How to be happy

I regularly read a blog by Adventurous Kate (another Kate!) and her recent post entitled I’ve Found The Secret To Happiness really resonated with me! She writes about her life one year ago, in the wrong job with an unhealthy lifestyle and really, not living a life that fulfilled her. She has since completely changed her career and lifestyle, leading her to greater happiness. Her blog is so inspiring and upbeat, I always look forward to new posts!

So what on earth does a travel blog by a girl I’ve never met have to do with naturopathic medicine? I’ll get to that, but first I’ll explain why her post inspired this blog.

Are you happy with your life?

Even though her story is so different from mine, I relate because I too was living a life that looked really great but was not fulfilling. I had graduated from Queen’s with a degree in Commerce and landed my “dream job” with a major consumer packaged goods company. I made more money than I had ever had in my life and spent a lot of my free time spending that money on clothes, accessories, fancy dinners, wine, and just a lot of “stuff.” While I loved the people I worked with and even enjoyed the challenge of my job, I was not happy. I was not in a career that utilized my greatest talents, I did not have the freedom that I wanted, and I had a lot of stuff but not a lot of great experiences.

My career change

So, after lengthy research and consideration, I quit my job and went to naturopathic medical school. Several people in my life remarked that this was a crazy choice, since I had so much going for me and such a bright future. I had to move because I couldn’t afford the rent on my apartment. I could not live alone (as I had wanted to do for years) because it was too expensive. I gave up the company car, new clothes/shoes/toys all the time, and my time (to class, studying, and part-time work). I gave up material comfort, career prestige, and 4 years of my life. I took on health challenges, loneliness, exhaustion, and a massive student debt. However, even though those years were incredibly difficult in a lot of ways and I will spend many years to come burdened with debt and the incredible responsibility of naturopathic practice, I’m happier!

I spend my time doing things I enjoy and learning about what interests me. I get to run my own business, which I love, and write about my interests here! I get to meet interesting and diverse patients and then spend (probably too much of) my time researching, analyzing, and formulating treatment plans for them. This career change has also changed the rest of my life. I have met truly amazing people and have had enriching experiences I would not have had otherwise. I have a lot more control of my time, so I have the flexibility to live how I choose.

Wellness is happiness

So let’s return to the question of why a naturopathic doctor has written a whole blog inspired by a post by a stranger travelling in Asia? The point is that a very important part of wellness is happiness. You can eat perfect, exercise perfect, and live a perfect life but if you aren’t happy, your health and well-being will suffer and this will one day manifest as disease. This is where you say “duh,” but I hope you also consider what makes you happy and how you can get more of that in your life.

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