Happiness. What exactly is happiness? How do you define it or classify it? Where does happiness come from? I was recently in a discussion with my ex, yes my ex. Don’t judge. I had an extended conversation with him for the first time in nearly 3 months since we broke up. After ignoring texts for most of the time since our breakup, I decided that I might give being friends with him a shot. Before we actually met up in person we were having a discussion via text about life. He used to be a ski instructor in Vail and he mentioned to me on that bluebird sunny day here in Boston how it was days like that which really made him miss Vail beyond belief. Why? He said something to me that sparked this whole post…
“I just envision myself doing this (working a desk job) for the next 5 years and blinking like what the F just happened. Looking back and asking myself, ‘Why’? I am not sure the $$ is that important.”
People always ask that question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years, in 10 years?” I have tried so hard to find the answer to that and every time come up absolutely clueless as how to respond. If a potential employer asked me that question, I might have to lie in order to make it seem like I think that intently about my future. PAUSE WITH WHATEVER THOUGHT YOU HAVE. I think about my future every day but it doesn’t exactly drive what I am doing right this very moment. This very moment all I am interested in is writing this post and since very recently most of my days I am more interested in my present than my future. That might be a bad thing in some people’s opinion but wait…
If there is one thing I have learned in life it is that no matter what you say about where you want to be in 5 years or how much you set up your life to succeed and no matter how hard you work, life loves to throw curve balls. I have experienced a few and I am sure you have too. Yes, you can overcome those curveballs and continue on the road you had set out on when you decided where you wanted to be in 5 or 10 years, and many people do. But is that life plan fulfilling? Does it bring you joy more often than not?
My response to him was of course lengthy. Oh and don’t make a judgement until you finish reading all of it.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about what makes you undeniably happy and (after being with him for a year I know this to be true) a desk job isn’t what makes you happy no matter how much money you are making. Not happy and lots of money or happy, happy, happy with a huge smile on your face more days than not and a little less money.” I proceeded to tell him he was crazy for not going back. He asked why…
“Because you LOVE skiing. If you’re asking yourself about how you will feel in 5 years and thinking you might regret not going back to Vail, maybe you need to rethink your priorities. You’re crazy for not being happy, for “putting up” with a job that you hate just because it will make you more money in the long run. What’s money without happiness? If ski instructing in Vail is what you love to do and provides enough money for you to live the life you want to live (including saving money for the future) and do the things you want to do then that’s all that matters.” I didn’t get much of a response out of him other than, “Yeah, I’ll think about it.” Sometimes I think I am too passionate about life and some people just can’t keep up with it.
Anyways, I am currently doing what I love but I never imagined myself as a personal trainer. If you asked me at 12 years old, when I had decided to pursue ski racing with all my might, what my 5 or 10 year plan was or where I saw myself down the road, I would not have said working in Boston as a personal trainer. When my dreams of racing on the World Cup and going to the Olympics came to a disappointing reality of NOT happening, I went to college and raced the collegiate circuit. I had a blast but when I graduated I was more than happy to walk away.
I graduated in May 2010 and for the first time since I was 12 I knew what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t 5 or 10 years down the road, it was 1 year later. I told myself when I graduated that in 1 year I was going to move to Boston and work as a personal trainer at Equinox on Franklin Street. I got hired at Equinox on Franklin Street in April 2011 and have been there ever since. I’ve never once made it about the money. I didn’t move to Boston and apply at Equinox or accept the offer of employment because of the money. In fact, I didn’t even hear my future boss when she was telling me about the pay scale simply because I was so excited about getting hired. If I wasn’t successful at Equinox and wasn’t making enough money to support myself, then yes I would leave but thankfully that is not the case.
But the most important thing is that I am working with people who help me grow every day as a person, who challenge me intellectually, who pick me up when I am down, who encourage me, who make me smile, who help me to become a better person. It hasn’t always been this way but after some serious soul searching I realized I am exactly where I want to be. I am a personal trainer that helps people lead healthier lives, I am inspiring people through my words and am equally inspired by other’s words, I am writing every day, I am growing every day and becoming more and more the person I have always envisioned.
My whole point is that in hearing my ex talk about not being sure if his current career is right for him, for knowing that his unhappiness in his job affects him negatively and did in fact affect our relationship, I can only hope that he does what makes him truly happy, what allows him to live the life he wants to live. I hope that in 5 years he doesn’t look back on the path he chose to follow and say, “What the F was I thinking?” But it is a risk he takes, it is a risk we all take for something we think we want.
So when I ask myself what I want to do or where I see myself in 5 or 10 years, this is my answer: I would like to have a job that I love, and sometimes of course hate, but that ultimately makes me happy, I would hope that this job that I love does provide me with an income that enables me to live how I want to live, I would like to still be writing whether it is just on this blog and in my journal or maybe have written a book, I would like to continue to be eating healthy and working out, I would like to just simply BE healthy, I would like to have a loving husband and if it works out I would love to have kids. I don’t know where I want to live or what job exactly I want to have because based on my life so far, I can easily say that life can change in a blink of an eye; interests change.
All I know is that I am living a life I didn’t plan on living 5 or 10 years ago and I am perfectly okay with that because it is a life that I love, a life that is allowing me to learn about myself and the world. A life of reflection and understanding of my failures and successes and how they affect me today. A life that has helped me grow strong and realize that the decisions I have made were the right ones for me, even though they may have been torture at the time, forcing me to drink a lot of Malbec, cry a lot and write non stop. 🙂
When I asked what happiness is at the beginning of this post, here is my answer: happiness to me is a feeling in my bones, a smile when I wake up. Sometimes we forget what happiness feels like because we have lost it for so long but once we have a taste of it again, we should never go back to what we now know made us unhappy. I forgot what happiness was for a very long time and now that I have found it again, found it from within myself, I am a strong proponent of everyone being able to find it.
So now I ask you: what is happiness to you? What does it mean and how do you know when you have it? Figure it out and make sure to do what makes you happy, it is the best choice you will ever make. When you get asked or ask yourself what your 5 or 10 year plan is, you might know exactly what you want but please don’t forget that whatever it is should (or at least I would hope) make you happy. Please, please don’t forget.
And because I am a teeny bit aggressive at times with my suggestions (I swear it’s simply because I am sometimes entirely too passionate about happiness)..
PS. To everyone who listened to me cry about my ex, literally cry…the answer is no and you should know what I mean.