One of my favorite sweatshirts has the saying, “Living The Dream.” It’s old, tattered, and the embroidered decal is falling off, but I refuse to throw it away. I won’t part with it because it reminds me that dreams can change and evolve.
The American dream of a career, marriage, kids, a dog, and a white picket fence is picture perfect. Right? Growing up, I believed that if I went to university I’d get a great paying job that I loved. If I found a man who loved me, I’d have the perfect marriage. If I had 2 kids, I’d be content. If I lived in a big house that was beautifully landscaped in a great school district, I’d be set. I had all those things and I was “living the dream.”
Then 40 crept up on me. I became aware that my dream had changed. I had evolved and wanted something different. I switched occupations because I was no longer fulfilled in the day to day grind that had no meaning. I found something I loved to do. I reject the expression, “If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s a load of horse shit! I love what I do, but I work longer hours than I ever did before. I do, however, believe that if your work has purpose and meaning, the time spent won’t be wasted. The notion that you can only be complete if you have a marriage certificate is a fallacy. I have many single and divorced friends that are happy and content. If I’m honest, I know more unhappily married couples than divorced. Living in a big house isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. I’d be perfectly happy with less space and maintenance.
There’s more than one pathway to happiness. Change isn’t easy. It requires us to dig deep and answer some difficult questions. Setting yourself free from all the preconceived notions of who you’re supposed to be and what you’re supposed to do just might bring out a new dream. Freedom comes in awareness and the ability to choose who you want to be and how you want to live.