The other day while working at my part-time job, I struck up a conversation with a customer, as I tend to do.
Something unusual struck me about this conversation, as we began discussing how we came to where we are in our lives.
I mentioned that I quit my full-time high paying office job to go freelance and work as a barista part-time, and he said, "hey, I'm scrubbing toilets now, and I'm happier than I ever was before!"
Curious, I asked if I could interview him for my blog.
Jared recently moved back to Denver. Here is his story about finding happiness.
Beth: What did you used to do that did not make you happy?
Jared: I grew up working in kitchens, which was a continuous party. I used to get into a lot of trouble. Eventually I decided to quit drinking, and a whole new world opened up to me. I started going camping, hiking, and saw more sun rises than I ever had before. I started doing things that I wouldn't have done if I had been hungover and feeling like shit.
More recently, I got tired of working for companies that didn't care about me as an employee. I worked in management for over 10 years, and although I enjoyed it, I realized that I didn't enjoy having someone else manage my time, and my life.
Beth: What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change? Was it something you had to do for yourself or something that forced you to have to make a big decision?
Jared: Just after I quit drinking, my mom passed away from breast cancer. I am so glad that I quit drinking before then, otherwise I'm not sure I would have gotten through it. It was extremely hard to watch, but I'm glad she was surrounded by the people she loved the most.
After my mom died, my outlook on life changed completely. I realized that at any point in time, I could lose someone I cared about forever. It made me appreciate the time I spend with my friends and family, and at the same time work harder at being a better person.
Recently, the big decision was to move forward with ending my relationship with my wife. Divorce is never an easy decision, and this case was no exception. In the end, I decided to make the best out of a rough situation. After I sold the house, I quit my job, and fit everything I owned into my car.
I realized that I could go anywhere, and for the first time in a long while, I could do anything that I wanted. It was one of the most freeing feelings I've ever had in my life. I decided to use the time to travel, and visit friends. I began to heal.
I began to understand that nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and a negative can always be turned into a positive.
Beth: What do you do now that makes you happy?
Jared: I have realized that the stuff I own, the money in my bank account, the job title I have - none of that makes me truly happy. I find happiness in nature, and having the best friends and family anyone could ever wish for. My best friend and I text every morning wishing each other a good day, peace, love, and positivity.
I used to think that having a place of my own with plenty of high-tech things to fill it was what would make me happy. But living a clean lifestyle, and remembering the places I've seen and the people I love is what makes me truly content.
Beth: What is something that inspires you?
Jared: My dad. He has always had my back, and supports me and my choices no matter what. He's awesome. If and when I become a father, I hope to be half the man that he is.
Beth: What is one piece of advice you can give to people unsure of where they are in their lives?
Jared: Don't be afraid to make a change. If you don't like your job, quit - you can always find another one that will make you happier! If your relationship is unhealthy, don't just stay because you think it's easier. It's not fair to either of you. If you're unhappy, take action. Even if you're not sure what action it is - just do something! There is so much more to life, and you shouldn't stay in a place that doesn't make you feel your happiest and best self.
Learn how to do what you love, and it will create positive things around you.
Jared now makes a living helping friends clean their AirBNB rentals, and exploring nature whenever he can.
Everything expressed here was approved by Jared, and are his own ideas and views. The statements above are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog.