Sunday, October 13, 2013

Find your Happiness

I was talking to a coworker this week & she was telling me about her daughter. Her daughter is in college & is doing very well in an excellent professional program. But she is miserable. She doesn’t want to pursue this path, she would rather study art or music or something similar. But she is afraid… so is mom. She/they know that jobs are easier to find, more financially lucrative, & more stable in the professional field.

We could be discussing James & I. A few differences, but overall the story is the same. Unlike my coworker’s daughter, we followed through with the miserable career choices… all the way into the job market. Her story doesn’t have to end the same. This is not a rant against college or professional degrees. If that is what makes you happy – go for it. Happiness is important because it is a huge factor in mental health, physical health, & job satisfaction. So choose carefully but be bold in your search. Take a range of general electives if you choose college. Even if you don’t want to attend college, or can’t afford it – save a few bucks & take a smattering of different credit or non-credit courses at the local community college. Volunteer. Wonder about construction? Volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. Like to cook? Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Like art? Teach / lead art classes at a community center. You get the idea. Even if you don’t volunteer, explore different activities. Try new things.

No matter what job/career/calling you choose, remember that money doesn’t have to be the driving force if you are mindful in your spending habits. If you don’t fall into the consumerism trap, you have more freedom in your career choices… & the resulting wages. James & I have dug our hole, now we are climbing out. My coworker’s daughter hasn’t dug her hole yet. I hope she never does.

It isn’t all gloom & doom. We aren’t in as bad of shape as we could be. But we still have obligations. We currently need a certain wage to pay those obligations. Perhaps if we had worried less about having a closet full of clothing, adorable knick knacks, the latest & greatest kitchen gadgets, & a big house – we would have the flexibility to do work that was more satisfying to the soul, but not necessarily the bank account.

Lesson learned. We are changing our spending habits & paying down the obligations we have. We are exploring activities that satisfy the soul. I teach yoga part time, James enjoys “junking” (oh dear). We are finding our happiness a little bit at a time. How about you? What is your happiness?

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