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And no, money isn't the key to happiness. It's actually much simpler than that!

Over the last two years I've been on an emotional roller coaster that has translated into one hell of a journey. I've taken to writing about my quest to find myself. I've thought long and hard about whether or not blogging about my journey is self absorbed, but I've come to the conclusion that if one person finds inspiration in my experiences, just one little ounce of sunshine or good, that it's worth it.

Starting around September 2018, I was deep down in a hole. Professionally, personally, in my relationships, you name it. It was my personal 2020. I had started trying to get my feet under me about six months into this two year road, but that's when my divorce hit and took my feet out from underneath me again. Thus began a bit of a renaissance period for me personally. It sounds cheesy, but I've spent a ton of time finding myself and what I want! Novel concept, right?

I've discovered that the question is really, 'How can we be happy?' I think there are a bunch of different ways to achieve a successful level of contentment. After all, life wasn't meant to be all rainbows and unicorns 24/7.

First, happiness is a decision. Just like wallowing in your own misery can be a decision. Wake up and decide to be happy. It won't get you all the way to the promised land, but it sure helps.

Second, develop and attitude of gratitude and be specific. Tonight I posted the picture of a sunset I thought was gorgeous of my farm featuring my horses in the background. Sometimes, that picture would represent being tied down and trapped by all the responsibilities that go with it financially, emotionally and time wise. But I can't think of anything else more beautiful and soul healing. I am LUCKY to have the opportunity to be surrounded by such bounty. I am BLESSED. Look around and find what you love and your soul yearns for. Then you'll know what to add more of in your day and cut away from your days as well.

Do something for someone else. I went a little overboard volunteering and reaching out to others while I was working to piece myself back together in some people's eyes, however, I think it was just enough. Focusing on others and what you can do for them teaches empathy, which gives you the perspective to understand a little bit more of what's going on in your own life.

Fourth, build your community. I call my network my tribe. Without a solid foundation, you can't let your roots dig deep and grow. Do what it takes to foster healthy relationships. If you need help, get therapy.

Fifth, do something that scares the shit out of you. Push your own boundaries. I quit smoking, rode a horse up a mountain and through a freaking river, I become a TBRI advocate and started working with foster families with children from extreme trauma, I started the road to getting my therapeutic riding instructor certification to work with physically and cognitively challenged individuals. I took off on a vacation all on my own. I traveled to Colorado for the first time and fell in love with the mountains. I also discovered river rafting and shooting. Heck, I lived and worked as an 'essential' employee through a pandemic??!!? You get the idea, challenge yourself.

Finally, explore your spiritual beliefs. Whether it's going back to church, joining a life group or Bible study, aligning your chakras, or reconnecting with our source energy through mediation and prayer, do it. We can't achieve happiness if we don't know what we believe about the world and life in the first place. Find your FAITH! I truly believe He has a plan for us that includes prosperity and happiness!

Did this help at all? It's such an insane culmination of books I've read, therapy, audiobooks and podcasts, church, Bible study and yoga that I'm not sure what came from where at this point. All that being said, despite 2020 being a bitch of a year, I've actually had a pretty good one. Get happy!