What does ‘living the dream’ mean? More importantly, what does it mean to you? Does it describe what you do, how you do it, or who you are while you’re doing it? How you look at it really determines what you’re going to see.
Do you have to be 65 years old before you can live the dream? Do you need to win the lottery? Do you need a degree? Do you need to have kids first…or do the kids need to leave? Does a knight in shining armour need to slay the dragons you fear and bring peace to the fertile land of your imagination?
Here’s the thing…your reasons are just excuses. You’re a spin doctor who knows how to massage the truth. Your flapping gums and well-oiled tongue turn you into a P.R. machine, and falling for your own propaganda is the greatest crime you’ve ever committed.
What you tell yourself is the most powerful thing in the world. If you believe it, it doesn’t even matter if it’s really true. Average, ordinary people overcome incredible odds every day because they believe they can. Exceptionally gifted people sputter and fail because they believe they can’t. It’s weird.
My wife and I sold our house and spent our life savings traveling around the world for a year with our 13 year old son and 9 year old daughter. Even with selling our house we still had to travel on a shoestring budget. We stayed in hostels and with family and friends. We ate french bread, cheese, olives, crackers and fruit most nights, but we ate on beaches and mountains surrounded by million dollar sunsets and vistas. We actually carried a bodum and dark roast coffee in our backpack so we didn’t have to break the bank at Starbucks each morning. Traveling the world together was our dream: how we did it was just part of making the dream a reality.
Here’s the funny thing you discover when you start living the dream. Your dream is someone else’s nightmare. I’ve met people who don’t want to travel the world unless they can stay at 5 star resorts and eat out at fancy restaurants every meal. How they travel is the dream, and more important than if they travel. They’re not inspired by our story…they’re horrified! You sold your house! You blew the money on a trip! You traveled with kids! They usually start to back away like they’re afraid my irresponsibility is infectious.
Regarding living the dream…this is what I’ve learned so far. Tomorrow will be a lot like today. There’s not going to be any extra money and there’s never enough time. If you’re not the ideal age to make the break or take the plunge, tomorrow you’ll be one day worse off than you are right now. And there will always, always be dragons to be slayed in the land of imagination.
I also know you are not helpless, hopeless or left high and dry without chances or choices. Daring to dance close to the edge of hope and possibility is a great place to be. In a moment of bravery, lunacy or clumsy serendipity you might be lucky enough to take a tumble off the well worn path and discover what you’re capable of.
Stop believing your excuses. Be who you want to be or don’t…it’s your choice.
Photos by Rik Leaf – All Rights Reserved