In Waiting to Exhale,
Terry McMillan introduced readers to four young African-American women trying to negotiate life and love. In her new book, her eighth, she reveals, in her characteristic don't-you-dare-feel-sorry-for-yourself way, how the women have fared over the past 15 years. The book is called Getting to Happy
(Viking)—a journey McMillan, a single mother who weathered a bruising divorce from a younger man, knows plenty well. We asked her to give us some insight into how she got herself on the right road. 1.
At one time, my anger felt like a termite eating away at my best self. So whenever I started clenching my teeth or thinking ugly things, I put the brakes on. 2.
I made a conscious decision to start exercising
, writing, meditating
, and spending time with friends—and slowly my morale changed colors. I had been living like I was navy blue and started feeling pastels again. 3.
I realized I am just as good standing alone as I am standing next to someone. No one can make you happier than you make yourself. 4.
I began jumping up early in the morning to write so I could live inside my characters and not think about my own problems. 5.
I remind myself that I am the architect of my life. To renovate my heart I have to go back to the drafting table. Next: 10 ways to increase your happiness