We don’t need paradise to be happy.
We don’t need to take a three month trip to backpack Thailand, drink mai tais with yellow umbrellas on the beach and ride elephants to be happy.
We don’t need to snorkel the great barrier reef or get a photograph on the world’s biggest rock to be happy.
We don’t need to go to Italy and eat pasta with fresh basil ’till our pants don’t fit to be happy.
We don’t need to do a yoga retreat in Guatemala and have soul-satisfying sex with a Spanish man to be happy.
We don’t need to do Zumba in Salyulita to be happy.
I used to not be happy. I used to hate my job.
I was serving food and selling condos, doing work I didn’t love. It fed me, but didn’t feed me—it didn’t make me feel alive.
I would work and work and work and save up enough money to take off and travel—something that would make me happy.
I would lay in hammocks, drink coconuts, come home with a wicked tan and stories of swimming naked in phosphorescents and kissing Australian men with ponytails.
I was at my happiest doing that.
I am going to be bluntly honest: Because I hated my life and I was working a job I hated.
I once flew to Peru and spent thousands of dollars, relentlessly searching for joy.
I was in awe but never satisfied.
On my second to last day there, in a town called Mancora, I was running on the beach at sunset.
The sky was lit on fire with oranges and pinks, the ocean warming and lapping at my feet.
I stopped running and realized I am everywhere—not in the “blissed out” “we are all one” type of realization.
This was more of a drop-a-big-bowling-ball-in-my-gut epiphany: If I am unhappy or unsatisfied with my job, my work and my overall choices in existence—that comes with me everywhere.
We cannot run from ourselves.
When I came home from this trip, I told a friend about my realization.
“I spent thousands of dollars and traveled miles and miles to realize I’m not happy.”
He turned to me and said, “Janne, that’s not a bad epiphany. That’s a great epiphany. So you’ve realized you are no longer on the horse. You could still be on the horse, with no clue you’ve fallen off and are not doing what makes you happy. Now it’s time to use that awareness and get back on the horse.”
Maybe taking a week long yoga retreat trip in Costa Rica will likely make you happier.
But Nothing will make you happier than changing things in your life that are depleting you, that are out of alignment with your life’s work—you know, the type of work that you love to do.
Have the courage to leave a job you do not love.
Have the courage to leave a relationship if you are not fiercely being loved and you are not fiercely loving
Set better, healthier boundaries.
Work for yourself and do something you love to do.
Move to a different city that you would love to live in.
Start being the friend you wish to have.
Be the partner you want to attract.
I have now become and continue to be accountable for the joy or lack of joy in my life.
So can you.