Essays inspiration life Making Changes motivation musings reflections

Take My Right Knee

Nature persistently taps me on the back with subtle hints on how to live a happier, more fulfilled life.

As my sixty-fourth birthday approaches, the hints are becoming less subtle.

Take my right knee, for example. It’s falling apart. The cartilage in the joint has moved out. Arthritis has moved in. The good news is that I’ve found a skilled surgeon who can repair my knee with an artificial joint. Still, I must not allow this newfound hope to obscure the lesson available to me from this latest brush with nature.

As I watch my body deteriorate, I must constantly remind myself that no matter how much I exercise, eat right, think positively, love my wife and daughter, and take care of my 90 year-old mother, I am not getting any younger.

The time to be happy is right now.

The thing is, I don’t want to settle for just a little happiness. I want to be really happy. I want to, believe it or not, live in joy. It’s something I’ve put off for long enough.

About twenty-five years ago, a friend introduced me to a teacher who helped me to find joy within myself.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t taken full advantage of the opportunity. You might say I’ve been playing a game of hide and seek with my capacity to feel joy for most of my life.

In a sense, I’ve made of habit of putting my happiness on hold by making other things in my life more important—like my desire to write ten best-selling novels, or to sell my latest screenplay to Miramax Studios, or to make a quarter-of-a-million dollars in real estate commissions in a single year. It’s not that these pursuits are unworthy goals. The problem is, I made them the number one priority in my life, rather than making peace and joy the number one priority.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve experienced more than my share of joy, peace, and love in my life, thanks especially to the unique inner experience my teacher revealed to me. It just could have been more consistent. My teacher has taught me that happiness is an art. I want to become an accomplished artist in the field of happiness.

I only hope this moment of clarity lasts. From now on, I’m determined to harvest every last droplet of joy that comes my way…before my left knee gives out.


By David Gittlin

I’ve written three feature length screenplays, produced two short films, and published ten novels. Before quitting my day job, I spent more than thirty years as a marketing director building expertise in advertising, copywriting, corporate communications, collateral sales materials, website content/design and online marketing.

For more information about my novels, please visit

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