In the spring of 2016, I read the book The Happiness Equation and to say it changed my life would be an understatement. The message of the book resonated with me deeply, especially when it emphasized doing things that make you happy.
But before I write about that let’s go back to April 25th 2001. At the time I lived in Ontario and my mom lived in Manitoba, she had made plans to retire at 60 and was going to move to be closer to my sister and I and our families. April 25th is the day she died, 4 ½ months before her 60th birthday. At the time I was 10 weeks pregnant with my eldest son who she would never meet.
Since then I’ve thought often about the fragility of life and how quickly it can be gone.
For nine years I had an incredibly satisfying career that allowed me to be creative, make an impact, work with talented, driven, kind women, and still be at home with my kids. It was incredibly challenging and fulfilling, but over the past year I began to have a niggling feeling at the back of my mind, was it still bringing me happiness?
After reading The Happiness Equation I spent a lot of time thinking about what brings me joy. Mostly it’s the simple things. Writing, being creative, working out, being with friends and family, and even something like driving my older son to school every day or playing a never-ending game of tag with my younger son, one that’s been going on for a year. However, there aren’t many jobs to be found that include playing tag or driving my son to school.
But one thing kept popping into my head time and time again. No matter what mood I was in when I left the house, I was always in a good mood when I came back from walking my dog. There is something about the simplicity of being outside and active that always makes me happy.
So the idea was born: Become a dog walker.
However, life is never that simple. Decisions like this aren’t always black and white. There were many, many things about my current job that I loved, including people that I worked with. Could I walk away from that?
It took me months of contemplation that included sleepless nights, tears, and, some very difficult conversations.
But ultimately, it was my mom who helped me do this. I’ve lived more years than I will continue to live and I didn’t want to always wonder if it was something I should have done until a day came when the decision was taken away from me. Sometimes you need to make that leap of faith and hope for the best. So I made the transition and now walk dogs for a living.
Is it scary as shit making a complete life change at this stage of the game? Yep.
Have I lost sleep over it? Yep, that too. When you give up a solid career you also give up a solid salary. We’ve had to make changes in our lives in order to accommodate that.
Do I have regrets? A few. Giving up something you love for something you also love is never easy.
But then I open the door of one of my clients and there is a dog who is so happy to see me he can’t contain himself, and I know that letting my life go to the dogs was the right choice.
Until the next life change comes along.