good life by kimberly lund
Part of cultivating a good life is finding happiness where you are… and taking the time to find where you are.
The past year (August until now) has been a challenge for me. At almost forty-five years of age, I’ve had to look deeper into myself and try to find happiness where I felt there was none to be found. A few months ago, I found a quote online that said:
Beware of Destination Addiction: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
I knew there was a reason I had found this quote at that moment. I am a planner. Not just a “planner wild girl” who always carries her colorful planner with her and decorates it with customized stickers, but a serious planner. I would never be the type of person who decided on a Thursday to take a weekend trip or loaded up her car and just took off without a specific destination in mind. I love to plan. Birthday parties, holiday dinners, and most of all vacations.
The challenges of this past year have taught me that I can’t always plan everything. With my two oldest children in college, my career becoming more demanding, and our family life in a constant state of flux, I’m the first to admit I didn’t adapt well to my nest emptying. I couldn’t plan when children would be home, for what meal, what holidays they would attend, and in general I had no control over what they would decide to do at any given time. I had to realize that the issues with fluidity of our family weren’t issues caused by anyone else but my reaction to those changes. I had to learn to find my happiness right where I was.
I learned to put down the electronics, pick up a book and escape into a different world on a regular (planned) basis. Something I loved since I was a teenager had fallen by the wayside and I needed to find it again.
I learned that getting in 10,000 steps every day decreases my stress level, helps me sleep better, and makes me a happier person.
I learned that there’s no shame in admitting that you’re struggling. If people don’t know, they can’t help. And there’s no shame in accepting that help.
I learned to give up some of my creative obligations and do what made me happy. So while I serve on the Digital Project Life creative team, I find my fingers messy with glue and physical product just as often as I find myself sitting in front of my laptop to create a layout.
I learned that I am not defined by my children, or my classroom, or anyone besides me. I decide what makes me happy.
And I learned that a tiny little puppy can make my heart swell with love and pretty much make everything better.
As for our vacations – which were so huge when we were a core nuclear family – well, I’ve learned that those plans can change as well. I’m currently sitting in a cute log cabin on a lake in my favorite place: Branson, MO. It’s not what we had planned for this trip, but that tiny little puppy dug into my heart and I couldn’t bear to leave him. So I changed our plans and he’s currently curled up by my feet.
I don’t need to worry about where I’m going next. I’m finally happy with where I am right now.
Kimberly is a part of our 2015 Creative Team. She lives in Kansas with her husband Dan and three children.