I recently came across this article. I know these kind of things are becoming somewhat cliché, but to summarize, a girl gave up a high-paying job and NYC lifestyle to move to St. John and work in the service industry (aka bartend and scoop ice cream).
I always have a carousel of feelings when reading stories like this.
Reaction 1: I should do this.
Reaction 2: I’m not 22 anymore, I want things like a house and a family and to have those things I need things like a job and health insurance and a 401K. This type of existence would be temporary at best.
Reaction 3: Maybe it would give me more time to write. Maybe it would give me more interesting things to write about.
Reaction 4: But what if it doesn’t?
Reaction 5: BUT I HATE SITTING IN A WINDOWLESS CUBICLE ALL DAY
Reaction 6: But the money is good and my job isn’t that bad….
Reaction 7: I’m such a coward, why don’t I just DO IT?!?!?!?!
Reaction 8: … because all the reasons I thought of before….
… and repeat.
I remember reading somewhere that you need to write down the top 3 things you want in life, and if any of them conflict with each other, you’re destined to be unhappy. My top 3 are:
1. To be a novelist.
2. To live in a happy home with/near people I love.
3. My health.
The things I’m doing to achieve this are:
1. Writing every day (and reading, and interacting with writerly people on the internet, etc.)
2. Ensuring I’m not too busy to make time for my boyfriend and friends. Saving money so I can someday move to somewhere with a backyard and afford to make it a place that feels like home.
3. Eating right and exercising.
So I’m pretty sure I’m on the right path, right where I am. If I were to expand my “things I want” list, it would include traveling more, spending more time outdoors, having more time to write, working at a job I’m more passionate about. Moving to an island could help with some of those goals (outdoors! travel!); but it would also conflict with the “happy home” one, in that I’d be nowhere near most of my loved ones, and likely not saving money for a house/family. And who knows how much writing time I’d have if I was busy bartending or scooping ice cream all day?
Life is about choices. You give up one thing so you can get something else. Unless you’re incredibly lucky and/or incredibly rich, you can’t get everything you want all at once. And escaping to St. John (as lovely as it is) wouldn’t get me any closer to the things I really want.
What are the top three things you want in life, and what are you doing to get yourself there?
Above photo taken by me at the Beach Bar in St. John, June 2012
8 thoughts on “To Be Happy”
I’m at the end of the road you’re traveling. You write beautifully. So I am compelled to send you a postcard from 30 years in your future.
Life is a process. Everything we do today, advances us tomorrow. We think our goals are to become writers, purchase dream homes and marry soulmates. We’re wrong. What we really want is to become the person who is worthy and skilled enough to create those outcomes.
Growth brings us closer to this. Daily growth requires courage. Courage compresses time because with it, we leave our comfort zone more often, which speeds growth. And time is the most valuable asset of all.
“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.” – Richard Bach
March boldly and directly toward the things that you desire. If you can imagine them, you’re worthy of them. You deserve them. Life is short. You don’t need anyone’s permission to become the you that you imagine. You’re perfectly placed, right now, to do the next thing. Courageously doing that, reveals the next step. And the next. And the next. Until you wake up one day and realize you achieved everything you dreamed about. But even better, you realize that if you lost it all, you can quickly recreate it because you’ve become the depth of person who can do all that. That is the real payoff.
Then, as a way of saying thanks to the universe, you inspire others by sending them postcards from their future.
Make your own luck!
I loved this comment. Thank you so much
This is so good, and I really love your thought process here.
I’m going to have to think more about my top three things.
Thanks! I’d love to hear what you decide on!
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Great post! Three things I want in life:
1) to live in France (actually coming true!). 🙂
2) people to recognize my poetry (will be sending my manuscripts to several publishing companies over the summer).
3) finding a balance between work and leisure (it’s been a trial-and-error process, but hope to find the equilibrium soon!).