Simply Happy

"I’d much rather be rich in good conversation, gratitude, inner peace, and have the good fortune to be able to run free, embracing change and accepting new challenges..."

I am a woman who doesn’t ask for much. In my relationships I only request honesty, openness, trust, and effort put forth. I am a woman who is grateful for even the smallest things I am given. I get tenderhearted when a person holds a door open for me and deeply affected when a stranger offers me their support during a time of intense stress or sadness. I am a woman who gives from the heart with no design of getting anything back. I am a woman who is unstimulated by superficiality and small talk. Regardless of all this, it wasn’t until I sold my belongings and began this journey that I actually realized how little I need to live comfortably. After living a life of having way more than I need, I was surprised at how fast I adapted to living with only the real necessities. In all actuality, the less I have the happier I become. The more I simplify, in turn my gratitude grows. I have one-tenth the wardrobe I used to have; I have no extraneous bills to pay; my phone operates on WiFi only (making me unavailable for long periods of time, which I love); the past 5 months I’ve been riding the bus, a bicycle or walking to my destinations (making me healthier and more prone to enjoying the moment); I have no credit cards, no cable TV or internet service. I am free. Was it a sacrifice? Yes. Is it harder to live? No.

It’s in our nature to live simplified lives. Mankind didn’t always have all of these things we now feel so compelled to obtain. It makes so much sense… The less materials we have to guard/attend to means there’s less to think about, less weight on our backs, less to lose, less to break, less to stress over. One might argue that technology and material things have made life quite easier. I guess that depends on your personal connection to the word “ease”. Without a doubt technology has streamlined our ability to conduct business rapidly and with greater ease so that we are capable of making more money faster. However, this type of “ease” has taken our concentration away from the simple ease of spending time in the kitchen & at the dinner table and focused it on working long hours to afford takeout & pay for the nanny. It has given us a platform to easily keep in touch with friends & family from afar through ‘likes’ and 140 character comments, yet has taken away the close and much more fulfilling personal interaction of house visits and leisure phone calls. Another may argue that we are fortunate in this Age of Opportunity because anyone can become rich practically overnight. That may be so, but let me emphasize that this also depends on your definition of “fortune” and “riches”. Instead of working my life away to bury myself in a pile of expensive clothes and shiny objects, I’d much rather be rich in good conversation, gratitude, inner peace, and have the good fortune to be able to run free, embracing change and accepting new challenges while surrounded by people I love. I don’t need a ton of money to be happy. Millions will not make an easy life—it would make it easier to attain more things, yes, but in this construction of cash an easygoing lifestyle cannot thrive, thus illustrated by the famous proverb: “Mo’ money mo’ problems.” (Notorious B.I.G.) The intense pursuit of money will surely consume the time that is necessary to pursue a quest to enjoy life through fulfilling dreams, upping your capacities, learning, and spending time doing the things you are passionate about—the things you truly enjoy that are done without money as a reward.   

 Volunteering on my day off at Alianza Animal Clinic where I took animals' vitals during their recovery from anesthesia.

Volunteering on my day off at Alianza Animal Clinic where I took animals' vitals during their recovery from anesthesia.

During my time spent in Mexico I worked and lived earning and spending Mexican money. I worked part-time as a paid performer, singing at various locations around Manzanillo & Barra de Navidad as much as 3-4 nights a week accompanied by an incredibly talented guitarist. My other part-time work was spent bartending at a beachfront, open-air bar/hostel surrounded by friends that I now consider my family, drinking tequila, sharing sunsets, and dancing into the wee hours of the morning. In contradiction to my past experience in the USA, the money-making process was a background necessity. Yeah I needed it to eat, but I knew I was surrounded by people that would never let me go hungry. Our outward presence/vibration, synchronization with each other, individual happiness, devotion to the business, and quality of our shared energy were the real priorities. Our respect & love for each other outweighed any greed for money, and because of this, money came easily—like a well-oiled machine.

 HOA family dinner

HOA family dinner

The paradigm I observed during these last 5 months in Mexico was that money is not the driving motivation—family is. The Mexican people want so badly to take care of their loved ones that this is the one thing they work so hard for; it is not lavish things, nice cars, nor the newest technology. Their emphasis on family and sense of community is palpable. They are unified. They care about thy neighbor and give & receive with open hearts. Watching the way these people interact with each other and experiencing the way they welcomed me—an outsider—with open arms was an incredibly heartwarming, eye-opening experience. Their way of life humbled me and reminded me that happiness and contentment do not lie in material things, but within our bonds with each other and with the world that surrounds us.  

There are animals to entertain me, sunrises and sunsets to ease my eyes, waves and fire to become hypnotized by, music to take me away, and friends & literature to enhance or challenge my thought processes. As long as I have food in my belly and a shelter over my head, there is not a material in the world that could make me spend my life sitting in an office, wearing somebody else’s T-shirt, following a stranger’s orders, staring at a tropical screensaver and hoping my request for vacation time gets approved.

It’s just not fucking worth it. This time around I choose to be free. 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea Heil1 Comment