Living the Dream

I have talked about this before and time to do it again.

A life fully lived is one that has had its fair share of triumphs, failures, temptations, disappointments, and fake news. I believe that once I reached my mid-70s, I have discovered what works and what doesn’t. I have a better sense of what’s valuable and what isn’t. I may even have a few thoughts on how to grow old gracefully. Perhaps that was a little presumptive of myself, but what can you do at this stage of life?

Now that I have all this wisdom I was eager to share it. The first surprise I got was that nobody wanted advice. I could see that people around me had questions, but they were all focused on doing it themselves. The other surprise I found was that most people had the same number one regret once they realized that life had an endpoint. Not only people around me, but I found books on this subject with the same conclusion.

The big regret was this; they did not realize their dream. Most often I have seen it expressed like this; I wish I’d dared to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. All I had to do I look at my own life to see this. I got caught up in what well-meaning parents, children, spouses, mentors or bosses wanted. I have a very creative three-year-old in my life that gets just about whatever she wants.

When I was teaching self-mastery, I would say that little is more important than finding your path – and accepting the responsibilities and obligations that come with it. Most people understand this but rarely do it. It can take courage and determination to overcome the expectations of family, co-workers or that cute grandchild. Sometimes it is not others holding you back, it is you.

There are a lot of reasons that we don’t follow our dreams. One of my surprises in life was a health issue that was not diagnosed until I was 70. The people I have met in my support groups, as well as myself, have discovered that our time here is shorter than we think. Health grants us the freedom to pursue our dreams, and once it’s gone, we lose that ability. For years I postponed my dreams, deferring to the needs and wishes of others. Most often I was talked out of my plans and did not aggressively pursue my dreams. I always thought I had time until one day I woke up and discovered I was out of time.

Now I have another choice to make. I can give up, or I can start living. You don’t have to have some major event in your life to get this choice, you can decide now. You don’t have to be a jerk about it and go rob a bank, but you can start on the journey. If you are at a loss on how to start than step one is to ask for help.