The price of happiness...

Over the past two and a half years I've made some major changes in my life.  I quit my job, moved to a smaller/less expensive house, and started living my life for me.  The difference those changes have made in my happiness have been evident in who I now am and how I think about things.  I know that what I've done is extreme, and not an option for everyone, but I wanted to share a bit about how I came to be where I am now- happy.

When I became a public school teacher I really thought that it would make me feel productive, accomplished and that I was doing something worthwhile with my time and talent.  I couldn't have been more off the mark.  I was stretched thin, compromising my values, and spinning my wheels.  I was miserable.  So after talking to Travis and reviewing our finances, I quit.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE teaching, but being a teacher has very little to do with the love of teaching and a whole lot to do with beaurocratic politics.  It's a disservice to children and most days I came home knowing that what I was spending my days doing was not worthwhile.  In the salary department I was not making enough to justify me working- seriously, between going out to eat, doctor visits/meds, and paying to supply my classroom I was paying them to be there.  It also threw us into a wonky tax bracket, so quitting was not a difficult financial decision to make.

Today I still teach.  I am homeschooling our 13 year old son, and my daughter Sara has aged out of special education and is home with us as well.   I still teach classes for homeschool kiddos, run a middle school aged book club and I absolutely love the freedom I have to teach in a way that is beneficial for children.   Teaching is a big part of my life- but it's not all of it and allows me to have time to pursue other interests....balance.

I have always been the creative type- especially where home and decorating are concerned.  I do decorating consults when asked, and although I don't advertise,  those requests come in on a steady basis.

I paint- a lot.  Furniture, signs with Sara for the Happy Soul Project, and just for fun.  Painting relaxes me and is one of my favourite hobbies.  I have time for that now which feeds me creatively as well as provides a bit of income for Sara.

Last year we surprised a lot of people when after our magazine photo shoot we listed our house for sale.  The little cottage on the pond was a beautiful home, but it was a bit big for what we needed and more money going out each month that we thought we could use better elsewhere- as in traveling.   We sold the house rather quickly and spent the summer remodeling our tiny tudor (1500 sq ft) and making it a "just right" home for us.  We love the smaller floor plan, no wasted space, and zero yard to maintain.  Not to mention that living here saves us what most people pay per month for an entire house.  Financially it was a very smart move.  We are also within walking distance of stores and restaurants and have taken advantage of that more than we ever did in a traditional subdivision.

Making these changes has changed me.  I used to wake up feeling anxious and worried, I now wake up and feel relaxed and optimistic about my day.  I've given myself the gift of choice and variety in what I do.  I say no to things that I don't want to do, and make more time for doing what I love. I enjoy things more, complain less, and feel content with my life.  I'm probably busier now than I was when I was working full time, so please don't think that the happiness I've found is because I'm home doing nothing.  My day planner is full with volunteering, teaching, decorating, painting, and homeschooling.  I didn't lighten my load, I just raised my standards for what could be in my cart.

So what is the price of happiness?   It's priceless.


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  2. Absolutely agree! People think we sit around eating bon-bons.My children are grown, 36 and 40, and I'm 57. I stay at home. I blog, decorate, garden, am a pupster mom and I'm divorced and run my own ship. I have been wearing a steel boot on my right foot for over two years due to an ankle injury involving both sides of my right ankle. And just last week had a second surgery, in the hopes that one day I might actually get to wear SHOES again. Pretty shoes! I have never been more content, despite the hellish past five years of my life, in which I learned that blood is not thicker than water, and husbands don't necessarily tell the truth on a regular basis. I commend you for scaling back, spending less, and reducing your carbon footprint. I live in 725 square feet, and couldn't be more happy with the small space. In fact, that is the basic premise of my blog. I salute you.

  3. thanks for sharing. I love this...its going in the opposite direction of "trying to keep up with the joneses" so to speak. if only we could all live within our means and appreciate what we have and only what we need instead of always thinking we need more...now that would be a wonderful world. thanks for the inspiration :)

  4. What a wonderful post. We're about to downsize for some of the same reasons you've listed. Like you, as we age, with any luck, we begin to realize what we want out of life and what makes us happy. To stay in a job as demanding as teaching and not love it would not be my first choice either. I was an aid at our kids elementary school and in the years I did that job I began to see a shift in the program. It's deplorable how much a teacher has to purchase with her own money for the classroom.
    Thanks for the inspiration and frank discussion on something so personal, it's undoubtedly going to help many.

  5. For 40 years I've been working for other people and long to spend my days doing what I want to do ~ doing something more creative. Hopefully in a couple of years I will be doing just that. I'm working on a plan :)

  6. It sounds like good change! You were very fortunate that you were able to financially make this choice. For others, it is not so easy to walk away.

    1. The really sad thing is that I could have taken a managerial job in a mall store and made the same amount of money. It's so hard to be passionate about something and know that what you are doing is not in the best interest of who you are there to serve. At least in a mall job I wouldn't have had that conflict of conviction!

  7. Life is too short to not feel good about what you do for a living. Teachers are held to such regulations these days and it really isn't in the best interest of the children. I have friends who are teachers and hear from them about the hoops they have to jump through. I feel for the children today. Education sure has changed since I was a child.

    It sounds like making changes has served you well. Congrats and keep on being happy!


Thanks so much for popping in. I appreciate all of your lovely comments...Tricia