I was recently scrolling through my Facebook page after someone commented on an old post I had written back in 2015. I must have been in a reflective mood but truth be told every thing I said then is what I still believe now. I thought I would share it here with you.
As a young girl in Nigeria I remember thinking how perfect my life would be if I lived in the USA. It hasn’t been perfect but despite some of the struggles I am grateful for the journey. Like you I just want to be happy but what I think will
make me happy continues to evolve. I used to think I had to be thin, I had to live in a big house, I needed to have lots of money….etc. After treating so many sick and dying people I realize none of the above is necessary to be happy.
For me it’s about finding joy in the small things. A good day means I am healthy, I laughed, learned something new, helped someone feel better, have people who love me and I love them back and every once in a while I eat something delicious and travel to somewhere new. #youDeserveToBeHappyNow #Blessed
Since writing the above my family has moved from the small southern town we lived for 10 years. We closed our medical practice and moved out of our large brick home. It was a difficult decision because despite the fact that I enjoyed working for myself it was hard to be happy for so many reasons. I started to realize I was happiest when I was away from the place and so was my spouse. Our children were getting older and not feeling challenged in school with limited educational opportunities. We missed having close friends and were having to travel far to see our families which made it very difficult to continue to live there and be happy. Then there was the financial burden. Due to the high levels of poverty, unemployment & narcotic abuse a large majority of patients expected care without the ability to pay. Years of practically working for free had taken its toll.
What seemed like a good idea in the past was no longer ideal or tolerable. It became clear to us that we needed something more – not more material things but more meaningful experiences, more challenges and more growth food for the soul. Sure it was nice at times living in a small town where everyone knew you, feeling like a big fish in a small pond and living in a house with ample room for the family to spread out. I remember the first time I saw the house on the hill, it was love at first sight. After Cornell University I had always been drawn to large historical homes that reminded me of the Gothic structures I had seen in school. What was once love had turned into pain after years of pouring money into endless repairs on an old home. Something was always wrong and at this point we were so over it!
The thought of closing my private practice after 10 years of serving the community was scary but became the obvious choice if my family and I were to be happy. No, I was not happy saying goodbye to so many people I had known so intimately and closing a business we had worked so hard to build, but after focusing on what really made us happy – where we saw our life in the future and what was really important to us – we came to the conclusion that when something no longer serves you, you must let it go, otherwise it remains an anchor holding you back.
So fast forward months later we now live in a larger southern city in a small apartment without the grand staircase, chandelier or huge lawn but we are happy, my husband and children are happy, and we are not financially rich but we are healthy and that is the most important form of wealth. I will be honest, I do miss my large kitchen and ample cabinets but I am happy because despite the small living space our world has become so much larger.
So what makes you Happy?