"Are You Happy?"

My girl friends and I have this inside joke. We're major foodies and when we come across a delicious meal or dessert, we wait until everyone's gotten a bite before asking with sincerity and delight: "Are you happy?"

It started innocently enough over savory garlic shrimp and has now morphed into our signature dining-out tagline. But aside from appreciating a great meal and realizing how food can in many ways be balm for the soul, I realized that I have a lot to be happy about this year.

The start of the year began dismally when I lost my uncle and aunt to cancer within months of each other. It wasn't the best start of the new year and though the year was filled with many other challenges, it helped me put a lot of myself and my goals into prospective. I realized it was okay to take risks, to follow your dreams. This life we have is not only fleeting but it's also unpredictable so do what makes you happy.

I managed to do a lot of that this year, and have met a lot of wonderful people in the process without losing sight of who I am and what matters most. My journey to becoming a prolific author is important to me but so is my family and friends. I make sure to pick up every call or return every message and make time to have a meal with my friends. It may pull me away from that great scene I was in the middle of but I make up for it in the new memories I create with those who are most important to me.

Am I am?

Oh yes, I'm happy. =)