I’ve been thinking an awful lot lately about life and about finding purpose. I’ve gone back and forth trying to determine my goals and the timeline in which I intend to accomplish them. The idealistic part of me would love to have a little family with children that have captivating eyes like their daddy, a house on the lake with a dock out in the sun, a few more rescue dogs that love to cuddle as much as I do, and a Super Target within a five mile radius of my location at all times. The realistic part of me, however, just wants one thing for the rest of my life: genuine happiness.

I want the smell of the fresh air, late at night, looking up at the stars. I want the sound of birds chirping first thing in the morning. I want the taste of smores, sitting by a bonfire, singing the greats. I want the awe that one finds watching squirrels jump from branch to branch hundreds of feet in the air. I want the silliness of kids splashing each other in water fountains at the park without a care in the world. And I really, really, want that for you, too.

I want you to take advantage of that opportunity because you know it’s good for you. I want you to stand up for yourself, proving those who have doubted you wrong, one by one. I want you to be proud of the decisions you have made, because they were the right decision for you at the time in which you made them. I want you to enjoy the little moments when your dog comes to you in the middle of the night during a thunderstorm for comfort, or when your mom sends you an Arbor Day greeting card in the mail even though neither one of you know anything about the holiday. I want the constant “no’s” you’ve been hearing for years and years to one day be a yes. I want the dreams you’ve always considered unattainable to become your new reality.

My most recent read, Girl, Wash Your Face, has a quote in it that has completely re-wired my outlook on accomplishing the things you consider to be ambitions of yours. Rachel Hollis wrote, “nobody will ever care about your dream as much as you do.” In other words, happiness comes TO you BY you. No one can make it happen FOR you. I encourage, implore you even, to do whatever it is that you need to do to find the kind of happiness that makes every room you enter seem a little brighter and every joke you hear a little funnier. True happiness is worth it.