Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to participate in the retirement ceremony of a friend, mentor, and shipmate by the name of Commander Scott Fields. Scott is a wonderful man who is generous, sincere and caring among many other positive attributes. Yesterday, he demonstrated his eloquence, humility, and love for those of us in his life. There is much I will remember about my time sharing an office with Scott, but the one thing I will never forget is the enthusiasm with which he continues to embrace life. Each morning he would ask those he encountered in the passageway on the way to his cubicle, “Do you know what I did this morning?” to which the trained response is “You woke up and chose to be happy.” This was and continues to be one of Scott’s trademarks. If you were to ask anyone who has had the privilege of serving with Scott throughout his 31-year naval career, they would know of this daily dialogue.

At an early age, Scott realized happiness is a choice, as are so many other things in life. Some of us have to work harder than others to convince ourselves to choose happiness given the cards we have been dealt, while others don’t have to give it any thought, it’s a reflexive action. Like many, I know more than a few people who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses of late. If there ever is a test of one’s ability to make happiness their choice, receiving such news is that test. Recently, a childhood friend, Erik Lemoine, passed away from Malignant Metastatic Melanoma. He kept a public online journal of his battle and in doing so helped so many to see the brighter side of life and embrace the moment. Prior to his death, he wrote his final message (shared below) which was used to notify those who loved him of his passing. Truly a remarkable man, he left us with a final post…

Let us remember
the smiling,
the laughing,
the talking,
the sharing,
the caring,
and the loving.
Let us remember the good times — always.
– Erik Jon Lemoine (13 JAN 1973 – 01 NOV 2009)

As we go through life, let us choose to be happy just as Scott does. And let us smile, laugh, talk, share, care and love so we can follow Erik’s lead and remember the good times as we near the end of our journey or witness a loved one do the same. Thank you both Scott and Erik for helping to keep everything in perspective.

  • Do you make it point to choose how you feel?
  • How prevalent is happiness in your life?
  • When it’s all said and done, what will you remember?