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Chasing Happiness

August 15, 2017 0 Comments

The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.

– Thucydides

What is your “why?”

It’s a question I’ve been asked over and over again since we started telling people about our plans to sell our house and travel the country in an RV. I mean, it’s a completely fair question to a seemingly outlandish idea.

At first, we began breaking our reasoning down into three main areas.

  1. We want to be happier. What makes us happy? Spending quality time with each other and our child. Making memories together. Traveling and having new experiences. Having the freedom to decide how our days are spent. Being able to really own our lives and have the power choose what we do and what we don’t do.
  2. We just want to. We’re curious people. We enjoy trying new things, being in new places, eating new foods and love exploring. So, if you know us well, it’s probably not a surprise that when we heard that some families live an actual “travel lifestyle” we were like, “Sign us up!”
  3. Financial. Full transparency. Chris and I have some significant student debt. And we want to pay it off faster. What’s a great way to do that? Cut our expenditures.

In truth, these three reasons perfectly sum up our “why” of “why are we doing this?” But, observing how some folks (not all) have responded when we tell them our “why” has been….interesting.

When asked the question, “Why are you doing this?” We have responded with our three reasons – in order. While the first and second reasons are probably our biggest, they have been greeted with a lot of blank stares or anticipating looks, as if there must be a third reason that will somehow make more sense.

And then we bring in the financial reason and I see the lightbulbs go off on people’s faces. Like…”Ah ha! Ok… now I get it. That makes sense.”

That’s interesting, isn’t it??

Money…

And then I think to myself, what kind of culture do we live in where wanting to be happier or just wanting to try something new isn’t a good enough reason to change your life?

But money… That’s a valid explanation. THAT makes sense.

Chasing the Happiness

We’ve done a lot of reflection over the last couple of years. Part of that reflection has led us to realize how much time (and money) we’ve spent getting the degree, so we could get the job, so we could buy the stuff. Only to realize that we hardly enjoy the stuff because we are too busy working the job in order to pay for the stuff (which never seems to deliver on its promise of making us feel happier). It’s insanity.

And when we aren’t working the job to pay for the stuff, we are fixing the stuff, or grooming the stuff, or thinking about how we can upgrade the stuff.

And none of it makes us feel happier.

Oh, except for the two weeks a year we are granted by our employers to take a break from thinking about the job (if we’re lucky) and the stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I know that this isn’t everyone. I know that not everyone sees it this way. I know that happiness isn’t “one size fits all.”

But that’s just it. Happiness isn’t “one size fits all.” Why would we ever expect it to be?

One person’s rat race is another person’s dream job. One person’s prison is another person’s paradise. What feels like a shackle to me may feel like an accomplishment to you.

Isn’t that the beauty of this life? We get to decide what we do. We get to choose to pack up and move into an RV because we believe it will bring more joy and satisfaction into our lives… or not.

We get to chase the happiness – with an adventure in our spirit and with gratitude in our hearts. Because we want to. Because we can.

Happiness is a direction, not a place.

– Sydney J. Harris

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