Forget “Should” and Live the Life You Want to Live

Written by on September 26, 2015 in Conscious Living, Happiness & Humor, Thrive with 4 Comments

Bethany Rosselit | Tiny Buddha

man and woman celebrating life

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There was a time when I “had it all.”

I was in my tenth year of teaching in a small, rural school. I lived with my husband and daughter in a four-bedroom house in a subdivision in the woods. Life was routine, predictable, and secure. We made plans to fix up the house and figured that I would likely work in my job until retirement.

However, two things got in the way of those plans.

First, I felt this constant unrest. My job became progressively more stressful, and I resented the time commitment that seemed to be unappreciated.

I came home to a house that needed constant attention. Cleaning and yard work brought me no more joy than spending hours completing paperwork in my classroom. I began to procrastinate in both areas, which only increased the amount of stress.

Related Article: 8 Things You Should Let Go to Find Your Way Back to Yourself

And then we began sailing. The day we launched our twenty-nine-foot sailboat on Lake Huron, everything changed. We loved the small space. We loved the tight-knit marina community. We loved the traveling.

We loved it so much that we lived aboard and cruised for ninety-three days in the summer of 2012. At the end of the summer, I physically returned to my job, but mentally I was miles away, still sailing the seas.

And that is when we decided to move. My tenth year of teaching in the rural school was my last year living up north. My last year living in a house.

We packed everything we could fit into our Volvo station wagon and drove south. We drove 1300 miles to Houston, where we started a new life. In August 2014, we traded our apartment for a thirty-five-foot sailboat, aptly named Breaking Tradition.

We have broken away from the script everyone thinks they should follow if they want to be “successful.” We do not own property. We take our showers in the bath house, and we did not own an oven for our first year living aboard. My husband and I started out sleeping together on a twin mattress.

Related Article: How to Successfully Co-Create With the Universe the Life of Your Dreams

And yet, we have never been happier. Instead of doing housework or yard work, we walk the docks. Rather than spending the entire day inside a house, we sit on the back deck and talk to our neighbors. Everyone keeps cookies in their boat, in case my daughter comes over.

Your dream may not be to leave it all behind and live on a sailboat. There is nothing “wrong” with enjoying the creature comforts that a house provides. However, is it possible that the conventions we take for granted as being “the way things are done,” are holding you back? Is there something that you only do because you are “supposed to?”

Here are some lessons I have learned, from living a life apart from the script:

1. Rethink “success.”

The greatest lesson I have learned in our journey is to question everything that we think we need to do in order to be successful.

Related Article: The Simple 3P Approach to Ultimate Happiness and Success

“Success” is an arbitrary term, with no meaning on its own. What is the point in being “successful” if it is at the expense of your own happiness? Spending less time working and worrying about material gain can free up your energy for things that really matter to you.


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4 Reader Comments

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  1.' Ronnie Hordell says:

    We did something similar for over 6 years and loved every second. Our touring caravan was our home and we visited most of Europe, even spent some time renting in Mallorca. Have never regretted a second of it and have often thought about going back to the travelling life.

  2.' Jason Michelle Walters says:

    I wish.

  3.' Chinne Chin Chin says:


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