The Pursuit of Happiness by Rob Goyen
Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. (Wikipedia)
Happiness seems to be hard to explain to most people. Maybe its that we are masked by what the world finds happy and what we really define as happy. The Declaration of Independence states that we get the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
So my story is more of the last 2-3 months of my life. There are many things that had been happening around me that where speaking to my soul. Some indirectly and some directly but those ideas have allowed me to see my happiness differently.
A few months back I was injured in a race and shortly there after starting to reflect on happiness. I obviously wasn’t happy I was hurt but I began to try and find things to make me happy since I couldn’t run any longer. I lifted weights, worked more and tried to use my time for the HATR club as well. As i dove deep into other interests I began to find some very definitive lines of happiness and unhappiness. Now I don’t mean unhappy like I just lost a pencil I am referring to unhappiness that effects my quality of living.
As my progression was moving I read a yahoo article that said ” Stop buying things, and start buying experiences.” It home for me. Over the past few years I have bought a lot of things. I would say I am fortunate for what I have but that’s a lie. I’m not fortunate for what I have I work my ass off. 5-7 days a week for the last 5 years. The last 3 years of this has been building a company from 0 employees to a mutli-million dollar company. So the questions is does this make me happy? No..
So as my time away from running was happening I began to seek happiness. I began to listen and read about what made people happy. I started listening to peoples stories on happiness. My brother in law (just finished 2 days ago) was hiking the AT trail from start to finish. His post cards, care packages and since of adventure made me wonder deeply on his happiness. My wife who recently went part time from full time was now happy. We talked in depth about why she was happy now and what it meant her to have free time to enjoy our animals and do some things she wanted to do as well.
Shortly after these stories I was able to go to Reveille Ranch and watch my HATRs run. I watched as member after member finished their race. Watched as people I coach or train with accomplish a new PR, ran their longest or just battled their bodies to over come medical issues. They were happy. I was happy at this moment.
As I spoke to my wife I started to speak into the existence of not doing this job anymore. Of leaving a company I started to pursue other interests. We sat down took a look at what our bills where and what we needed to survive. I knew it would mean I would have to give up extra spending, etc for awhile to accommodate the change. But once the decision was made I felt peace in my heart.
Since I have been sober peace is what I need to remain sober. The stress/pressure of life are my triggers. They always have been for me. Thats how I got to 347 pounds, that way I have abused drugs, alcohol and everything else in front of me. I am an addict at the core. But the monster that these things produce can be good if kept on a healthy track. I am fortunate that I have a great wife, friends and support system to always help me work through things. But this peace I speak of is the pursuit of real happiness.
So within a day I have decided a few things. I am going to risk it all to be happy. Everything I have worked for, thought I wanted and wished for. To be happy.
The following day I said the words that would would change my life forever.
As soon as the words came from my lips there was silence. There was questions, concerns and disbelief from the other end. But again I am pursuing my happiness and that is really hard for people to understand. The questions came shortly after. Can you run for a living? What will you do? Why now?
I calmly told them well I want to be happy. I want to do more volunteering, my humanitarian things.. I want to run the mountains, spend more time with my wife… I told them that I hadn’t had a day off in 6 months including weekends. That i wanted to run more, work less and see my moms more. Still silence…. People get angry when they realize that you are going to chase your dreams/happiness without them. But thats okay.
The same day I made a call to a friend. This friend runs a local business and I told him that I was ready to pursue other interests. I also made some emails to some special people in the industry of running as well. Within hours I had job offers, part time work and people that were excited. My wife, family and friends congratulated me on wanting to be happy and I was grateful to see my family support my interests.
I remember crying after I made the decision. I remember allowing myself just to weep in my car as I drove home that day. The emotions of the pressure of this job were literally bursting through my eyes as I sat in my driveway. I told my wife that I loved her and we nervously talked about the next steps, transition and whats next.
On that Friday the Doctor released me from the boot. And that Saturday my wife and I went on vacation that was already planned to Arizona to see friends hike etc. I can tell you that this was the best vacation I have ever had. No company emails, no laptop, no phone calls. Just me and my wife. I started my first day climbing the largest mountain I could find. I would climb faster, harder than I ever had before. The proceeding days were a mix of playing in the sun, hiking with my wife and being happy. I can tell you that having the stress off me gave me more to love on others. I found myself admiring my wife more, laughing with no cares and just enjoying life. It was a strange feeling to feel that happy but I liked the idea.
As we came back my friend told me that we should celebrate our anniversaries with a trip. 5 years ago this September I started to be healthy. 5 years ago i was 347 lbs. and Jose was the one who told me I was going to die if I didnt change. So he was the first person to stand up and help me when I needed it. Well one year ago via text Jose said ” whats up with Ultras”… And the next day I had him doing 20 miles in the mud with Jeremy as well. A few weeks later he would finish 50 miles of Cactus Rose. So this is both of anniversaries of a sort and he proposed something crazy after us reading about spirit airlines.
So with one good decision comes craziness. Jose and I decide to go to UROC on September 28th. Go and watch the best in the world race from mountain to mountain. To get to go to a big race seemed exciting enough. Well I proposed that we run it. As the plan starts developing Jeremy, Mark and Kevin jump on board as well. Sooner than I can laugh we are all flying, traveling as a family to race on the mountains. Are we crazy I dont know… But I am happy.
So the last 10 days from being home to now have had a lot of impact on me. I was able to train really hard with all the HATR family and start to figure out my job progression. You know whats great about leaving something is that you are able to separate your fears from reality. I think this is why once you break up with someone you finally speak your mind. To be fearless in your pursuits isn’t easy but its worth it. I was also able to complete some training to become a volunteer for the Park that we run. I feel like this is a calling to my heart to make sure that I do my part in giving back to the community with my time. My new jobs, roles and changes will be soon to come after I get done with the run.
So here I am 7 days before the biggest race of my life. 100k through the mountains with my HATR family, my wife’s blessings and I am truly happy.
I want to thank my beautiful wife, my best friends, my HATR family and my connects in the industry for all the support. I wouldn’t have been able to make these decisions with all of your your support and trust. I am grateful and humbled by your actions.
I have learned that the pursuit of happiness is worth the risk. That at the end of the day as long as your truly happy this is all that matters.