Trudy can’t say for sure when she became unhappy with her life, but she knows exactly when she realized she was: on November 10, 2013.
It hadn’t been a particularly horrible day for her. In fact, it was a day much like any other; one spent mostly at work, bored to tears, with only the prospect of going home to an empty house and an evening of really bad television at the end of it all.
“There has to be more to life than this,” she said. “I deserve to find happiness just as much as the next person, but where shall I begin my search?”
She decided that the so-called happiest place on earth, Disney World, would be the perfect place. It took two flight delays due to inclement weather to get her there, and when she arrived she was sorely disappointed.
“I forgot how much I don’t care for children,” she said just as a five-year-old ran into her with a dripping ice cream cone. “Maybe a spiritual retreat is what I need.”
So she headed to Sedona, Arizona and fasted for a day inside a sweat lodge.
“The only insight this has given me is that I’m a gal who needs to eat on a regularly scheduled basis. Perhaps I could benefit from a self-help book.”
Off to the nearest bookstore she went, only to be faced with too many choices.
“Am I unhappy because I don’t believe in God, because I don’t believe in myself, because I have too much gluten in my diet, because I have deprived myself of gluten unnecessarily, or because I’ve never done anything daring? Would white water rafting change my outlook on life?”
White water rafting didn’t change her outlook on life. All it did was get her soaking wet and scare the bejeezus out of her, so the search continued. She tried dance lessons (two left feet), speed dating (too many men in gold chains), and stand-up comedy (terrible at telling jokes). It took a week of bed rest brought on by a bad case of the flu for her to finally see the light.
“I’ve tried all the things that other people like, but it still hasn’t gotten me any closer to being happy,” she said while lying in bed with a fever. “If only I could spend my days making gourmet chocolates. Now there’s something I actually do enjoy. Hey wait…”
For the first thirty-five years of her life, Trudy Nelson had been doing what she thought she was supposed to be doing: working in a safe career, engaging in the social activities that other people thought were fun, and taking the same vacations as everyone else. Not once did she give any serious thought to what she actually enjoyed, but once she did there was no stopping her. Champagne Truffles became her specialty, not that anyone ever complained about her Star Anise or Curry Truffles.
Being yourself is the true key to happiness. The day Trudy realized that was the day she stopped frowning for good.