#ichoosepleasure – Part Five

If you don’t like where you are, then change it! You’re not a tree. — Jim Rohn

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

Define your own happily ever after.

Eat chocolate for breakfast.  Drink wine at Noon on a Tuesday.  Wear striped socks with sandals.  Move to the city.  Escape the city.  Walk away from the man that couldn’t love you enough.  Fall in love with someone geographically inconvenient.  Be loud.  Be silent.  Be you.

Define your own happily ever after.

I told a married girlfriend of mine that I didn’t want to date any guys that made less money than I do.  She was a little horrified, telling me I could miss out on the love of my life if I limited myself that way (Do you remember scarcity thinking? Oh, honey, you cannot miss out on the love of your life by not dating someone that can’t make you happy.)

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

I was done holding the burden of supporting a family by myself.  And I knew that it’s hard for me (maybe not for her, maybe not for you, but for ME) to not “take charge” if I’m the one bringing in the bacon.  Taking charge (again, for ME) means taking on a lot of stress in my body.  I wanted a true partnership and I know myself well enough to know that part of what I need in a partner is someone that is earning a decent living.  Trust me, I’m not making so much money that the bar is set all that high in the first place.  I just wanted to feel safe that if I got sick or my business went bust, there was someone I could count on to keep food in the house and a roof over our heads.  I wasn’t calling the Millionaire Matchmaker but I wasn’t making eyes at bus boys, either.

It’s easy for other people to have opinions and judgments about what you choose for yourself.  Many people will support your choices only if it’s something they might also choose for themselves.  You want to buy a Toyota Prius?  Great idea! We have one, too!  You want to sell your car and spend three months in India – are you high?!  What’s wrong with a nice trip to the lake?

Define your own happily ever after.

We get just one life.  Within that life, there are plenty of years that are spent being too young to make our own choices or too old to be well enough for that trip to India.  But don’t go to India because everyone at your yoga studio has been or because you read Eat Pray Love (although I seriously love that book so much, I keep buying it and giving it away and buying it again).  Go to India – or Prague or Sheboygan – not because you should, but because it’s your heart’s desire and you have so few years available to take the steps to satisfy your heart’s deepest desires.  You deserve a whole-hearted life.

Your whole-hearted life doesn’t have to mean going on a grand adventure, either.  I heard the author, Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier At Home, talk about her realization that she doesn’t really like to travel.  For years, she went places because she felt like she was supposed to.  She finally allowed herself to acknowledge that she loves her routine, her home.  She doesn’t like the chaos and discomfort of travel.  Instead, she took steps to really make her home as comfortable and beautiful as she can because that is what makes her happy.  She’s choosing to create the life SHE wants, not the one she is supposed to have.

Define your own happily ever after.

About a year ago, I was making a Mondo Beyondo list and I wrote “I want to travel a lot and be home a lot.”  And that’s my truth.  I love to be home but I also love to visit new cities and foreign countries.  My favorite kind of travel is when I get to rent a home somewhere and settle in to my old routine in a new place – different coffee, different food, different language, same old me puttering around looking at the flowers, reading a book in a patch of sunlight, sipping coffee from bed as I watch the town wake-up.  I choose not to see every sight or visit all the “must see” spots in the guidebook, I get to create the travel experience that makes me happy – even if I miss someone else’s “best part”.

Define your own happily ever after.

When we make our choices to please what other people think is best for us, our own satisfaction is twisted and chipped away to fit a mold we didn’t create.  When we make our choices to please our heart, we expand into the infinite possibilities.

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

Photo Credit: Karen Bardavid

So here’s the kicker – what happens when you see someone that is SO SO close to happiness and they just don’t seem to be able to get there?  There was a line of us standing out in front of the hotel, waiting for the valet to bring our cars around at the end of the conference.  A colleague congratulated me on my recent re-marriage, I made a crack about just being part of a statistic – 80% of people re-marry within five years of their divorce.  The voice of a woman from behind me said, “I’ve been divorced for 16 years and I’M not re-married.”  The sadness in her voice pulled at me, because I knew this was not the place to tell her what I suspect was the reason she has been alone for so long.  I’ll tell you what I didn’t tell her next week…it’s the final installment of the #ichoosepleasure series and it’s the most important message I can share with you.

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