Are You Really Happy? Or Just Pretending?

Are you just an actor in this play we call life? That may sound a little heavy, but here’s what I’m really asking: Are you truly living life or just playing the role of a bit part? Are you really happy?

I’m going to venture to say that there are two types of people in this world: those that fake it, or pretend their way through life, and those that are real and get the most out of every minute of every day.

Many of us are some combination of the two. But to truly find happiness in life, we all need to shift away from the “pretender” in us and towards the “non-pretender.”

Start by asking yourself which of the two categories below you seem to gravitate towards now. And be honest. No one is listening.

The Pretenders

You might be a pretender if….

• You often take the path of least resistance and tell others what they want to hear.

• You are more worried about hurting someone’s feelings than actually helping those in need.

• You value all the trappings of success — a beautiful house, family and life.

• You prioritize the external appearance of your life over the internal reality of it.

The Non-Pretenders

You might be a non-pretender if…

• You may not always tell people what they want to hear, but will instead tell them what they need to hear.

• You place your emphasis on providing a helping hand to those in need, and show compassion by being forthright about a situation or circumstance, whatever, it may be.

• You put your emphasis on faith, family and friends above all else.

• You measure life based on the intangibles — like relationships, happiness and time — over any material object or thing.   

So Are You Really Happy?

As you’ve probably guessed by now, pretenders tend to look happy, but they’re generally not. Non-pretenders, on the other hand, often don’t care how they appear to others. What they care about is how they feel inside. Are they happy? Are they helping others? Are they enjoying each and every day? Do they go to sleep at night with a sense of inner peace: that what they did today made their lives, and the world as a whole, a better place?

If you’re already in the non-pretender camp, then wonderful. Are you really happy? Probably. But if you’re more “pretender” than you’d like to be, now’s your chance to take a good, hard look at your life. And maybe make some changes that will truly pay off in the long run.

Love: How to Show Love to Those Around You

How to Show Love When Life is Hard

Cancer affects every part of your life, changing the way you see the world and affecting your relationships. For some, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to support someone you love who is battling cancer, especially when a cancer patient is so devastated by the diagnosis that they withdraw from family and friends. For the cancer patient and their family, it can seem like the world is falling apart. But it doesn’t take grand gestures to support a cancer patient and their family. Sometimes, small acts of kindness can show how much you care and that you are there for someone in their time of need, whether it is cancer or some other life changing event. 

Talk About Something Else

Just because someone is battling cancer, or going through some kind of difficulty, doesn’t mean they want to talk about that struggle all the time. Everyone can use a mental break from the things that weigh heavily on us, so talk about something else with your friend or family member. Talk about sports, a favorite book or a movie. 


No one expects you to understand what they are going through. So when someone wants to vent about how they feel, just listen. Getting something off our chest can make a world of a difference to how we feel, at least for a little while. Don’t give advice and you don’t always have to offer positive messages. Sometimes a reassuring squeeze of the hand after a venting session is all they need. Your presence alone can show someone that you love them

Small Acts of Kindness

One of the surest ways to warm someone’s heart when they are feeling down is to do a small act of kindness for them. Whether it is washing the dishes, running a quick errand to the store or making lunch from them, it really is the little things that count. 

Radiate Positive Energy

For someone going through hard times, it is important to fill their environment with positive energy. This doesn’t mean avoiding negative things going on in your life or constantly showering them with cards. Rather, give gentle words of encouragement and smile. A smile is a great way to show someone a little love and to lift their spirits. 

Laughter is Good Medicine

Maybe we aren’t all amazing comedians but we can bring a smile to the face of someone we love with a corny joke, a funny memory or doing something silly together. Taking the time to focus on bringing a smile to someone else’s face shows you care about their happiness.

The Person Under the Pain

Don’t forget that there is still a person there under all that pain. Cancer and other diagnosis can change the way a person looks. It is important that you look past the physical changes and remind them that they are still the same person that you love. Perhaps tell them that are still beautiful or handsome to you.  

By doing little things, you can show someone that you care. And when we show we care about someone, we are sending them our love. We are telling them that we are here for them, no matter what. 

The Grass Is Always Greener… or Is It?

I want to change things up a little bit for this blog. This poem was written April 2019 to capture the harsh realities associated with a divorce.

All couples experience challenging times in their relationship. Just because a relationship is going through a rough patch, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that life would be better if the relationship was over. 

Now, I’m not saying that every couple should stay together regardless of the circumstances. Plenty of couples would probably be happier and better off if they weren’t together. But it’s human nature for individuals to think that things would be better (and the grass would be greener) if they found a new partner, got a new job, or moved to a new house. And often that desire to chase something … anything … is more about the person and less about the situation.

So as the poem’s closing states…the grass may appear, but is not always greener on the other side…and sometimes the grass is pretty darn green where you are.

The Wars We Wage

An impenetrable bond
That once encased two hearts
Is now in a state of disarray
Shattered and torn apart

And when the warring factions
Placed their battlements on the ground
Little was left standing
A familiar world turned upside down

Looking over the battlefield
Where both sides were engaged
Remained relics of the bitterness
From which this uncivil war was waged

And now the spoils from the victory
Seem hardly worth the cost
When considering the sheer magnitude
Of personal and financial loss

So, the lesson that can be taken
And one should keep in mind
The grass may appear, but is not always
Greener on the other side

Written by: Frank Antonicelli
April 2019

New Year Goals: Setting Your Sights on 2020

On March 13, 2019, I published my first blog post, aptly titled…”Why blog?” As I said in this first post, I had resisted prior suggestions to “start blogging” but I felt the time was right for me in 2019. (As an FYI, this is the 35th blog posting on this site.) So now’s the time to ask … What are my new year goals for 2020?

What This Blog Is and Was

Going into 2019, I said that I would write about subjects that were universal in nature. I also said that I wanted the messages to be positive, motivational and authentic. I hoped that the topics would be inspirational, while staying far away from controversial subjects such as politics and religion. I believe that we have successfully achieved these objectives.

I wanted to create a conversational writing style so readers felt like they were sitting around the kitchen table with a group of friends discussing topics of the day. I believe that we have created this type of forum, as well.

All in all, I think I have met my new year goals for 2019 as it relates to this blog.

And I want to offer a special thanks to all my “teammates” in creating and maintaining this blog throughout 2019: Karin Bilich, Chris Cockreham, Valerie Morris and Mike Lazear. They are an all-star team.

New Year Goals for 2020

Now, as another year winds down, it’s customary for many, including myself, to reflect on the past and begin to envision where they see themselves in the New Year.

I’m going to leave the year in review up to the readers and focus instead on questions for readers to assess going into 2020.

• Where do you see yourself in the New Year?

• Do you have a clear vision for the upcoming year?

• Do you have clarity of purpose for the New Year?

• Is your path for the future crystal clear?

• Do you envision a bright future?

Your answers to these questions should help to bring 2020 into focus for you…pun intended! ; )

As for myself, I actually plan to start a second blog in 2020. It will be similar in its conversational tone and its hope to uplift and inspire others. But it will focus on my Parkinson’s and what I’ve learned from that journey. If you’re interested in following me there as well, sign up here.

Wishing all a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous 2020! May all your new year goals come to fruition.