Hey there, friends! I am dropping in today with Lesson #6 from my lessons learned post – you know, the lessons I’ve learned since hitting my 30s. It’s been a hot second already since my last post in this series. Where does the time go?! Anyway, before moving along, be sure to check the 5 previous lessons first – all conveniently linked for you right below:
Okay now, on we go!
Lesson #6: Learning to do what makes ME happy.
Oof, this is a super tough one to learn. It doesn’t seem like it would be, right? You think, simple, just do whatever in the eff you want. But, there’s always that infamous *should* that creeps up in your thoughts. I should stay in this relationship, I should get married by the time I’m 28, I should have kids by the time I’m 30 – I should, I should, I should.
First of all, let’s all stop shoulding on ourselves, okay? Totally unnecessary. You don’t have to do anything by any age, you don’t have to do things you’re not comfortable with, or things that don’t bring you joy and happiness. You don’t have to do anything just because someone else thinks you should. What do YOU and only YOU want?!
Second of all, focus more on being present in this very moment and in your life (Lesson #1). And from the present moment, choose the next right thing that will make YOU happy. Be self-aware enough (Lesson #2) to know WHAT is best for you and WHAT will bring you happiness. Put everyone else’s opinion away because it doesn’t matter – just focus on you, your life, your peace, and your happiness.
Thing is, not everyone is going to agree with you and your choices, and that’s okay. Actually, it’s more than okay! They aren’t the one living your life – YOU are. And so, it pays to listen to your heart (Lesson #3) and do what you feel is right for you.
For me, learning how to make difficult choices that I knew were best for ME, despite the opinions of everyone around me, is what started me on my journey to learning how to love myself (Lesson #4). It was heartbreaking and excruciating and it brought me to knees in agony on the daily. But I kept doing the next right thing for me. And it genuinely taught me how to not give a f*ck what people think about me (Lesson #5) and just keep keeping on.
Trust that none of this happened overnight – y’all already know it’s been a 3-year journey for me. And, I persevered, I made it through, and just look at all these lessons I’ve learned along the way. Every.single.one of them have brought me where I am today. But, it was my perseverance that brought me to this lesson of learning to do what makes me happy.
I can count on one hand the number of people that supported me on my journey from the start. And I am grateful every day for those individuals. In my life, I have not been the most open and connected person, which means there are very few people who know me well (speaking of, look out for Lesson #7). But, it was with their support, that I found the courage within to keep on going.
Let me just say real quick that I am kind of in awe of myself here today, recognizing that all of these lessons are connected and have built upon one another. In writing this post, it’s been really eye-opening to see my journey kind of laid out before me. And to see how far I’ve truly come.
At the start of my journey, I think one of the toughest things for me was learning to let go of the picture of perfection that I tried so hard to uphold. And in doing so, such a heavy wait was lifted from me. I was truly only hurting myself. It took me 30-some years to learn that my happiness is within me and only me. Today I feel truly blessed to be living my life for me, not for others, like I used to. Living for others, and according to shoulds, is a heavy burden to carry. I deserved more than that, and you do too.
When I finally made it known that I was thinking about leaving my marriage, I received a ton of backlash – everyone thinking they knew what was best for me. Had I listened to them, I’d still be living my life for them, for others. Let me tell you, the best thing I’ve ever done is do what I knew was best for me. And it was in making that initial decision, that I learned to always do the next right thing for ME. I’ve learned to do what makes ME happy. I think what we all need to remember, is that we’re the only one that can live our life – so live your life as you choose.
Okay, so let me leave you with a quote before I go.
The girl who seemed unbreakable, broke. She dropped a fake smile and whispered to herself, “I can’t do this anymore”.
Back 3 years ago, I printed this quote and hung it in my office where I could see it every single day. As heartbreaking as it is, it was also encouraging to me. I knew in my heart that I couldn’t keep on as I was and that it was up to me to take that step to change my life. The first step is the hardest, but it’s so worth it.
I was afraid to break – no one, and I do mean no one, had ever seen me fall apart. I was terrified to break that picture of perfection and admit that I was not happy, that I was and AM flawed. I was afraid of what people would think. But I faced it all the best way I knew how at the time, and I made the decision to do what was best for me, despite all the negativity, opinions, and hurtful words being thrown at me. I did what I had to do in order to find my happiness in life.
And this, my friends, is my journey to learning how to do what makes ME happy.
Wait, let me also pair this post with a song – this song to be exact. First of all, LOVE me some Adam Levine. Second of all, this song was consistently my song since I was 18 – from the moment I first heard it when it was released in 2004 – right up until last year. While I still LOVE the song, I’m no longer the girl with the broken smile. Why? Because I learned what it means to be happy!
And I hope you’ve found your happiness too. But if not, now is a fine time to start your journey. Sending all my love. You got this!