If this post had a second subtitle it would be this: Don’t settle when it comes to your dream life and don’t get sidetracked by security, external success, or money. Also, this post comes to you in 2 parts, enjoy part 1 below 🙂
THINKING ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
Sometimes I feel like we are led to believe that there are a bunch of pre-arranged lifestyles, aka different career paths that currently exist, and it’s our job to figure out which one appeals to us the most (or sucks the least). Then, we are supposed to take the steps towards making it become what we do for the rest of our lives. Whoa! Scary. No pressure or anything! I remember being primed this way in high school. In Planning class, they wanted us to pick the career that we were going to strive for from there on out. I do think it’s important that schools prepare us to enter the work force, however, the way they go about it can restrict us in what we think is possible for our lives.
I want you to create an image in your head of what you think your future will look like. Where do you live, what do you spend your time doing, who are you with, and how do you make money? Now, imagine your wildest dream for your future. This is your absolute dream life! Don’t hold back, be outrageous, and really focus on what you desire.
Does this image look different than the previous one? How do you feel about that? Does it make you sad at all? Well, I think these images often do differ and it makes me sad! I think when we imagine our futures we need to dream big first! Before we worry, before we break it down into steps, and before we think about what other people will think of us.
When we plan our futures, we tend to do so within the boundaries of safety, security, and minimal experiences of fear, threat, or chances to fail. Doing so is logical, realistic, and obtainable. But it could also make us settle for less. You’ve only got this life (for all intents and purposes) so why not strive for your wildest dream?! If you can think of your big picture first, you might actually have a chance of making it happen! Now, don’t go imagining a future where you sit by the pool and money rains down from above, but if you dream of being an astronaut or artist, then you can f***ing make it happen!
Just because there are so many systems in place, like university, college, 9-5 jobs, gender roles, and career blueprints, doesn’t mean that you can’t create your own system for your life that is just yours! You can also work within these systems in a way that is unique to you!
DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO?
What you love has to come first. You can figure out how to make money doing it after. I have come across way too many people in my life who don’t enjoy what they’re doing for approximately 40 hours of each week, and have been doing so for years. Whether they didn’t think big enough, they let money get in the way, or they just got stuck, I can sense that they’re not happy. They tell me it’s too late for a career change, or they found something that supports their family, or buys things to help them enjoy their time at home. This is fine and supporting your family is super important. But that’s all it is: fine. And that’s at best! A lot of them actually report being depressed, bored, or very unfulfilled, which ends up preventing them from truly enjoying their time with their family anyway! I hate this! It sound to me like they feel as though this is it for them, that this is all they’re capable of or all that exists for them in life. I think certain societal structures and expectations make us feel this way. I understand that this isn’t how everyone feels, but It hurts my heart to think that I can only name less than a handful of people in my life that feel excited about going to work and even fewer that would say they love their job and feel fulfilled doing it. I’ve been in this place and I don’t want to be there forever! When we put security or money before our happiness, we set the tone of our lives to be lacking in the areas of true importance!
What do you really love to do? Even if it isn’t a career, it can be anything! There is a way to make it into your living if you make it the focus of your life. You may say that your hobby isn’t easily made into a career, but consider Twitch streamers, YouTubers and drag queens, to name a few. Isn’t it worth a try? This is your life we’re talking about! I don’t think it’s meant to be spent feeling crappy and doing things just to fill time and bring home money. I just won’t accept that. If you put in the effort, I think the universe is going to have your back and help you get there. And the best part is, it’ll be in your own weird, original way.
You may also think that you don’t want to turn your hobby into a job, and that’s fair. That isn’t for everyone. Maybe you’re happy with a tolerable job if it means that you can come home and do whatever it is that you love at the end of the day. If that works for you that’s fine, just make sure your job isn’t taking up your mental energy and causing you to feel negative emotions, preventing you from fully enjoying your hobbies.
WHY DO WE DREAM SMALL?
What makes us dream small in the first place? The answer is usually fear! That good ol’ emotion that comes in handy when keeping us alive, but can also get in the way of us taking risks that could pay off in the end. Fear makes us settle for tolerable careers because we want to be secure, respected, or because we think we might fail at creating our dream life.
Don’t let your fears stop you from dreaming in the first place. Dream huge! Just create a wildly, joyful and successful life in your head; one where you look at your fears as signs of what is important to you. One with love, joy and fulfillment. Only once you’ve done this should you turn and focus on what it takes to get there and what fears you need to overcome to make it happen.
MONEY OR TIME?
Do not go into a field of work because of the money. I’d say this is one of the top predictors of an unsatisfying life. If you need to be struggling financially for a while in order to be working towards your goal and doing what you love, then it will be worth it in the end. Say f**k you to how the world says you have to make money and what you should prioritize. Put your happiness before material wealth.
Time is more valuable to me then money. I would rather work less hours to be able to spend more time writing and doing other things I love, than working full-time at a job I dislike and coming home exhausted, stressed, and with money to spare. I’m lucky that I currently have both a job I like and enough spare time to do the things I love. Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York, said in a recent podcast that, when he started out, it was more important to him to be making just enough money to do what he wanted to do (photography) all day long than be more financially stable and work somewhere else. He didn’t start out by focusing on how to make money doing photography, but rather on making sure that he was doing the thing that he loved, as much as possible. I think this is the definition of fulfillment!
We think there needs to be financial security first when planning our careers, but aiming for that often leads to us pushing aside and even stepping over our dream work.
GREAT! NOW I REGRET EVERYTHING I’VE DONE SO FAR!
If you’re realizing that your path needs to change in order to reach your dream life, you may develop regrets. I want to ask you not to feel like you’ve been wasting your time. You may realize that you haven’t been taking any steps towards the life you want, but that doesn’t mean it’s all been for nothing! For me, I think I needed to work the jobs that didn’t inspire me to figure out what it feels like to be unfulfilled! For example, working in management taught me about leadership and made it clear to me what I don’t want in a career. Going to university for Psychology taught me a lot and got me comfortable with writing. All the negative emotions I’ve felt allowed me to connect more with others. I wouldn’t be able to write about improving life and mental health if I hadn’t gone through some depressing, unfulfilling, sh*tty times myself. These things have all added to my ability to create interesting work that is uniquely able to be created by me!
If what you’ve done in no way relates to your goals, at least you’ve learned what you don’t like! You now know what not living your dreams looks like and how much of a tragedy it can be. I understand that not being fulfilled is not the world’s worst tragedy. There are truly tragic things that occur but remember that you’re not contributing to the world by existing in a place of boredom and un-fulfillment, living below your fullest potential.
Thanks for reading, part 2 is to follow 🙂