There are so many things I could say in this blog post, but I think I will just highlight the major epiphanies I have had over the last year or two.
I am currently on the quest for true happiness. Who isn’t right? What I have learned is that you can have everything that you thought you ever wanted like cars, houses, money, purses, vacations, etc but if you are not happy with who you are as a person, then those things will never bring you happiness. Now I know that I am not the first person to state this, and I know I certainly wont be the last. I have to ask this question- Why does it take us so long to learn this important lesson? So many people before us have spoken these pearls of wisdom, yet many of us still feel the need to “Keep up with Jones’s”. We live in a society where we think we have to have all of these toys and labels, to ensure that we have heightened our social status.
This was probably the longest lesson I have ever had to learn, and trust me I learned it the hard way. I have spent 25 plus years, working mostly 12 hour days. I have financed, re-financed, made payments on cars, boats, trailers, and credit cards. I ended up losing most of what I acquired in the past few years after a string of family illnesses, a significant and tragic death of a loved one, house floods, a house fire that took away my secondary source of income after my divorce, and many other unforeseen events. These significant moments eventually led to a three year battle with severe anxiety, depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I spent so much time, effort, and energy buying these “things” and in what felt like a fleeting moment, it was all gone.
I look back now and know that I barely even got to enjoy any of the things that I had acquired, or celebrate in any of my successes. I was working so hard and trying to keep up with what everyone else was doing, that there was barely anytime to go on that boat, or take my trailer on a road trip. I placed value on objects and possessions instead of focusing on what really made me happy.
I realize now it is the simplest things that make me feel genuinely happy. Here is a list of just some of the few things that can make my day 💕
- Reading a great book on a rainy Sunday
- Listening to a great guitar player
- Random road trips with my kids
- Finding a comfortable bra
- Sleeping beside someone you truly love and feeling safe
- A Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks
- Hearing “I love you” from the people you care about
- Helping others
- Making small goal lists and getting them done
- Educating youth
- Having a great conversation
- Making someone laugh
- Being creative
- Repurposing just about anything
- Watching people enjoy my cooking
- Saying “Hi” to random strangers
The list could go on and on. The common theme here is that I had the ability to be happy all along. I could have spent the last 20 years working less, doing more, and spending more time with my family and friends.
I spent so much of my earnings on house repairs, maintenance, property taxes, renovations, and in the end I have nothing to show for it. I look back now and wish I would have spent more time traveling and seeing the world. I wish I would have spent less hours at work, and more time outside with my kids. One of my favorite quotes is “Every Passing Moment is a chance to turn it all around” from the film Vanilla Sky. This quote was written by Writer/Director Cameron Crowe and it has always stuck with me. Every time I reflect on the past and ponder- “What if I would have done…..?” I think back to this quote and know that it is not too late to have the life and happiness that I have been seeking. I have had it all along, I was just too caught up to realize it and didn’t place value on what is truly important.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I have learned so much about life, but mostly I have learned more about myself over the past few years. Maybe I needed these experiences so that I could grow as a person. It is a hard lesson to learn, but I know as I move forward in life, that I will be able to experience life to the fullest. I am no longer chasing after things that will not fulfill me as a person. I have more gratitude, more patience, and a better understanding of who I am.
I still battle with anxiety and depression, but it’s getting better as I take a step back and see clearly now, that life truly is what you make it. We don’t have to be perfect, we don’t have “things” to be whole, and we define our own happiness.