Is there a dream that’s been nibbling away at your heart? Maybe it’s travel, or it’s devoting real time to your art or your writing. Maybe it’s a longing to become a professional chef.
Hell, it could be the call to spend a year roller skating across the country.
Your dream is calling out to you, and you so want to heed that call.
And yet, and yet, and yet….
How can you find the time, the spaciousness to attend to that call? It’s hard enough for empty nest mid-lifers – and even harder if you’re still raising a family. Is it possible to attend to your dreams when others are depending on you? How can you even think of giving up a steady paycheck to go after something so frivolous – even crazy?
Take a deep breath.
It’s not impossible.
Does Practicality Fit In With The Dream Life?
No matter how outlandish your dream, you don’t have to shelve it in the name of practicality. Yes, there is a degree of trust and faith that must be cultivated. That’s one part of this dream-chasing thing. But on a more down-to-earth level there are some steps you can take, some planning, some action you can take NOW so that you can pursue that dream guilt-free.
Sure, some folks don’t let those practical considerations hold them back. They hold their breath and take the leap … and many of them come up smelling like roses. Or… sometimes like that stinky water left over in the vase when the flowers have died. They don’t care because they leap into the next thing.
But I’m a bit of a planner, and perhaps you are too. I’ve discovered that planners and dreamers to do not have to always walk a separate path. I believe it’s possible to go for your dreams and still be practical as you go about it.
Let’s say you’ll need to quit your job, or at least cut way back on your current work hours to really go for that big goal you’ve been secretly nurturing for years.
Rather than let that longing fester like an unhealed infection inside – until it gets to the point that you just freak out one day, spontaneously give your notice, and then think, what the hell did I just do??, try the baby step method to getting closer to the lifestyle you desire.
Tiny Steps To Big Results
1. Begin now to incorporate some aspect of your dream into your daily life. This is hands down the most important step of all. If you do nothing else on this list – you’ll still be closer to eventually getting to the life you long for if you do this one thing.
Even if your days are packed, as little as just two minutes can make a difference.Spend two minutes writing, or sketching out ideas for your great invention, or researching travel destinations. Save up for that pair of rollerskates, and then once you get them, spend five minutes a day practicing.
You get the idea. Find some way to incrementally bring a little bit of the dream into your life now. You’ll be amazed at how much more real it will begin to become.
2. Start your savings. This step can seem the most daunting to most people. You may be thinking, how the hell can I start a savings when I have so much debt to pay off?? Once again, think about the absolute smallest increment you can manage to get started. So, put a nickel into a jar for your savings, and another nickel into a jar for debt payoff. After a couple of weeks make it a dime.
The point is to get started. Just that single act can shift your energy. A cushion of savings will allow you not only to purchase the tickets, supplies, or whatever the accoutrements of your dream may be. It will also give you the sense of security, that yes you’ll be able to eat – even some healthy veggies perhaps, once you’re no longer punching the proverbial time clock.
3. Invest in life insurance. This is one form of insurance I can stand behind – and I suggest making this small investment immediately, even if you think you’re years away from taking your leap. It will promote the peace of mind that lets you get on with achieving your dream.
One reason that I got life insurance early on is because I realized that for a small amount of money I could be reassured that my mortgage would be paid off if anything happened to me. It really reduced my anxiety to know that no matter what unfolds, my family would have a place to live. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, a life insurance policy just takes away that worry if you have anyone at all who would be affected by your sudden demise.
4. Each day imagine yourself living that dream. This works best if you spend at least a couple of minutes really sketching out the details. You can do this visualization process while commuting to work, while waiting in line, or taking a walk.
The trick here is to really and truly put yourself there. Don’t dwell on all the reasons you can’t do it now, or on your resentment that you’re not there yet. Just allow yourself a sweet few minutes of envisioning enjoying the day-to-day activities of your ‘dream’ life.
Add in as much rich detail as you can. What are you wearing? What time to do you wake up? What do you eat for breakfast? This exercise has the added benefit of helping you to get clearer on the nature of your dream. Sometimes just picturing a typical day living the life you thought you want to live can cause you to revise your aspirations a bit.
Whatever you do, don’t let yourself be poisoned by unfulfilled longings. Take action – both on the inside and the outside to create some movement.
Breathe. Have patience. Tiny iterations, the smallest of steps, really can lead to the grandest of experiences.