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  • Writer's pictureChante Jero

So this is what a happy life looks like!

It's interesting to me to see how far my life has gone in such a short time.

For most of the 40 years I spent on this planet, I kept listening to what society told me I should hear. I lived with the idea that I had to check certain boxes before enjoying life. Society told me that I needed to have the "perfect" career. A college degree. That I needed the house and the 2.5 kids. The perfect body. I needed to purge all my hopes and dreams and make this "perfect" life.

I'd spend hours upon hours scouring the internet for the "perfect" diet to help me achieve the "perfect weight" to enjoy life in this body. I needed savings and zero debts before I could have "fun." I was living a life that would promise me a good retirement, but it would be a pretty miserable life to live getting there.

After spending year after year trying to chase these expectations that society had put upon me, I was miserable. I hated myself and my life, and I was generally miserable. Part of me thinks I was pretty good at hiding my unhappiness. But maybe I'm naive in thinking I fooled anyone other than myself. And I was no closer to losing weight, being out of debt, or living the perfect "happy" life.

A few years back, I started to change my mindset. I stopped caring what people thought of me and started caring about my feelings. I began to purge toxic ideas and people from my life.

I started making decisions, even though I knew someone might be disappointed in me. I used money intended to pay "that bill" and purchased a one-year membership to the dog park because Moo loved exploring while I got to be in nature; I got to watch my girl live her best life while getting exercise. Huh, who knew that exercise didn't need to be a punishment for being cursed with "fat."

I decided that while I love kids, they are not the future that I want for myself. And this time, I knew that it was MY choice, not one I was making for someone else's future. I stopped working every hour they would allow, thinking that it was what I needed to get ahead in life, and started living a life I love. I started making healthy choices that made me feel guilty at the moment but glorious in the after-effects.

It wasn't until I stopped living a life that society told me was expected of someone "like me" and I started living a life that truly made me happy that things began to make sense.

I might not have the best saving habits, but I have the best life I have ever lived, and I'm making progress toward financial security. And I might not be a perfect weight, but I'm making healthy choices for my body because I enjoy how it feels to give my body what it wants instead of punishing it for being "fat." It's crazy how much the choices you want to make for your body when you love it are very close to the ones you "should" make when you are punishing it.

I got the position I felt like I had been FIGHTING for, without a fight, by just being me!! I finally found my other half, who completes me by just being me!!

I used to go to bed each night excited to wake up in the morning to have a cup of coffee. It was the one thing I truly enjoyed in life. It is not a joke or an exaggeration to any degree. And now? I couldn't tell you the last time I had coffee; I'm finally living a life worth waking up for!

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