We have spent more than half of the time in our professional careers as Travel Therapists. During this time we were able to take 13+ week contracts all over the U.S. We loved that we could be in a new location every few months. It allowed us to meet new people and experience new places in ways that we would not have been able to do with a standard job. In between contracts we were able to travel and explore parts of the U.S. that I’m sure most Americans have not even seen.
Jason and I worked hard when we were working but we were always able to fully enjoy our free time. We would make it a point to find the time to hike, bike, go camping, and explore a new city both while we were on a contract and in between contracts.
We would regularly take a week or more off in between contracts so that we could go on a fun road trip to our next assignment. Our goal was to see everything that we could from exploring national parks to touring local breweries, and everything in between. Making that time to do the things that we love was utterly important to us. This lifestyle made us feel free.
It is easy to look back on that part of our life with such fondness. Life was just simple. We were young and carefree. But we did have some worries just like anybody else. Jason still had student loans to pay off and with our chosen profession you never knew if you were able to get a contract when and where you wanted. So that could sometimes be stressful. But we tried to make the best out of every circumstance and turn a negative situation into a positive one. We look back on that time of our life with complete happiness and wouldn’t change any part of it.
Our life now is much different. We stopped traveling and took permanent jobs as therapists when our first child was born in order to settle down and have what we thought was a sense of normalcy. Shortly after, we talked about hitting the road again but then child number two came along. We love our children to no end and would not change our family life for anything. But after living in one place for the past 4.5 years, we are getting antsy and feel like there are some parts of our life that are stagnant.
This motionless feeling and the question of “what am I doing with my life?” has been a drive for us to make changes and find answers. Making the decision to be financially independent has made us see things differently. It has given us intention and has compelled us to create the life that we want.
I think we all strive to live a meaningful life. But sometimes we have to get around the obstacle of figuring out how to get there. Over the past few years we have worked on improving ourselves in order to enrich our lives individually as well as make us stronger as a family. We are continually learning and working on finding ways to fill our lives with purpose and balance.
Here are 5 actions that we take and that we make a continual effort to work on, in order to live our life to the fullest:
DECIDE WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU
To feel more contentment in your life you need to find what makes you happy. First you need to identify meaningful relationships, people, and activities that bring you joy. When these components and actions are aligned with your values, life is usually pretty good.
Identifying your personal values is important. Honoring your values when making plans and decisions in your life will make you feel more fulfilled. When we don’t do this our mental, physical, and emotional state suffers.
Life is full of distractions and most of us are multitaskers with a million things on our mind. This sometimes leaves us feeling overwhelmed. Bringing yourself to the present moment forces you to focus on one thing at a time.
Being aware of your mind and wandering thoughts is the first step to being present. This awareness gives you the opportunity to choose to return to the here and now. Slowing down allows us to appreciate the little things in life more.
One great way that we have found to practice being present is meditation. Meditation makes you take yourself off of autopilot for a short time. It helps you to build awareness of yourself, improve your focus, and decrease stress.
EMBRACE NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Staying in your comfort zone feels safer but can make your life feel predictable and mundane. Without change, there is only the status quo. When you veer from your normal path, new opportunities appear and embracing these opportunities is what allows us to grow.
WORK HARD/PLAY HARD
We have always tried to find the balance between work and play, which I think is important for both your mental and physical health. Having this balance makes life more whole.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Time spent on self care is often the first thing that gets neglected in our busy lives.. And I have to admit that this is something that I struggle with. It is hard for me to not feel like I am being selfish when I take the time to care for myself but it is so important for our health and wellbeing.
Taking care of yourself includes making the time for exercise, sleep, participating in activities that bring you joy and connecting with people you care about. It is all about taking care of both your physical and emotional wellbeing, addressing both your body and mind.
I have to remind myself, daily, that the pursuit of health and happiness is far from being selfish.
In the end, taking care of yourself will make you a better spouse, parent, employee, and friend.
Making the time to figure out how to live your life to the fullest should be a priority. It is powerful to be able to choose to spend your time and energy on things that make you happy. Life, of course, is not perfect and our everyday lives can sometimes be difficult. But pursuing a life that makes you a better person is worthwhile.