I live in a very small condo. It’s in a fourplex building, part of a large condominium association. I moved there in 1998 with my sixteen year old son and a daughter. My husband and I had recently separated and I saw buying this little place as a step in being independent. It was small with a huge backyard. I thought I would live there for a few years, then move on to a bigger place. Eighteen and a half years later I am still in the second smallest place I have ever lived; and it’s the longest I have lived anywhere.

Since moving there, my husband and I have been remarried, my children have all moved out on their own, some have had children of their own, I have worked and retired, I have been present at the death of each of my parents, I have helped two of my children through divorces, and there have been many, many family gatherings in my tiny house. That little place has been full of life, love and laughter, a sure indication to me that the size of my dwelling has little to do with my happiness.

Now, I am not saying I wouldn’t enjoy a more spacious abode, and put it to good use. I am saying that my happiness does not depend on the size of my home. When I moved in there, I didn’t know that Rick and I would reunite or that our family would grow to include seventeen awesome grandchildren. But I have always known that I wanted my children to want to come to visit me, that it would be something they would happily anticipate. So I determined to make the atmosphere of my home as welcoming as possible, wherever it was or its size.

Life brings us so much, good and bad. You never know. Every one of us has such a variety of experiences. How we respond to them makes all the difference. Do we focus on the negative and so dim the glow of the happy things? Or do we strive to learn from the negative and bathe in the joy of the beauty that surrounds us and the good times? I choose the latter. That is the direction I have chosen to take. I consciously want to travel that road. Sometimes I find I have stepped onto the side of the road for a dark moment, but then I turn my face to the sun and move forward. Sometimes the steps are slow, but they pick up as I go. What’s important to me is that I maintain my direction.