Pause for a moment and think.
Are you living the life you always wanted?
If not, what is holding you back?
What are you waiting for?
We come up with so many reasons (i.e., excuses) to not follow our dreams.
Some of the most commonly heard: I need to pay off my debt, I need to wait until my children are adults, and I will have time after I retire.
A few years ago, a co-worker shared the story of his father’s dream of traveling the world after retirement. He worked tirelessly, paid off his house, provided for his children – all the while dreaming of travel. Then, he died suddenly a year before his planned retirement.
When my co-worker shared this story, he said he wanted to live his life differently. He didn’t want to wait. The irony was that he was waiting to live his dream even while he was telling the story.
Life Has No Guarantees
If there is one thing, I have repeatedly learned it is that there are no guarantees.
Life is short.
No matter how much we plan, everything can change in an instant.
For example, I thought I had the perfect life plan. I just finished my bachelor’s degree, was accepted to a Ph.D. program and had a fantastic job. I had “made it.” I was living the life. Then, while driving home from a friend’s house after an excellent holiday dinner, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver.
I spent the next several years in physical therapy, learning to walk again, and rebuilding my physical and emotional strength.
My doctoral program and my dream job required massive amounts of hiking and strenuous activity, and I could barely walk around the block after more than two years of rehabilitation! Not my plan!
No doubt, you have similar examples within your own life, family, or community.
It is also true that good things can come right now!
IF, we grab the opportunity to create the experiences we want, to follow our dreams, and to start living our dream life now!
Change Your Thinking; Change Your Life
Did you just think – “But…”?
What if you replace that thinking with “Yes, and I will start by…”?
After years of rebuilding my life, with great ups and more tragic downs, I settled into my career, home ownership, and the life I loved.
Then last summer, the grant funding for my research ended. After many attempts to secure more funding, I had to accept the fact that I would be laid off in December.
For many reasons, it was the perfect time to transform this seemingly unfortunate event into a grand opportunity! Within a month of finding out unemployment was inevitable, we sold our house and hit the road with a vague plan of what’s next.
We still have debts to pay off and a teen to raise.
However, we leaped into living our dream of traveling, creating (I’m a writer, and my husband’s a photographer), and exploring the world with my son and our two dogs.
Here’s what the naysayers don’t tell you:
- Much of the world is cheaper to live in than the US so you can pay off your debts even faster while traveling.
- You don’t need all the “stuff” you think you do.
- Children/youth learn best when the content is relevant, engaging, and personally meaningful (and yes, you can make “math” all of those things).
- There are often many options for transferring your current skills into work that is not location specific.
- Additionally, some employers are increasingly open to allowing you to work completely or partially offsite.
You might be very surprised to realize your employer values your contribution enough that keeping you remotely onboard is preferable to hiring someone new. I have been successful at negotiating this arrangement with multiple employers in the past.
Being Honest With Yourself is the First Step to Living Your Dream
The first step toward living your dream life is being honest with yourself about what you truly want.
It is often helpful to further define it by writing a story of you living your dream or by creating a vision board.
The goal is for you to see yourself living the life you want.
The more you can envision yourself in the place you are heading the more attainable it begins to feel.
Next, create a list of all the barriers (real and perceived) that come to mind.
Go through the list one by one and see which ones you can easily change from “I can’t because…” to “I can if…”
Another great motivator is finding people that are living the lifestyle you want.
There are blogs/vlogs about almost anything you can dream up. Most people are excited to share how they got to where they are – don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Spend as much time as possible with those that are encouraging you to live your dream life and minimize time with the naysayers.
As we were preparing to leave the US, we quickly learned who to share our plans with and who would generously express their disapproval. We also learned that we needed to save our energy to move forward, so we did not waste it trying to convince others we were making the right decision.
Living Your Dream is Life Changing
Although we are only six months into this new adventure, I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions we ever made.
We have the luxury of time together as a family, we have met outstanding people that give me more hope for the future, and experienced some incredibly gorgeous places in the world.
We are continually learning, growing, and of course still have hard days when life hits us with sickness or tragedy.
However, at the end of our lives, we will know we spent our time living it fully, not just chasing money and possessions, or waiting for the “right time” which never came.
We hope that by our taking this vast leap we can inspire others to do the same.
What are you waiting for? The time is now!