Emily is a friend and former co-worker of mine who recently sent out an e-mail to those who have been supportive of her and her husband when they decided to make a huge adjustment in their lives.
They gave up their jobs in Michigan to move to Chicago and make a new life – a life closer to family; a life they wanted. They made a giant leap that so many people ponder but never take. About seven months ago, they made a conscious decision to give up a life in which they were reasonably happy for one that made them truly happy.
At the time, I’m sure many of us, even those who were outwardly supportive, were wondering what the heck they were thinking. Still, we wished them the best and sent them on their way, knowing friends and family would help to steady them if they stumbled.
I’m sure it hasn’t been easy and there have been many nights of introspection where they, too, probably wondered what they were doing. I know from e-mails and Facebook messages that Emily – who quit the job she had lined up in Chicago – had hit some low points in her life. However, based on the latest e-mail, I have no doubt they made the right decision.
“I’m happier than I’ve ever been because I started telling the truth.”
Wouldn’t we all be happier if we could start telling the truth, particularly to ourselves?
What makes you happy? What makes you frustrated or angry or resentful? Are you satisfied with your life or truly happy with it? Certainly, not every day is going to be wine and roses, but for the most part are you happy?
When I got divorced a few years back, part of my struggle revolved around the concept of “being happy.” I didn’t know what it really meant. If I couldn’t define it, how could I know if I was or I wasn’t?
I think, now, that happiness is grounded in truth. If you can’t be honest with yourself, your partner, your family, and your co-workers – then you aren’t going to be happy. Harboring any kind of unhappiness leads only to frustration, resentment and bad consequences.
Emily’s e-mail to me is inspiring in a couple of ways.
First, she is going to earn her master’s degree in education, which is a completely different field from the public relations career she had been building. Emily describes it best when she writes:
“What I loved most about my jobs in PR was the ability to counsel and mentor my colleagues; clear hurdles or at least make it easier for them to jump over. After two years of coursework and on-site practicum, I’ll be ready to do it full-time.”
Second, she now seems to be truly happy – a feeling that I always sensed was hovering near her but was just a short span out of reach.
In addition to thanking her husband and her mom, her two pillars of support in her life, she also took the time to thank her friends and colleagues.
“And to all of you copied here…you’ve played a role in making me have the courage to take the plunge; make a change. May this inspire you to do the same; even a baby step to start.”
It is exciting to hear a friend sound like they have finally weathered a storm and are now able to see the rainbows appearing. Emily knows it isn’t going to be easy – the career path she has chosen is not going to lead her to monetary riches and I’m sure there will still be days when she stumbles and wonders what she’s doing.
When she does, I hope she reads the e-mail she sent to all of us. She signed off by saying, “With love and excitement.” And that’s how she should continue to feel as she chases those rainbows, seeking her chance to finally bask in the glowing sunny rays of happiness.
We love you, too, Em, and we are happy that you are happy. When you find your rainbows, make sure you send us all some pictures – I think it would be helpful to a great many people trying to jump some hurdles in their lives.
(Photo courtesy of HawaiiPictures.com)