My 6 month Happiness Project

Six months ago, Jared and I decided life was so out of balance that we wanted to do something big to change it. 

We decided to pack up the RV, rent our house out and live in the Motor home for a few months with our two kids. The best part about that was realizing that we really don't need much to be happy as long as we are together. I have heard people say that time and time again but I always thought to myself, yeah right. They are hating the how inconvenient it must be.

Wow was I wrong. I have realized that not only do possessions not make me happy but they can detract from my happiness. I had no idea what a problem I had. I would just consume consume and consume more and I thought that was normal. (Target trips were the worst) I now realize I was trying to fill voids inside of myself with retail therapy. It never worked.

After touring the West coast of the U.S in the R.V. we decided we wanted to take it a step further and travel out of the country. 

We decided to take the kids to Europe for 3 months with no set plans at all. We had an idea of what we wanted to see but we had zero plans of anything. We landed in London and our journey began. 

Three months and six countries later we are now back living in our home here in Huntington Beach California. 

We just got home late last night. I have so much flying around in my head so I wanted to get it out in hopes that is will help someone have the courage to make a bold change...

These past six months have changed my life and I think they have changed it for forever! I feel like somebody smacked me upside the head and told me to WAKE UP! 

The reason this whole journey began was because of this book...

Gretchen Rubin may have been the person who smacked me upside the head and made me think. Her "Happiness Project" was 100% different than mine but it got me thinking in the right direction. I knew if I didn't make some big changes in my life it was going to crumble around me.

I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and the past few years have been challenging for me. I love my babies more than anything but being a mom is CONSTANT. I felt like I never had a break. My marriage was suffering for reasons that In my head had everything to do with him. I was feeling weighed down from everything in my life. Business, Religion, motherhood and most of all a being a wife. I feel like the grind had a hold on me and was ringing every ounce of life I had left out of me. 

Jared had his reasons for wanting to do this too but those were mine. That is why we decided something big needed to change.

Getting ready for the big trek was A LOT of work. I can't even lie about that. We had to get a lot in order but once we were on the road things were already different between us.

Life was just more simple. We spent time with each other and we enjoyed it. Jared and I were have FUN with each other again. We were having fun with the kids and enjoying them in a whole new way.

Exploring new places and seeing new things together was becoming addicting. We wore the same clothes over and over. We watched no T.V.   We disconnected from the world in a way we never had before. We had literally unplugged in every way we knew how and it was proving to be  AMAZING! 

I knew I didn't want to attempt this "HP" all on my own. I knew I needed as much help as I could get if I really wanted to make a deep and lasting change. I reached out to an amazing therapist that I now know was crucial part of my journey.  I did a ton of reading/ listening to books and writing. I meditated and prayed more than I ever have.  All of these things were so crucial in my 6 month journey. 

In Europe life was coming together for me in a way I had only dreamed of but wondered it it could ever happen for me. I felt like I had always dreamed of achieving a certain amount of happiness but wondered if it was unrealistic.  I still remember the day in Barcelona when I knew I had reached it. I had found it! It wasn't because I was in Europe doing things I had only dreamed of doing. It was so much more simple than that. It was that I had simplified and dejunked spiritually, mentally and physically. I was putting my energy into all the right places. I was present with my kids and I was literally enjoying every second of them.  It didn't feel like a task I couldn't tackle being with them. It felt like an honor to be the person who has the opportunity to help them shape their views on how they see the world. I found a new joy in being a wife as well. I was loving my roles. For the first time, I was TRULY loving my roles. Here are a few reasons I think the shift happened for me...

1. I was stimulating my heart and soul in a new way. Seeing something or experiencing something new everyday was key.

2. I had let go of possessions. I had no choice but to simplify and it made a huge difference.

3. I found myself humble enough to seek help and look inward through therapy. I found that most everything I thought was his fault actually had everything to do with me. I learned that I put pressures/ beliefs on myself in my childhood that have made me the way I am today. I started taking responsibility and it wasn't easy but it was HUGE in all of this. I would say this was the biggest for me.

4. I started letting go of religious pressures I have felt in my life and listening to my heart and soul. I started really focusing on my relationship with my Savior and finding truth that set well with my heart and soul. This was so freeing spiritually.

5. I was much more present with my children. I was enjoying them on a whole other level.

6. I was focusing more on me and what I can fix personally than what those around me should fix. 

7. I started seeing the world through new eyes. A lot less judgement and a lot more love. I learned that the most debilitating belief I have ever had is that my way is the only way. That put me in a place of judgement of everyone around me who thought different than me. It was beautiful to see so many amazing people from different countries that were soooo happy. It made me realize that there isn't just one right way for everyone. We are all different and we all need different things to help us fulfill our potential and achieve the happiness God intends for us. This was my favorite lesson of all.

I remember sitting on a rock near the Adriatic Sea my last day in Croatia just praying as hard as I knew how. I prayed to help me take all I have learned and truly apply it to my life when I returned home. I felt like I had grown so much personally and I wanted that to continue. 

We are now home and my 6 month Happiness Project is over. l It has come to an end and I am so pleased with how my heart and soul feel now compared to 6 months ago. I think I was a little depressed trying to balance the pressures of life. Looking back I was and I had no idea. I was just so quick to blame everything around me rather than looking in the mirror. 

I honestly don't think I have ever loved my husband, kids and myself more. I am confident that if we want something to change, it starts with us. I feel so light emotionally and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have my hubby and 2 kiddos by my side.

I came home and I dejunked the whole house first thing. I realized if I have lived six months without all of this stuff in my house, I probably don't need most of it. I have made a few trips to Good Will and I plan to make more.  A simple life is a happy life! That is really hard for me and my shoe obsession but hey I think I'm getting the hang of this whole thing. 

I am beyond grateful for the leap of faith we took to do something different and scary at times. It has made all the difference. I am especially grateful to my main man who has put up with me and loved me even when I have made it very difficult. I believe marriage is about helping each other heal Jared has done exactly that for me. I love you babe! I love the life I am living and it is a great feeling. I can honestly say I feel like I am a good mom and a good wife and that is everything to me. I have searched for a long time to feel content and I can finally say I am content!