Choosing to be happy in life

I don’t know if I have even mentioned this, but in the military, during a war in which I was a combatant, I was injured numerous times. The U.S. Air Force thought I was trying to avoid going into combat, even though I had already done that more than once, and so they refused me medical treatment. It took two years and a U.S. senator to get me into an Air Force hospital, where I stayed four months and had a couple surgeries. I guess I was not “faking” after all.

When I got out, the scars from those surgeries meant I could not be employed in America in any job that had insurance benefits. Okay, so I took whatever jobs I could get, started a couple of successful businesses, one of which paid my way through college. Yeah, they refused me GI Bill benefits for college, too.

During college, I had a cancer caused by exposure to dioxin. I paid for all of it. The Veterans Administration denied all of it.

After college, no job again with any company that offered insurance. This is after the Job Discrimination Act. I got a job with the State of Wisconsin, which does not discriminate. I worked until my military injuries forced me to quit.

Meanwhile, a friend who was a paralegal fought the Veterans Administration on my behalf for three years, producing “evidence” that my injuries were indeed from the military. Thirty-six years to get a settlement. Wow, zip, flash!

I will say that once I was in the Veterans Affairs’ health system, the care and treatment have been wonderful. It is just getting into the system that takes a magician and a lawyer.

Now I could go on but you should have gotten the point by now. Bad stuff happens to people. It happened to me. The thing is, after all of that, I do not consider myself a victim. And that puts me in the majority of Americans who face bad things and overcome them. Many times, on their own. We succeed because we want to.

But today I see a minority who really seem to want to be victims. They may or may not have an actual grievance, but a grievance is just what they want. They embrace it. It is who they are.

Now, you have to ask, “Why?” Let’s face it, the game of life is not fair. So you deal with it. Some of us are going to have to do more than others. So what? Just please, do not let a pain or a misfortune determine who you are.

Only you can decide, so why not decide to be happy no matter what? Even though it is a forced smile, you just might succeed while wearing it.

Okay, I am done for now. Enjoy spring — if they have that planned for this year.


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