Month: July 2017

Permission to be Happy

HappyI Was Miserable

Approximately two years ago, I was miserable. Not happy at all. Of course, we all go through bad days or periods. We all suffer, and the suffering I’ve been through is hardly the worst that exists.

But what made my suffering so potent was how inescapable it felt. I had resolved in my mind that this was just the way it was going to be. The way I felt then was the way I would always feel. Some days would be worse, but there was a baseline misery I would never exceed.

Sure, I could fool almost anyone some of the time. If I wanted to appear joyous, my top notch acting skills kicked into gear. But I could never fool myself. I knew how I truly felt. I knew what my heart was experiencing. And I grew to believe that this was just the way it was and would always be.

I stopped believing that I deserved to be happy.

And one day…

And one day something clicked. One day I wanted more. I realize that everyone, including me, had the God given right to be happy. But some things had to change, and they had to change immediately or who knew if I’d ever again gain the motivation to do what was necessary. And a long process began, one replete with ups and downs, and one that is by no means over.

The way I look at it now is so simple, at least on paper: Happiness is a choice. We control our own emotional wellbeing, and no external source makes the decision for us. There are many who have suffered unimaginably, but chose to remain happy nevertheless. However, not all of us are that powerful. Not all of us can find it within ourselves to fight back against the impediments in our lives standing in the way of true joy.

But we do all have the choice to remove those impediments, so that we are more free to choose to be happy.

I Chose to be Happy

And so my process began. I removed the impediments I could not overcome, and I started the process of moving toward a life of happiness, constant and overwhelming joy.

I’m not there yet. It’s a long journey. But I’m so grateful I finally gave myself permission to head down that road.

We should be blessed to understand that we all deserve to be happy, to have the will to strive to be happy, and to have the strength to remove any roadblocks that stand in our way.

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Posted by jaffeworld in divorce, opinion, 4 comments
40th Birthday: Oh Crap, It Happened

40th Birthday: Oh Crap, It Happened

40thMy 40th Birthday rolled around…

I have been procrastinating starting this blog for many, many months now. Sadly, my mind tricked me in innumerable ways to delay myself from hitting the keyboard. The most convincing method was telling myself that I needed to find the right moment or milestone to propel me to get my thoughts down on paper. And here I sit, tired next to my dog Frankie, a tad lonely on my 40th birthday, saying to myself, “If I don’t start now, I probably never will.”

So I’m 40 now. Despite every mental effort I could muster up, it happened anyway.

And those 40 years are nothing if not endless thoughts, endless musings on why things have happened in my life. I can’t keep them straight, and I can’t keep them bottled up inside.

I originally named my blog “Return to Israel”, since eight months ago I moved back to this wacky country after being away for eleven years. This return is one of countless transitions I’ve gone through in the past few years, including an intense divorce and an intimidating career switch.

Twenty years ago I moved to Israel with starry eyes. I wanted to be in my ancestral homeland, to be in the place that God Himself promised to my people. I was excited and so proud, and for years I loved every minute of my time here. However, eight years later I left with a nasty taste in my mouth, one that’s quite hard to describe, but one that only got stronger with each passing year. I left thinking I’d be back in one or two years; within a decade, I had lost all interest.

So why am I here?

It’s quite simple math. My children moved here with their mother a year before me. And despite the comfortable and fulfilling life I had built for myself in the States, it reeked of emptiness being so far from my beautiful children.

And here I stand. I’m 40 now. It happened. Despite disbelief that it could, and despite all efforts to prevent it from happening, I’m 40. I am rebuilding my life from scratch, in a land so familiar yet so foreign to me, trying to figure things out. I’m trying to start over. And the most healing thing I can think of is to attempt to get my thoughts and feelings out into the open.

Please join me in my journey. It will be a bumpy ride, sometimes bitter and angry, sometimes hopeful or even hysterical. I’m writing things down one way or the other. I’d be honored if you’d like to hear what I have to say.

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Posted by jaffeworld in humor, opinion, personal story, 3 comments