What does it mean to live your best life? And can you live an exciting life despite the fear & extreme circumstances like a pandemic?
In 2018, rapper and comedian Lil’ Duval coined the term “living your best life” from his song entitled “Smile (Livin’ My Best Life).” I believe it is possible to live your best life, no matter what. It is essential to clarify the experiences you desire, decide how you want to live, and intentionally execute your idea of “your best life.”
Recently, fear has become a dominant force that has steered us away from having faith and hope. Pandemic and political climate has caused people to feel anxiety, stress, and depression. The fear of uncertainty has crippled our ability to live in the now. But to live a fulfilling life, we have to be willing to give up the things that weigh us down. Living your best life is about embracing moving forward regardless of your present situations.
When I finished the military, I struggled with the idea of how I was going to thrive, making less money. However, I chose to find the silver lining in my circumstances and not allow my environment to dictate my outcome.
To live your best life, you have to be willing to do the following:
Make a choice. Get clear on what you want and make a decision even while feeling fear.
Get tunnel vision. Let go of the distractions & focus on your goals. If certain people, places, or experiences are not leading you in the direction of your dreams, then release them gracefully.
Move Forward. When you move forward, it helps you keep the momentum to find better solutions. As you move ahead, keep a Nemo mindset, keep swimming, and don’t stop.
How many times have you looked at your life and realize you are not living the life you desire? Did someone tell you that your dream was unattainable? Or did you let society dictate to you what was more important in your life?
When we are children, we believe we can be anything we desire to be in life. No matter how ridiculous our dreams may seem, as a child, we believe in our thoughts. As we shift into the teenage years, we start to let society dictate to us which journey will be profitable. We begin to focus on reality instead of the desire of our dreams.
The child inside of us starts to disappear because reality becomes more important than our childhood dreams. Our lives no longer hold enthusiasm or passion; instead, our adulthood has made us apathetic. We begin to forget about the vision we had to live a life full of wonder, passion, and excitement. Our dreams have become faint whispers needing a fresh breath. What can we do to resuscitate our passion for pursuing our dreams?
The first step to pursuing your dream is to reconnect with your childhood dreams. When I was young, I enjoyed writing, and I remember my Uncle Dave would always tell me I was going to be a famous writer. I remember in 2003 while living in Sicily, my love for writing reignited when I read Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” for open mic night. Four years later, I published my first poetry book. The little girl on the inside of me reconnected back with my lifelong dream to become a writer. It was up to me to answer the call!
The second step is to write a list of the the things that stopped you from pursuing your dreams. After you recognize the roadblocks begin to write a list of possibilities of following your dreams. (For example: Roadblock: I stopped pursuing my dream of painting because I didn’t think I was a great artist. Possibility: I can start taking art classes at a local gallery to brush up on my artistic skills.)
The last step is to surround yourself around people who are living your dream. When you surround yourself around like-minded people you are building a community of support. When you have a support system it fosters a life filled with enjoyment, creativity and success.
So pursue the life you desire instead of burying your dreams. Dreams are meant to be lived out loud!!!
On a starry night I watch the clouds part easily, making a path for the moonlight that glistened upon my face. I thought about how dreamy and magical the moon danced across the sky. The moon was captivating all own its own. It did not need any special entrance because it did what it was supposed to do every night. I found myself thinking how the moon was not sacred to be itself among the other stars. In some crazy way, the moon knew how special it really was to the solar system because without it nighttime would not be the same. Just like the moon, we could learn that our dreams, purpose and passion in life have a specific role in the universe. When we defer our dreams we minimize who we are solely to become a figment of someone else imagination of what our life should embody. Many of us wanted to become someone great before we started to believe the lies about who we were not. We allowed the lies to shape our world so we became a stain glass, beautiful on the outside empty inside. The emptiness is due to the fear of living our dreams. For some of us it has become easier to live in a comfort zone than to defy the odds and explore the thing that sets our soul on fire.
I can fondly remember when I decided to leave the military lifestyle and venture out into the wild….the real world. I was uncomfortable because the military lifestyle had become a safety net. The military was a place where I had a support system and endless resources to accomplish my career goals. However, after nine years of serving in the US Navy I was no longer happy with the career path I chose to pursue. I knew I needed my personal freedom to do what I wanted to do on my own terms. So, I created my wings of bravery to live out my dream of being an author and writer. I cannot lie to you I was afraid, I failed plenty of times but I could no longer just exist.
You may wonder, did I allow failure to stop me? Well, to be honest for a moment the failure did stop me but then I wondered what I learned from my failure. I learned what success was and was not. It helped me become wiser, stronger and confident to try the journey again and again until I accomplished my purpose in life.
When we decide to not live our dream we hinder other people dreams. How so you might ask? Well, when we live our dreams in spite of the setbacks we give other people permission to live their dreams unafraid. We give them hope, inspiration and courage to do what they love no matter what other people think. In 2016, I challenge you to defy the odds and live your dreams no matter what happens. What do you have to lose? Nothing at all!