There are hundreds of thousands of searches on the internet every month for the phrase “how to be happy“.
I know this because a few years ago, I was on the brink of starting an inspirational blog with two of my friends and one evening I found myself digging through the annals of Google’s keyword planner tool.
My friends were eager to know how and when we were going to make money from this endeavor. But I told them I was wary of thinking too deeply about monetization at that stage because the topic was happiness and I knew happiness was not something that could be bought.
My friends bowed out quickly because for them no promise of money meant no commitment.
That was cool with me though. It’s a few years later and I’m now doing this.
I remember what I thought happiness looked like before I was actually happy.
I envisioned leaping out of bed every morning in my perfect house with my perfect husband and our well-behaved children. As we ate breakfast our infectious Brady Bunch smiles would fill up our sunlit kitchen.
But… I don’t leap out of bed every morning.
In fact, I’d rather lounge for 15 minutes, enjoy a moment of quiet and pretend my kids aren’t circling around me like hawks asking for all kinds of fruits and cookies. There’s no house or husband yet and my life isn’t picture perfect by societal standards.
But… I’m still happy.
I have love in my life and I love everything I do.
So how did I get here?
It started fours years ago.
I was broke, just had a newborn baby and was experiencing a bit of postpartum depression that was exacerbated by the other stressors in my life. All I could think about was the fact that I didn’t want to put my 6-week old in daycare so I could go back to work full-time.
It didn’t make sense to me anymore.
Working so hard just to pay for my fancy townhome, working just to pay for an expensive daycare to ‘raise’ my kids and then working just to pay the bills.
What satisfaction was I getting out of all this?
It was a never-ending revolving door and I was sick of it. At this low point, I questioned,
“What is life really about?
And it was then I made a choice. I decided I could no longer sell myself short of the life I deserved. Regardless if it looked rough for a few years, I was going to figure it out.
This isn’t the story of how I went from 0 to 100k in 3 months, it’s the story of how I started to take small steps to live the life I truly wanted.
I didn’t put my newborn in daycare that year.
I found one low-paying job online, started it, got a roommate and then a few months later found a higher paying remote job with flexible hours.
I’ve been working remotely ever since.
I homeschool my kids and we spent 2017 living abroad in Costa Rica.
That’s not normal.
My life is not normal.
And I’m not knocking anyone with a “normal” life, whatever makes someone happy is very individualistic. But I do think a lot of people are doing the things they don’t want because they don’t think they can achieve the things they actually want.
I had an extraordinary year in 2017 on a $1200/month budget and I’m about to do it again in a few months.
Look, I certainly don’t have it all figured out and to a large degree, I’m still trying to find myself.
But the main reason I am happy is because I made a choice to live life on my own terms.
I don’t see the alternative as an option anymore. If I reach a roadblock I look hard and deep for the solution and in all cases thus far there has been one. It’s just a matter of how diligently I want to work to keep my freedom and my freedom has always been worth it.
If I have to make a choice, I’m choosing happiness first.
Thank you for reading
We talked about happiness on the podcast today. If you loved this post, you might enjoy this too. Be sure to let me know your thoughts =)
For Part I ofHow I Found Out Happiness a Choice click here