“Do what makes you HAPPY. Be with who makes you SMILE. Laugh as much as you BREATHE. LOVE as long as you LIVE”.
The search for happiness is often confused as an external search when in actuality, the search is within. When life is full of challenges it is difficult to stay focused on enjoying the journey. These bits of wisdom I know and trust in. As entrepreneurs, my husband and I often encounter great risks, but those risks can bring great reward. It is not always a financial risk for a financial reward. Sometimes it is a financial risk with a personal reward and sometimes it’s an emotional risk for a financial reward. We do our best to be grateful for each reward no matter the type.
One of our best risks was picking up and moving to Puerto Rico in 2008. We chose to have an adventure and we packed up our 2 kids and 2 dogs and jumped on the plane. It’s hard to describe how a year in Dorado, PR changed us, but I can say that the personal reward just keeps on giving. We returned to the mainland with + 1 kid and + 1 dog but one of the biggest rewards was fabulous new friends.
We made more friends in 1 year in Puerto Rico than in 7 years in San Diego. We made quality friends where husbands and wives all came together no matter their differences in opinions in parenting or politics. Latin families are built around community and once you make a genuine effort to belong, you become family. We dove into the culture to live it and breathe it, not to just be around it. We are better people and parents because of that effort. My unsocial husband even became more social!
It was only recently (4 years after leaving) that we FINALLY had an opportunity to go back to visit. It was an unexpected trip as my husband got a random call from a friend who needed a caddy for a Latin PGA event in Dorado. So with my husband’s ticket paid for we HAD to consider a way for me to go as well, right? So here is the hard part, the risk. Times have been tough with business at a crawl so the budget became a big obstacle. I had already booked an upcoming trip to Minnesota to spend time with my cousin and 99 year-old grandmother, and then there were those 3 young kids we would need to do something with.
Well, long story short, we entrusted the 3 kids and 3 dogs with our steady sitter and I booked a ticket for a 3 night, 2 day visit to Dorado. I couldn’t have been happier with my visit! (Well, that’s not true, I would’ve been happier if I had more time). I was in constant appreciation of everything. I wanted to soak it all up and take every little memory home with me.
Our friends we stayed with sacrificed their space to offer quality time to catch up. I was treated to a wonderful lunch and a few coffee moments with my girlfriends. I thoroughly enjoyed my first stand up paddle experience (even though it was a bit windy) and our eventual parade through the golf tournament with our boards on a flat-bed golf cart because we parked far away from the landing point.
Because of this trip I realized how much I missed hanging around with the ladies and listening to them speak Spanish, learning as I listened and knowing when they were gossiping because they spoke so much faster. I had missed being serenaded to sleep by the coquis and the feel of the humidity on my skin. It was so great to get back and enjoy a little piece of the paradise we once knew. It made me SO happy. My girlfriends say I must be puertorican, and deep inside I would agree.
The bottom line is that despite the risk, I made the choice to do what makes me happy, to be with ones who make me smile and to laugh, love and LIVE