Disabled and Thriving

Overcoming obstacles in an able-bodied world.

How To: Live A Happy Life

Follow these tips for happy living.

It's not a regular occurrence that I find myself on the other side of the interview table; being a journalist, I'm usually the one asking the questions, not answering them.

So I was pleasantly surprised when a fellow blogger asked for my opinion and tips on living a full life.

Me? Did she really think I was that knowledgeable to give any sort of advice? I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a wee young girl with only 28 years of life under her belt, and besides, I'd never lived a "normal" life anyway. I'm not sure I even had any wisdom to give. I had lots of stories, sure. But wisdom? I didn't think I quite qualified.

Well, apparently, this blogger did. I thought long and hard and came up with these "Melissa-isms" to living a happy and fulfilling life.

What's your secret? I'd love to hear it, and even feature your advice in a future post!

Make it a great day or not - the choice is yours
My mother is a sixth-grade teacher, and a few years ago, the school principal began saying this every morning at the end of the morning announcements. I scoffed at it for years, but it really does make sense. We sometimes can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. Don't let people - or situations - bog you down unnecessarily. In the end, it's just not worth it.

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Surround yourself with the people (and cats!) you love
I've been blessed with an incredibly supportive group of family and friends. They've stuck by me. I know everyone says this, but I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for my mother. She's been an incredible rock of love, support and comfort. I'm amazed at how she does it sometimes. And, of course, our two beautiful cats, Harry (the orange tabby), and Stella make every day an adventure for us.

Keep going in the face of adversity
Having a physical disability (Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome), I've faced some pretty tough times. I've had 27 surgeries, been hospitalized more times than I can count and could probably recall every medication I've ever taken. But you know what? Those moments, even the ones where I felt hopeless and frustrated and "just wanted to be like everyone else," pushed me even harder to keep going. I was determined to live my life and wasn't going to let my disability stop me.

Write for you
I graduated college in 2005 with a major in journalism. I've always loved writing and the power of creative expression. My mom claims I wrote my first beautiful piece, a poem, in third grade. Writing has a way of being very therapeutic for me. I've been able to put my story, my life, on paper and not be afraid of what people will think when they read it. There's something incredibly freeing about that. I've made a vow with myself that I won't shy away from anything in my writing, remain true to myself and above all, write with honesty.

Melissa Blake is a normal 20-something living with an abnormal disorder.

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