It’s 9:37am and today has been a pretty perfect day, so far.
I woke up at 5:30am this morning. My quality of sleep was great, so there was no problem waking up that early. I finished my daily writing practice in 45 minutes, then I sat for 17 minutes of mindfulness meditation. I went for a 3 mile run with my wife Lela, and then we came home and had breakfast together. Now she’s getting ready to head out to train clients, and I’ll be able to relax and enjoy alone time. Maybe listen to some Jazz, or read a book. Jazz is my new favorite thing, by the way.
Some of the things on my list above may not seem like anyone’s “perfect” day.
Who wants to wake up at 5:30am and write a bunch of rambling nonsense for 45 minutes? Who wants to go outside when the temperature hasn’t even reached a respectable 50 degrees at 8am, and run 3 miles? Who wants to sit for 17 minutes with their eyes closed and desperately try not to think?
Yet, all of the above is MY formula for a successful day. We all have a certain amount of things in our control, and how we spend our time is one of them. I didn’t used to be like this.
I also wasn’t very happy.
So what changed?
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer. Whenever I was challenged with that annoying question that adults ask when they can’t think of anything else to say to a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’d reply, “I want to be an Author.” The response that I’d get was confusing to me- a half smile, a head nod and a change of subject. I’m not sure if this was because no one I told this to actually knew what books or authors were, or if they were unimpressed with my life ambition.
Time went on and my goals changed.
In the back of my mind I still had that urge to be a writer, it never left me. Yet I did absolutely NOTHING about it. It’s funny how we delude ourselves into thinking that we have a lot of time to get things done. We squander time and tell ourselves that we’ll “start tomorrow,” or when the circumstances are “perfect.” It’s like living with a pathological liar, and that liar is your own brain.
Our lies lead us down confusing, windy paths paved with bullshit. Maybe we spend time and money doing things we don’t actually want to be doing. Maybe we give away our souls to someone else who doesn’t treat us so great, but we’re too stupid and scared to leave the relationship. Perhaps we have crappy friends who drag us down. Then we try to impress them with idiotic, desperate behavior so we can be accepted by them. We’re now lying to everyone else in addition to ourselves. Life sucks, but we don’t change a thing.
Aren’t humans supposed to be the smartest beings walking the earth? We’re near the top of the food chain and we can’t even see when we’re in an abusive relationship, or a dead end job and then leave the toxicity behind? It makes me wonder how we even evolved to this point.
I’m 32 years old and I’ve wanted to be an author since I was in second grade.
But, I’m JUST NOW starting to write on a regular basis. Well, since September of this year to be exact. It’s taken me 24 years to get my shit together and follow a dream only I could see.
Do you know why it’s taken me so long?
Because no one got excited about my dream for me. The response to “I want to be an author” did not elicit the same response as “I want to be a doctor.” I might as well have just responded that I wanted to become a janitor (no offense to janitors) when someone asked what I wanted to be. People weren’t impressed or excited for me, so I dropped my dream.
There were other reasons, too. I was lazy and my brain lied to me. I wasted a lot of time doing things that didn’t make me happy. I worked job after job that left me questioning my mental health. I involved myself in relationships that left me feeling the same way. I asked myself if it would ever get better. Then I did nothing to change my circumstances. “Stay safe,” I’d tell myself. “Don’t try to change. What will people think of you?”
There’s a problem with dreams that take up space in your head for years on end. They don’t go away. You can try to smother them with adult responsibilities and emotionally damaging experiences, but they will stay. The dreams will scratch and whine in the back of your head like a neglected animal, starved and covered in it’s own shit. Reminding you every now and then that it’s STILL HERE. Don’t you dare fucking forget about me! The trouble with this is that it means you have to fight to shut that voice down, and that means life remains a constant battle.
You have choices. You can continue to ignore the voice, it will weaken as you get older and you become more inauthentic. That’s hopeful. You might be able to continue covering up the nagging with all of your fake bullshit. But there will be an inevitable manifestation of physical and emotional pain that no doctor will be able to figure out. Life will be nothing more than a passing of days.
Or you can pay your dreams a visit and begin to nourish them. Invite them back into your life and change your routine to accommodate their bloom. Hold them and rock them like little babies. These are your fucking dreams, after all. YOURS. No one else can judge your dream or tell you that they’re not right. You get to decide that. Make a list of dreams or a create a Bucket List and get to work. Make the list, then immediately make plans to knock a few things off the list. Keep doing things that make you feel happy and alive!
Today I consider myself very successful. I didn’t know what that meant when I was younger. I define my success by being able to do whatever I want, when I want and this doesn’t mean that you have to be a millionaire.
I’m married to the woman of my dreams who supports all of my crazy ideas. I run a business that I built from nothing, and I get to help people everyday. I spend my morning doing things that bring me happiness and help me to be more productive, thus making me a better spouse and entrepreneur. I get to travel. I have a cool dog that teaches me new things on a regular basis. And I have people around me who I WANT around me, not just assholes who I have to tolerate. I feel free.
I have decided to embrace my childhood dreams and I encourage you to do the same. Things seem to always come full circle, don’t they? Why do we resist that? Humans can be so dumb sometimes.
Everyone is searching for the magic pill or the new gadget that will turn their lives all around and make everything better. Life doesn’t work that way. Everything you need to make changes is already inside of you.
YOU just have to dig it out and bring the good stuff to fruition.