Paint a picture in your mind of what your perfect life would look like (no, really… DO IT!). Imagine the type of environment you’d be living in, the type of work you’d be doing, the type of people you’d be surrounding yourself with, the types of experiences you’d be having.
Would you be living near the beach? Can you feel the sand underneath your feet, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of the waves gliding up the shore, the gentle breeze blowing through your hair?
Would you be living in the country? Can you see the gently rolling hills, the edible garden bursting with vibrant colors and flavors, the light scent of blossoming flowers, the soft rustling of the leaves on nearby trees, the sound of excited clucks coming from the chickens as they meander through the pasture and discover tasty treats?
Would you be going off on adventures and documenting your experiences for your next book? Would you be cooking up tasty creations for your own web-based cooking show or blog? Would you be teaching yoga classes in your own studio? Would you be creating beautiful and thought-provoking works of art? Would you be crafting away and selling your handmade innovations all over the world and bringing smiles to others’ faces?
Now, think of your life as it is right now. Is your current life anything like your dream life?
If you’re like most people, probably not.
Many of us were taught that, when we grow up, we’re supposed to get jobs and work hard and that it doesn’t matter what you want to do – you just need to do something to pay the bills. Something logical. Responsible. Stable. We often carry these thoughts with us as we age (whether we’re conscious of them or not) and we just succumb to the fact that this is just how it is.
We settle in many areas of life, thinking this is good enough for now.
But, what if settling for things that you don’t really want is preventing you from having the things that light up your heart and attracting more of what you don’t want into your life?
When you settle for just ok, over time, you end up being irritable, frustrated, resentful… and, like a snowball rolling down a freshly blanketed hill of snow, the negativity in your life grows bigger and bigger (and bigger), until, soon enough, you’re no longer recognizable. You find yourself bitching more than smiling, you’re snapping at people constantly, and your health goes to hell in a hand basket.
You know how I know all of this? I’ve been there.
For 4 years, I pretty much hated my life.
I was living in California at the time in a pretty depressing city (in fact, it’s been voted as one of the top 10 most depressing cities to live in by multiple sources over multiple years). It was pretty high crime, graffiti everywhere, and very poverty-stricken. Why did I stay? Work.
My husband and I both had jobs there. (In fact, the type of work that I was doing almost required that I live in a shit-hole.) You see, I took this job at a community nutrition program because, at the time, I thought it was the noble thing to do. I was providing nutrition guidance to the low-income population, primarily working with women, infants, and children. I thought that I could actually make a difference (silly me).
Over time, I realized that my job was less about actually helping people improve health and more about giving people food checks and getting them in and out of my office as fast as possible (caseload, caseload, caseload). What kind of difference could I make in the 10 minutes that I actually talked to these people?
Needless to say, the experience wasn’t at all what I expected. I didn’t feel like much of what I studied in college about nutrition was actually being put to use. I didn’t feel valued in what I was doing. The work wasn’t enjoyable and it certainly didn’t nourish my soul.
Over the course of 4 years, I gained roughly 70 pounds or so (which I’m still in the process of taking off by the way, but I’m getting there). I also started experiencing migraines at least a couple times each month and headaches were nearly a daily occurrence for me. I found myself in a negative head-space all the time – bitching to co-workers about the shitty decisions management was making and taking out a lot of my frustrations on my husband (who took a verbal lashing more often than I’d care to admit).
By that 4-year-mark, my husband and I could no longer stand being in our jobs, or even in California, anymore. We’d had enough. It was time to move on, for our health, safety, and sanity. (And the recent drive-by shootings a couple blocks from my work pretty much sealed the deal for me.)
We decided to make the journey back to Michigan (where we both originally grew up) and to figure out what exactly our next steps were in life. Within a couple months of job searching, I realized that my place in life needed to be one where I wasn’t under somebodies thumb or taking orders from someone about how I complete my mission – I needed to be my own boss and make my own rules.
Best decision I ever made.
Now, I’m feeling more and more like my old self again each day. I’m much more grateful for the things that I have in my life. Grateful for the fact that I acknowledged that I needed to leave a toxic situation. Grateful for the fact that, in switching to doing something that I truly LOVE and believe in, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some pretty amazing women and helping them feel like the best versions of themselves.
Everyone should be able to experience that same sense of purpose and fulfillment.
If you’re not currently living your life in a manner that brings you happiness, I urge you to take some steps NOW that will lead you there. You don’t have to necessarily quit your job right now (unless you feel that that’s the right move for you). What you can do is start exploring what your dream life would look like and what makes your heart flutter with excitement.
If you’ve always wanted to be an artist or be a writer or be a health coach, what’s stopping you from working on those things now? Start creating paintings or writing your novel or working with people outside of your current job. It’s soooo important to do things that you actually LOVE to do (instead of just what’s practical). Spending a majority of your life on things that don’t bring you fulfillment doesn’t do you or anyone else any favors.
Don’t put your happiness off until someday; you’re worth happiness just as you are right now.
Now, I’d love to hear from you –
Are you living your passion? If not, what steps can you take to get there? What makes your heart sing with excitement?
Until next time,
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