12 Steps to Living a Joyful Life

I would like to share what I have learned both in recovery and in the years since.

  1. If you have ghosts and goblins in your closet get them out, deal with them, empower yourself to be in charge, not them. Don’t sell yourself short. Forgive yourself.
  2. If you were abused as a child get started on recovery. REPAIR Your Life is a great book for those who were sexually abused. Unless your life is already joyful and you have no ghosts or goblins in your closet, work a rigorous and honest 12 step program.
  3. Once you find YOUR Higher Power, talk to Him, lean on Him, turn your worries over to Him.
  4. Find a life for yourself that includes both Pleasure and Purpose.
  5. To thine own self be true.
  6. Avoid toxic people and toxic situations.
  7. Conversely, fill your life with healthy people, loved ones, healthy situations and healthy choices.
  8. Think ahead. Plan ahead.
  9. Choose your battles wisely.
  10. Live each day to the fullest; notice everything, especially things of God (nature and all that is in it).
  11. Be tolerant, kind, understanding and wise. Put yourself in someone’s else’s shoes.
  12. Laugh a lot; don’t gossip negatively; be supportive of all those you love and their goals.

Based on these rules, today I am still the happiest person I know. I intend to keep it that way.

What I have learned on how to stay young, look young, feel young.

  • Bitterness creates lines and wrinkles. Laughter takes ten years off your face.
  • Let go of old hurts; you can’t go back and change them.
  • Watch intake of alcohol; don’t smoke; exercise daily; eat healthy.
  • Make healthy choices in entertainment.
  • Keep your posture correct; watch your weight; suck in that stomach.
  • If you keep dressing from the era when you were young people will always know how old you are. Stay with current styles (unless they are just so silly that they make you look that way) Stay with youthful hairdos.
  • Remember it’s not all about you; be a good listener. You might learn something.
  • Good skin care brings you younger looks. Keep your hands off your face.
  • Develop a healthy sense of humor.
  • Attitude! Attitude! Attitude! It affects your behavior in either a negative or positive way. Which one do you want?

Many years ago, I was at a wedding reception with my Finnish grandfather in Minnesota. In walked an elderly couple who were friends of his. The woman had hair so white it looked like newly fallen snow, eyes of brilliant blue that twinkled and shone with life. She wore a scarlet hat with a scarlet feather, a scarlet suit and scarlet shoes. Her name was Eve Young and her face had almost no lines. She walked with one hand behind her back as her husband, who was almost blind, clung to it while she walked across the room greeting people. I had never seen anyone so beautiful and can’t even remember what the bride looked like as I scarcely noticed her. Eve was 94 years old. I have never forgotten her.

Every age has its beauty.

For those females out there, I want to share something I read in an advertisement years ago:

How could you know

When you were twenty

And impossibly sexy,

And unable

To imagine yourself


That time

Would teach you something,

That age is not a loss,

But an exchange,

Of wisdom for youth,

Grace for foolishness,

Love for lust,

And it is an exchange,

That will seem

A very unfair trade

Not for the woman,

But for the girl.





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