I just have to take a moment to say how much I love this woman. I mean LOVE her! I’d tell you how far back our friendship goes, but that (and a cursory check of Wikipedia) would destroy any illusion you may have of me being in my late 20’s. Suffice it to say she’s been there for me for a long, LONG time. The last couple of years have been nothing short of trying for her but she did what she’s always done; put her head down and just got it done. I’m impressed by her strength, even the times she doesn’t feel it herself. Read more about my friend Elisa and if you’d like to take part in our exercise, drop us a line; we’ll get the questions right out to you.

Are you happy at the moment?

I don’t know if I can answer this question. Right now? Ten minutes from now? Yesterday? I confess my mood swings with events in my life.  But basically yes, I know I have good health and a good partner, but here’s the hitch: as I say this I know these things can be taken away from me and that makes me fearful and unhappy.  A little crazy maybe?

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Be nicer to your mother, she’s doing the best she can, she doesn’t live in your world and she has her own worries. Also, it’s going to be okay.  You’ll grow up, get married, have a family, go on vacations, make your own choices, etc.  Examine your choices well, then make a decision you can live with. Also your mother was right, you should have taken Spanish, not French.  You’re going to live in Spanish speaking areas, what are you thinking?

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

I have good friends I can rely on when things get difficult. I need my friends. People are good if you give them a chance to be good. Also invest in yourself.  Don’t just save for a rainy day, prepare yourself so the rainy days will be few.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

A full-time job that I like with benefits, so I can provide for myself and my daughter.  I’d also love to learn more.

What’s your secret to happiness?

I practice yoga as often as possible. It’s not a secret at all, and sometimes I get more out of it than at other times. When I depend on myself to achieve more I usually do.  I ask for strength. It’s the best gift I could ask for.  Also, I try to appreciate my blessings.  A warm home when it’s cold out is as much as anyone could ask for. Food when you’re hungry. The feel of my sleeves protecting my arms against the cold.  The softness of the fabric.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Going back to yoga, see above. But I’ve been known to not stick with things, so fear of not going back is there.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not learning more when I had the opportunity to do so.  Not studying harder.

 What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

Depend on yourself.  No one else is a reliable as you are.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Fear and procrastination.

 Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

Getting out and doing.  Moving away from the security of home.  Taking chances.

 When were you happiest?

Goo goo, gaga.  It’s easy to say childhood is happy, but it’s not without its faults.  You’re not in charge of your own destiny.  You don’t make choices for yourself about where you live, who you associate with, what you do, when you do it.  I’m happiest when I make my own good decisions.

What ten words best describe you?

 Scared, *stronger-than-I-think, happy, smart, funny, naive, curious, content, restless, *rule-breaker.

*I realize there are more words here, but several needed to convey a single feeling in this case, also see number ten.

Elisa Robin Malinovitz has been a television weather anchor and news reporter for more than 25 years. She’s worked for television stations in Dallas, Cleveland, Austin, and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  She’s currently divorcing her husband of more than 20 years and reawakening the desire to depend on herself.