How To Be Happy When Your Life Takes a Detour

8 Jan

How can you find happiness in times like these?

I have spent a ton of time lately thinking about how to find happiness in times like these. I think about all the different situations that surround so many people in my life. So how can you find happiness when, you lost your job, you lost your house, your child is dying, your child has an incurable condition, you have cancer, your parent just died of cancer, or you are getting divorced. Really the list goes on and on. How can you be happy amidst all the insanity that envelopes your life when you are dealing with just one of those things, let alone multiple things.

My family was hit hard by the economy. The financial stress was creating turmoil in our lives. Once we made the decision to downsize and do what was best for our family, our lives increased a hundred fold. I won’t lie, it was not an easy decision, and one that I spent many nights crying over, but thank god we did what we did. Of course I still have moments where I miss my big bedroom, fancy kitchen, and beautiful hardwood floors, but those moments are fleeting.

I wanted to write about this topic for a second time because I feel so strongly about it.

So here it is. We have downsized and it saved our lives.

It really has hit home for me again today with the new additions to our family. Over the past week we have added 8 chickens and 3 goats to our existing brood. We are getting our land ready for a huge vegetable garden that we will plant in the spring.

My husband and kids are outside everyday working and playing, and enjoying hours and hours of “green” therapy. Grass and sunshine are keeping my family happy and sane. Sure, we still sit inside and watch t.v, check our computers, and play legos, but we are living it up outside. These are things we never did at our old house. We are happy, really happy.

I have finally transformed my feeling of loss, the loss of the life I knew, to a true feeling of joy. This house is amazing for Blaise and Maddock. My kids get more exercise at their own house than they could at any park or gym out there. We spend so much time together as a family, playing and working outside. Our loss really brought us closer together. Our loss helped our family. Our loss became our saving grace.

I think about this topic a lot in regards to Blaise having Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism. I think about how much those two things have enriched me, not destroyed me. I think all the time how lucky I am. I have always loved to cook, I have always been healthy, but PWS has taught me more about food than any book could have ever taught me. I have always had great friends, but PWS has brought me a second family that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I have always had compassion, but PWS has taught me compassion on the purest level. So again this is yet another example of how I turned sadness and loss into love.

I met a man yesterday, a farmer, who used to work construction. He was a very successful contractor, he raised animals on the side. When the economy went south he said that he would start farming full time. He is happy and he is doing well. He could have thrown in the towel when his business failed, but instead he chose to find a different path, and make it joyful and successful.

I meet people like this all the time. I used to think to myself how do they do that? How can they be happy when life is such, pardon my french, crap. I get it now. For me I had no choice, really I had no choice.

I can’t sit and cry everyday that Blaise has PWS. I can’t sit and cry everyday that my son is in pain every moment of his life. I can’t sit and  cry that my son won’t live the life I had dreamed for him. I can’t sit and cry everyday that my son has to fight for everything in his life. I can’t sit and cry everyday that I don’t have my big house anymore. I can’t sit and cry that my life didn’t work out the way I had planned. I did all that, and it didn’t do anything for me.


You can either spend everyday crying, or you can find things to make that loss into your “new life.”

So here are my 3 words for today….

Don’t misunderstand me, it is ok to cry. I have cried a lot. I had to cry and grieve for a long time when Blaise was diagnosed, but then I had to move on.

I had a good friend remind me that “LIFE IS FULL OF VALLEYS AND PEAKS!” Whenever I have a bad day I remind myself of that. I remember that tomorrow I could be back on the peak.

I don’t have to have an AMAZING day everyday, but I make it a practice to find something joyful in the day, even if it is just an itty bitty thing.

I am blessed, I believe that it is important to acknowledge that to myself everyday. I know first hand that my thoughts can have a major impact on my life. If I choose to be happy than I can take steps to see and have that happiness. It is a conscience practice everyday.

So although it may not seem possible right now to be happy amidst all the crap in your life, you can. Even if it is just baby steps in the beginning.

Find just one thing that made you happy today and start there. 😉

I had to go back and add this in. I just read this article online. How perfectly fitting for my blog tonight.


Top 5 regrets people have on their deathbed. Worth the read!

5 Responses to “How To Be Happy When Your Life Takes a Detour”

  1. barbarapotter January 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    Well to start with reading this and seeing my grandkids smile made me happy.

  2. Marina January 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Who needs a therapist when I have your blog!! I admire your honesty Rachel:)

  3. tisthyme January 9, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I love reading your blog, Rachel. It always touches me. Thank you for starting my day off with these thoughts!

  4. James Vincent Knowles January 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Though I’ve never met you Rachel, or your sister Jennifer, one thing comes through all your writing … wholeheartedness. You feel stuff & express it. It’s healthy. Healthy is hard, Rachel. Obviously your sister knows this. God / The Universe / whateveryawannacallitt knows this. Reading about your life causes all sorts of emotions to well up in me. Firstly I think, “geeze-oh, i wish i could do more to help.” Then i look at my own life & realize the only way i can be of any real service to anyone else is to get my own stuff together. For sure Rachel, you’re on the right track. What’s important in life is right there, now. No house, car, furniture, $, etc. causes happiness. Happiness causes happiness. Gratitude causes happiness. Authenticity causes happiness. Giving causes happiness. Slowing down & appreciating causes happiness. And i’m prettyffing sure, just feeling empathy & compassion for others causes happiness. So okay, Rachel, here’s some encouragement! You’re doing fine. There will be better days & worse ones. And each one is full of mini-lifetimes. That’s true of all of us, me thinks. Now, if only i could learn to be as much of an adult as you~! So thank you again, Rachel~! You’re helping me get my stuff together. (hehe… hey, maybe a little encouragement is something i can do for you? maybe a bit of encouragement causes a little bit of happiness?)
    & Gratitude,

  5. Sabrina at MyMiBoSo January 11, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Such beauty in this truth!

    My life coach has me send her a gratitude list daily and no matter how crappy my day I can always find at least one thing (and usually 10) that I’m grateful for.

    I too choose happy 🙂

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