04/29/2013 12:24 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2013

Happiness Is the Simple Things in Life

We hear this all the time: Pay attention to the small stuff -- the flowers blooming, the sunset, a rainbow. Be happy you're healthy. Be happy you can walk, talk, run, and breathe. That's really what it's all about. We may have loftier goals and want other things in our lives, but if these things are missing, the rest actually doesn't count.

For the most part, I do live my own life in this way, but not to the extreme point that my friend Shari does, and I marvel at her joy in the simple things every time I'm with her.

I met Shari when I was 10 years old (and as I've said in other blogs, I'm now in my 40s, so it's a long and close connection). We've been through many trials and tribulations in our lives. She's stayed consistent through it all, with the ability to always be joyful. If she's breathing when she wakes up each day, she says thank you and is happy.

Last year, everyone in New York City was in a panic when we were warned about Hurricane Irene. Shari's comment to me was, "You know what? I'm not going to evacuate. I mean, I don't want to die, but if I did, I know I've done everything I wanted to do. Yeah, I could have another slice of pizza, but I just had pizza. I would die happy." And she meant it.

Last week, Shari was marveling at the beautiful lobby when we were at Radio City Music Hall. I wasn't even noticing it. At one point, she said to the man we were buying water from, "It's so beautiful here. You are so lucky to be working here. Do you feel so lucky every day?" Sometimes, I don't know where she comes from!

Shari's often said to me -- knowing that no matter what I accomplish, I'm always going after the next goal -- "Can't you just be happy with what you have? Your life is so good, why can't this be it?" She's simpler, more easily satisfied, and entirely happy with the choices she's made in life. And this has always been a natural part of her -- no therapy needed (not to paint a picture of a Pollyanna... she has other things she does work on!). But this quality of hers is, I think, the most important one for people to possess: the ability to notice the beauty of life, be happy in their choices, and be thankful for their health. Honestly, if I could bottle up this part of Shari, I would no longer have a business (or I'd be a heck of a lot richer from being able to sell it)!

For more by Dr. Debbie Magids, click here.

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