A thought about “Happiness”

Before my trail calling, I was searching for something. I had met the one year mark at my first job out of college (my dream job on that note). I had been living in the same house for a year with especially compatible and lovely roommates. My routine consisted of waking up before the sun, going to the gym, eating my one packet of brown sugar instant oatmeal before I left for work earlier than I needed to.  I would see the same great people and clients, talk about the same things, and listen to my bookmarked NPR stations (TED Radio hour = life).  Then, I would leave late to go home. I would look forward to that phone call from Nathan on my drive so I could recap my day with him- which had limited variability from the day prior. I was getting a paycheck, filling my gas tank, feeding myself, dressing myself, paying bills on time, and was in a healthy relationship. I would come home to eat my frozen vegetables in some makeshift dinner, do my online study modules for a certification I was working for work, then go to bed by 9pm. Rinse. Repeat.

Past Isabelle would have thought, “You have made it! This is what the early 20’s are all about.” The first job takes some time to get used to because up until the age of 20- life has a series of foreseeable milestones, hierarchies to move up, and natural reinforcers. I had done the “education” route, I had done the internships and networking, the studying and testing, moved at least one time to a new home each year for the past 5, pushed and pushed up the “approval ladder”. It was exciting, I guess, but also somewhat to be expected. I had my head down, blinders up getting me through this normal life sequence to finally get me to that celebrated and desired title of a “working adult.” But for fucking who?

I remember calling Nathan one night after work, I was in my parked car outside of my house. I was in uncontrollable tears because I was perseverating on the fact that we didn’t live together (seems silly thinking back on it now). He was in his first job as well, but lived over 2 hours away. This February will mark the most beautiful 3 years together. However, I remember crying on the phone that night saying, ” I don’t know why I feel so lonely.”  I felt like my life had platoed and I was putting an unnatural amount of pressure on my relationship to provide me with that next exciting “checkpoint.” I wanted to plan and to keep my mind active. In the back of my mind though, I knew that this feeling was much greater than my relationship with Nathan. That’s when something clicked. I was not in control of my happiness. That same conversation marked one of the first realizations that I needed to take care of my actual SELF and that self cannot depend on anyone or anything. I needed to love that self, put it in the light and beauty, share it with deserving people that make me happy.

My mom, Heidi, is on a whole other frequency of “self-realization” than the common “soul-searcher,” but she has shared with me some beautiful wisdom over the years about how to be happy. One lesson being, “It is only when you truly love your higher “Self”  separate from your physical and material self, can the two rejoin as one and be a transparent vessel to share your joy, spirit, and love with all who need it!” Pretty “Granola” I know…but mom…I’m finally getting it. 
And here is where the magic happened… the universe put the trail in my life. When I focused on letting my true self come through, and allow for the “crazy” desire of hiking the Appalachian trail slowly shine out externally—the most amazing, beautiful, supportive, joy-filled people surfaced and began flooding into my life; some of these people have been here the whole time, some are complete strangers. All in all- this love is real!

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