03/07/2013 12:56 pm ET Updated May 07, 2013

Another Year, Another Birthday, Another Wish

Whether atop a cake, cookie, or stack of pancakes -- when I blow out candles celebrating another 365 days of my existence, my birthday wish is always the same: to be happy.

This may sound silly, or even simple (and now that I've revealed it, un-superstitious). As I approach the next year of my life, I've been reflecting on how much things have changed for me in the past 12 months, and what has (and hasn't) brought me happiness.

I've moved, not once, but twice. I've changed careers, met some cool people. I've made some questionable dating choices (who hasn't, honestly?), and I even visited Minnesota (random, I know).

Throughout my year of adventures -- some more strenuous, laughable and peculiar than others -- I've realized the all-too-clichéd truth: You make your own happiness.

If you don't like where you're living (or who you're living with), move. If your job inspires thoughts of jumping out a window, look for a new one (a job, that is -- not a window). If the guy or girl you're dating is making you miserable, please note that there are 7 billion people in the world (some more tolerable than others), and this person may not be (ahem, isn't) the one. And, lastly, if you have the opportunity, travel. It makes life interesting (like visiting the HGTV shop and theme park within Mall of America. It's actually fun).

Sure, we all have restrictions. Not everyone can uproot their lives and move. I, for one, am allergic to holding a residence in New Jersey. (I kid... I adore Hoboken.) But, on a serious note, if you don't like the way things are, there are changes that can be made to improve your quality of life (I may suggest purchasing a Clarisonic Aria or visiting the bubbly baristas at David's Tea).

So, instead of crossing my fingers, tossing spare change into a fountain or blowing out another year's worth of birthday candles atop a tasty treat (hint, hint: a 16 Handles Froyo cake), I've made a resolution: Instead of hoping for happiness, I will continue to make more of it, on my own.

Within my year of milestones, I've confirmed that it's easy to want things and a tad more difficult to work for them. Perhaps this epiphany is part of growing old, and more importantly, growing up.

I have no doubt that the next year will bring additional insanity -- the good, the bad and the weird. Fortunately, by retracting my former wish, I now have room to ask for something else... and so much to look forward to.

For more by Hilary Sheinbaum, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.