Does having a life you love mean you’re happy every minute of every day?
Of course not. If anyone tells you they are – run!
Those Internet ads with a guy grinning from ear to ear next to an exotic car with a mansion in the background make me laugh – then they make me grit my teeth and silently scream. The headline in big bold letters promises to help you become rich beyond your wildest dreams.
But will you be happy? How many people have won millions in the lottery and went broke soon after? Sure, some people would be happy with that mansion or car. But I suspect that happiness would wear off if you weren’t doing something that made you feel fulfilled from the inside out.
What would you do if you didn’t have to worry about money? Travel the world, give back in a way that’s meaningful to you?
Building a life you love doesn’t happen overnight.
Creating that life requires digging down deep to identify what’s important to you.
What brings you happiness and joy? Several friends and former clients left successful, yet high-pressure lives and made a complete life change. One bought a farm. Another left to explore the world. No roots and no plans, just living freely as it suited her.
The thing I’ve always craved is freedom. While I was in corporate America, I enjoyed the people I worked with and loved my clients. Several years later I was recruited into another company, and then another.
Over time, I turned into a workaholic which left me feeling unhealthy and unhappy.
Working for someone for the rest of my life wasn’t something I ever aspired to. I wanted to be like my relatives who had their own businesses and the freedom to run it as they felt it should be. They worked hard, but they loved what they were building. They also had a life they built on their terms. Being a workaholic was filling a void I hadn’t come to terms with yet. I needed my freedom.
I have no regrets about any of the experiences in my life, even the ones that weren’t pleasant. They all led to where I am now. I have the freedom I sought. I’m young enough to enjoy it, and old enough to know I still have a lot of work ahead of me. I also know I love this stage of my life and it doesn’t feel like work.
Are you ready for change?
Don’t wait. If you’re not in a position to make a change build the foundation. Take a hard look at your life. What’s working, what’s not?
There are steps you can take now. If you want to start your own business, do your research now. Attend networking events. Want to spend your life traveling for a living – reach out to people doing that now.
Whatever your heart desires will take time, soul-searching and planning. You can do that for free now. Pick up a pen and paper or type away and put some solid ideas in place. Keep the momentum going and look for every opportunity to connect with others. Doors open as soon as you put your ideas into motion.
Are you willing to do what it takes?
I was so prepared to start 2009 on top of my game, my “stop making resolutions” musings were waiting for me to hit the post button, I was happy, rested and into the full swing of a new year.
On January 3rd, I received a call letting me know that my beloved mom-in-law passed away. I was originally going to say that she lost her three-year battle to leukemia but I think it’s far more accurate to say that she won her wish to live her life the way she intended to for as long as possible.
This vibrant and courageous woman who also happened to be a breast cancer survivor, was every bit a “mom” to me — not an “in law”. I’ll miss her incredibly even though I realize so much from our relationship will always remain. From the beginning, she always treated me, and made me feel as though I were her daughter by birth. We had a bond that grew deeply over a period of seventeen and a half years.
The first time we ever met, I was afraid she was going to see my hands shaking or hear my knees knocking but in five minutes, I felt as though we’d known each other a lifetime. She was always gracious yet said exactly what was on her mind –one of the few people I’ve met who was completely comfortable in their own skin. Whether you agreed or disagreed with something she said, you loved her for who she was and she always loved you back.
Our last visit was much like our first, filled with laughter and happiness. She was at home and feeling well enough to join my husband, sister in law, father in law and myself for lunch at her favorite restaurant. She was in rare form and when our visit ended we hugged goodbye as we always did. That memory or a great conversation by phone is how I know she’d want us to remember her. We received the call three days after that visit.
The essence of what I share with you on this blog boils down to your mindset — which effects how you approach life, how you react to change and how you “reframe” your views. These things all determine how you view your life and all of its infinite possibilities. Only you are in your head and only you control those thoughts and views.
You could look at the situation and see it as unfair and be consumed with anger and sorrow over what was taken away or lost rather than the greatness of what was experienced during a lifetime. It might even be easier to fall into that thinking if you had lost as many people as I have in my lifetime. A different mindset allows you to see the beauty in each encounter with another human being. Whether the relationship ends due to death or some other separation, I believe each and every one of those encounters leaves us with the gift of a lesson. It’s up to you to find each lesson. Perhaps it’s unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, or perhaps acceptance. It doesn’t mean that you won’t mourn the loss, simply that you’ll also be able to see the gain.
“What we have once enjoyed
we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes part of us”