk away when you also have employees counting on you for their livelyhoods. But looking at the positives- I made it 20 years doing it with no experience running a business – I have a roof & food in mah belly. I have fabulous kids that are now fabulous adults. My hubby loves me, my Momma loves me, and my kitties love me. Not too shabby! Now I need to love me. Thanks for the little kick in the pants!

  71. ralph says:

    Hey Karen
    Loved this latest missive.
    You admit to not really having obtained a degree in Psychiatry but I suspect that you have recently dusted off some of your old self-help psyche books from the 70’s such as Thomas Harris’ “I’m OK, You’re OK” and perhaps Fritz Perl’s “Gestalt Verbatim”…and decided to share the pearls .
    One of the respondents above admits to feeling happy when she procrastinates. Well,me too!
    My favourite T-shirt reads ‘PROCRASTINATE TOMORROW’

    All in all a good letter,Karen.
    For the New Year I wish you good health and prosperity with multiple ‘warm fuzzies’ and zero ‘cold pricklies’.

  72. holly says:

    Quote from Ann above: I will never dismiss the fact that mental health in this world is not addressed properly or often enough. Thank you so much!

    I used to be a very happy, laid back person. I was blessed to have a wonderful family, but lived 30 miles away and they all worked fulltime. We all were raised to work hard, and were very close.

    I worked my way up in a corporate man-dominated, political environment. My husband wonked out on me, became addicted to cocaine and deserted me and my 4 yr-old daughter. I worked my butt off and tried to provide her a normal, middle-class life, with friends, Little League, etc. Have a great family, but they are all busy and 30 – 40 miles away. So was always sort of on my own. No child support, kept fighting to keep head above water. Left me with all the debt and upside-down. Charged all sorts of stuff to his business address and I was served for as Jane Doe at our home address. I know it sounds like I’m stupid, but really I am not. I’m very smart. I just never, ever expected this.

    I worked cleaning houses on weekends for years to pay bills.

    I was lucky enough to work for a government entity with pension benefits. My goal was to start my own jewelry business after I retired…I love it. Even with all the bumps, life was good and there was hope and happiness.

    After 30 years, I retired to take care of my dad, dying from cancer. Two months later, he died. 6 months later, I started sharing responsibilities for taking care of my mom 24/7 for next 4 years. Always had the utmost honor for taking care of them – they were the ultimate parents. I truly mean the very best.

    Then, hell began.

    One year into my retirement, found out my daughter was on heroin. She was always the sweetest girl, who always defended the underdog. If a kid was being picked on at school, she defended him. At sleep-overs, parents always said what good manners she had.
    Seven years into it..used to have hope. Been through the rehabs. Heard it all. It has been the most devastating, frustrating, crazy, frightening experience of my life. Insurance is basically useless. Have had my life threatened last week by her boyfriend. I leave to get my hair done (once every 8 months, and he is in my house.) She has overdosed in my house 2 times. 4 other times at flea-bag motels. She is truly the sweetest, most beautiful girl you would want to meet. Until she runs out of drugs. Then you deal with the devil. Her mind is disintegrating. One of the first doctors I spoke with warned me this is a degenerative brain disease.

    I see the ads on tv about kids with cancer, and how no parent should ever have to deal with such a devastating diagnosis. There are no ads about parents with kids who are addicts. We are the untouchables. Even though it is also a disease. Treated the same way with insurance. They offer detox and maybe a week or two of in-house, and step you down. That is the equivalent of offering a cancer patient a band-aid. Literally. And people wonder why the problem keeps getting worse.

    I am very artistic and was doing street shows with jewelry, etc. on weekends before I retired and had hoped to do it full-time when I retired and take silversmithing, etc. I was invited to several shows. That has all died.

    Her father is no help at all. He is married to a ball-buster woman with money who runs the show. She believes in tough love _ no help at all. She does not want to be bothered. He has chosen.

    I am at the end of my rope. I fight to wake up every morning..I have eroded, I know. Because there is no hope.

    I look at people around me laughing and going out to lunch, etc. and wish for it and know they have no idea how lucky they are. Even though they have all of life’s problems, they do not have this one, most likely.

    Sorry for going on for so long. I am contemplating throwing her out, but here in Phoenix, a 90 pound pretty blond girl pretty much equals rape or worse at night, even in our good neighborhood. What to do.

    • Pam'a says:


      You can’t fix her. (If it were possible, you would have managed it by now.) You’re the only one you can fix. You’ll have to decide whether you’re willing to do that.

      I hope you’ll hook into a community of people who know your struggle (a la Al-Anon, etc.), because you’re not alone– FAR too many parents live in that special hell.

      The hardest part is separating her illness from your own, but it’s what you must do! You are the only you, and you’re worth it. I would put my arms around you and hug you if I could…

      Absent that, prayers ascending.

  73. Eva says:

    THANK YOU! That was exactly the reminder I needed. There are some things I am struggling with for some time now, so that the good things tend to fade into the background. I just won’t let them any more 🙂
    Thanks again & have a good day!

  74. Inge Prevoo says:

    I couldn’t agree more Karen. But new year started with the death of 2 of my chickens and 2 more are dying of the dreaded birdflu virus. According to the vet soon the whole flock will be gone. And I love them so, they bring so much joy, and there’s no cure. So I cry, cuddle them, make them as comfortable as possible and wait. I normally whistle, sing and talk a lot (I’m loud). But these last days I’m subdued. That will pass, I am sure, but now I mourn for my poor sick chickens who have always given me their eggs, who came running when I called them and ate from my hand. I’ve reluctantly accepted their fate, but the process is just plain sh*t. My plan is, to burn down the old virus-infested henhouse and wait for a year getting new chickens while building a beautiful new coop. On a different spot in our meadow. That I can stand up in. On a concrete floor. With running water and electricity. And a tiled roof, gutters and nice trimmings. With room for 4 large breed chickens and 1 massive rooster. That is my plan and my way to cope with what’s happening right now. I’ll send you a picture later ok?

  75. Lisa says:

    Excellent post! Very well said. Thank you for the wake up and inspiration!

  76. Mel Robicheau says:

    I’m going to start by saying that I have followed your blog since almost the beginning, I pin some of your posts and tell my friends about your blog all the time. Your blog is the only one where I’ve read every post and that I follow regularly. I love your humour, writing style and topics.

    I realize the point of this post was to be motivational and inspirational but instead it left me upset. I realize that wasn’t your intention. But I need to share my story because it is the story of many others.

    I literally ended 2016 on a stretcher because of a suicide attempt on New Year’s Eve due to being an “unhappy stay at home with no reason to be unhappy.”

    I do the therapy, I take the medication, I eat the healthy food, I cut the toxic people out of my life years ago, and I quit my job to have the job of my dreams, a mama. Sometimes it isn’t a choice to just be happy. Sometimes it is medical. Mental illness plagues many and they don’t get help because of the stigma. Because of things on the Internet telling them they should just be able to snap out of it and declutter, eat paleo, do the current fad workout and then they’ll be alright. Great, that works for 80% of people but for the 1 in 5 Canadians living with mental illness it is defeating and makes us feel shame when it doesn’t work for us. Because if it was a choice, I would choose happy. I would choose to not have a diagnosis of Bipolar II, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. These are mental illnesses that I work very hard to control but I will never just BE happy. Bipolar II is a brain deficiency where symptoms can be reduced with medication, therapy and lifestyle changes but I will still have illness, the depressions, just milder hopefully than the severe depression I’ve been in for months. I can’t just BE happy. For many of us with mental illness this is not our reality.

    And for for those angry or upset about my actions on New Year’s Eve, there was a point where I stopped washing the pills down with booze to call out for my amazing husband because in my unrational trapped choice to end my ongoing pain I remembered I didn’t kiss my kids one last time. I stopped. I’m still here working on it because I’m strong and a fighter and need to stay here for my kids and husband and to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. Depression lies. And this week when I got that low again I made the right choice and called a friend and left the kids with a relative. And maybe one day I’ll be okay with some happy.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mel. Thank you for telling your story! Part of the reason I did this post was because of Bell Let’s Talk day, which is coming up. When I said people should seek therapy it wasn’t a flip attempt to say you can go to therapy for a week and be happy. I was making the point that sometimes no matter what, you can’t make yourself happy. That you need therapy and medication. That you may have a mental illness you aren’t addressing. Trust me. I think EVERYONE should take care of their mental health and I tell more people than I probably should that they should get checked. This was definitely not meant to be a snap out of it post, it was meant to be a wake up call for people thinking that doing nothing was going to change anything. Doing nothing changes nothing. It was also meant to get people talking. Which you and others bravely did. 🙂 Thanks. ~ karen!

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