Don’t Worry, Be Happy

By Amari D. Pollard

When I go to the weight room to train for lacrosse there’s always a list of exercises we have to do, and somehow at seven in the morning we’re expected to complete each task with purpose, with energy. Except that, early in the morning I rarely have enough drive to blink, but somehow I manage to slam that medicine ball against the wall—probably because I channel all the anger I have inside me.

And that’s usually not hard. All I have to do is think of all the other kids on campus sleeping in their beds while I sweat at an ungodly hour; or the people getting tan in California while I’m perpetually frozen and begin to forget what the warmth of the sun feels like; or how empty my bank account is.

But something has changed. Whenever I try to conjure my frustrations and throw them at the wall, I oddly feel nothing . . . except contentment.

For the past how many years my mom has been talking to me incessantly about positive energy. “Just put positive energy out into the world and it will come back to you, Amari,” “Our intentions create our reality, Amari,” “New attitude invariably creates a new attitude, Amari.” Blah, blah, blah. And normally I just ignore her, but recently I’ve begun to think she may know what she’s talking about, or at least the self-help books she reads do.

Did you ever realize how easy it is to be happy? Like, just wake up in the morning and tell yourself it’s going to be a good day. I mean, how could it not be when you get the chance to wake up. I think we just allow ourselves to get too bothered by work and school and responsibilities and trivial things, so we begin to forget what it’s like to loosen up and just enjoy life.

Instead of focusing on the things that you think make your life more difficult, try taking a step back and re-evaluating them. Think about how things could be, and how they are, and learn to be grateful and happy about that.

At least that’s what I try to do.

This year my lacrosse team was lucky enough to get the opportunity to  “adopt” a young girl named Lauren through Team Impact. At 18 months Lauren was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in the nerve tissue, and for basically her life she has been battling cancer and the effects of treatment. I have learned so much from Lauren in the time my team has gotten to spend with her, and I am continually amazed by the cheerfulness she radiates, despite all she has had to endure.

I think the real accomplishment in life is finding a way to be happy through all the bad, through all the hurt and all the disappointment—to somehow find a way to smile. Because while there is a lot to be sad about, there is so much more to smile about.

Photo courtesy of


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