I have always said my goal in life is to be happy.
But what does that look like? And is it even possible to be truly happy?
Any time I am able to get out of Alaska for a while, I am always amazed at what I learn about myself, and this recent trip to Minnesota was no different.
I feel as though I know myself better, what I want out of life, and what makes me happy. 🙂
Before we proceed with my current reflections, let’s back up for some background knowledge about my time in Alaska.
As many of you know, I have not been happy living in Alaska. It has been very difficult for me, and I have desperately wanted to move for several years now.
Here’s a timeline of my time in Alaska:
August 2007: Craig and I moved to Alaska. We had just gotten engaged in July and were going to spend 10 months living in Alaska. Craig was going to work, while I went to school. I would take undergraduate-level courses to fulfill prerequisites for physical therapy (pt) school. Then, depending upon where I got into pt school, we would move to that location come the summer.
During these months, I didn’t mind living in Alaska. Everything was new to me; I was living near the mountains, which is something I had always wanted to do; and I was preoccupied with planning our wedding.
Spring 2008: I had not been accepted into any pt schools. I was on a wait-list for one school (and did eventually get called up), but by then I knew I wouldn’t be going: it would have cost me $60,000 to go to 3 years of pt school and with Craig having a lot of student loans already, I didn’t want to accrue more debt for us. Plus, wherever we moved to, I knew Craig would have a hard time finding a job with very little job experience and the failing economy.
Since I knew I wouldn’t be going to pt school, the natural thing to do was to stay in Alaska. Craig had a job (it wasn’t a great job, but it was a job), and I was excited to see why Alaskans endured 9 months of crappy winter weather for their 3 months of summer “bliss” (which is negotiable depending upon who you ask).
June 2008: We got married, and I started working a desk job. I was a newly wed, we both had jobs, and things were going quite well.
(beginning of) October 2008: The snow started to fly, which made me a very unhappy camper.
I have a hard time believing this was the only thing that caused me to dislike living in Alaska at this point in time. I think it was also a combination of a very crappy summer (read: lots of rain, cool temps (50s/low60s and only 3 days over 70*) and a job I wasn’t enjoying nor satisfied with anymore.
February 2009: I applied for a couple of jobs out of state, primarily in Portland, but the economy was SO competitive I didn’t stand a chance.
August 2009: Craig started a new job with much better pay, a higher level of professionalism, and now on the road to a “real” career.
September 2009: I was offered a teaching job.
With these two new jobs, it put us in a situation that basically committed us to sticking around for a while.
Winter 2009-2010 was tough! I was very depressed and lacked motivation to run and do the things I once found joy in.
Summer 2010: I was very glad to be done with teaching and Craig saw me in a much happier light. For several reasons, I stuck with teaching in hopes of a better year the second time around.
School year ’10 – ’11: One of the most stressful, unhappy years of my life. I was constantly stressed, depressed, and counted down the days until I was done.
These last two weeks in Minnesota were very refreshing for me, and like I said before, the trip allowed me to reflect on my time in Alaska. I think I really started to figure out what makes me happy (or at least content).
Instead of constantly thinking about wanting “out” (as I do in Alaska), those thoughts only occasionally crossed my mind. (This was a very relaxing/refreshing thing because it is exhausting otherwise.)
I know there will never be a “perfect” place to live—there will always be something you don’t like, but hopefully those cons don’t outweigh the pros.
I honestly don’t know if true happiness is possible to find, but I do know that a feeling of content is a good feeling and maybe as close as you can get to true happiness. Thoughts??