Be Your Own Happiness Architect

By: Amanda Vining, Guest Contributor

One of my favorite philosophies is, “Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it always gives you what you need.”

A few months ago, I graduated from college. For the first several weeks, nothing went according to plan. I wanted to live with my grandparents in Louisiana and be there to help them, but they moved into assisted living earlier than expected. I accepted a job with a local non-profit, but it turned out that the position was unpaid. Everything felt chaotic and uncertain. Then one day, a professor from my alma mater reached out to me because his nanny had just moved on to another job. He asked if I would be interested in becoming a nanny to his two pre-teenage sons. I accepted his offer, and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.

For the first time in my entire life, I am completely and utterly happy. I wake up every day excited to go to work and interact with my kids. Even the dreaded “homework time” brings me enjoyment. Whereas before I constantly planned the "next thing" in my life, I now live in the present and celebrate all of the amazing things in my life.

But no matter how happy I am with my current situation, the responses I receive from everyone, including my parents, my friends, and people I barely know are: “Why are you a nanny if you have a college degree?" and "Don't you want to do something in your field of study?" and "When are you going to start a real career?" and "Don't you want to do more with your life?"

I identified a theme that no matter how happy and content you are with your life and who you are as a person, the rest of the world will send you messages that you are not okay. The message that I have received this year is that my job is not sufficient. But not sufficient for whom? It's more than sufficient for me. It's rewarding, I have wonderful relationships with the kids I nanny, it's helped me grow as a confident and positive woman, and, more than anything, I'm HAPPY! I feel like we, as a society, talk so much about being happy, yet everyone else is there to define what happy should look like for you. The struggle is blocking out all of those external voices and messages that tell you that you're not happy, successful, etc. And there are so many of those voices out there!


It is so important to block out all of the external voices telling you that you're not good enough and to stay true to yourself. When people first asked me why I am a nanny, I countered and gave a defensive answer about how I wasn't going to be a nanny forever, how I was just enjoying my 20's, or how it was merely a transition year post-college. But now when people ask me, I tell them that I've never been happier and even though it may not fit what they believe I should be doing, I have no desire to change what I'm doing any time soon.

Let's Chat! What does YOUR happiness look like? OWN it and share it with others here!

About Amanda

amanda.jpgAmanda is an all-star nanny living in Austin, TX. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a self-designed degree in Children’s Rights. In her spare time, Amanda can be found scouring Pinterest for her latest craft project, drinking coconut mochas in her favorite coffee shop, and advocating for sexual violence prevention on her blog, Talk About Rape (




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