If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story. ~Terry Pratchett~
Are you willing to live life the way you want or conform to society’s standards on how your life should be?
The above question is something I had to ask myself after I finished my military career. I knew I no longer cared to live my life by society’s metric of what is called “The American Dream,” but I wanted to live the life of my dreams. I knew doing things the conventional way would not work for me in the pursuit of living my dreams. So I had to learn how to create my own rules and break some rules to live my life on my own terms.
When we are born, we enter the world full of wonder, hopes, and aspirations, yet as we get older, we spend much of our time trying to live a life to please others. Young children have no shame in telling you who and what they want to be when they grow up. However, it is our adult cynicism that destroys our childlike imagination. Instead, we tell our children and ourselves “to be realistic” about their careers and life.
In reality, you are the protagonist (main character) in the story of your life, and it is your job to keep the storyline centered around your desires, dreams, and hopes. If you are not willing to build the life that fits you, other people will start to dictate what is best for your life. Overall, we should strive to live a life that we are proud of and exemplifies our genuine nature.
If you are ready and willing to live life on your own terms, understand it will be a life filled with unexpected adventures and moments. But I would rather live my life the way I wanted versus water down version of someone’s else idea of my life.
If you are ready to let go of the mediocre to jump into the extraordinary, then below, I have three simple ways to assist you in living life on your own terms.
Assess your values, priorities, and desires in your life in this present moment. (What do you really want your life to look like, and how do you want to feel?)
Align your values, priorities, and desires with your authentic nature. (Who do you want to be when you grow up?) (childlike mindset)
Action: Create some intentional action steps to plan the direction you need to start living your authentic life & begin to implement those steps.
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!!!
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”~Henry David Thoreau~
Why is it when we get older we lose our imagination? We start to live life in reality and forget our childlike nature. It amazes me as we grow up we lose the sense of our imagination. When I was a child I had a dream of being a writer and traveling around the world. However, as I got older that dream began to shift to the background of my life. I started working hard for other people’s company giving their dream a 100% investment yet I had no time to nurture my dream.
Something hit me when I decided to write my first poetry book, I realized it was time to get back to what I loved doing. I have always been a writer and it came naturally for me since I was a child. I use to write plays, short stories, poems and so much more. I had one more year left in the military and I already knew I was not going to reenlist. I wanted to start living my passion and dream. In spite of all the personal setbacks that came my way I was determined to finish my book. So, In April of 2007 I self-published my first poetic work of literature. I was proud of myself and ended up being in the local military newspaper.
From this moment on I knew it was time to live my dream fully. I got tired of being burnt out building someone else’s empire. I had to get to a point where I became uncomfortable with giving my all to everyone else except myself. The last ten years has been a journey in pursuing what I love but I know it is worth it. I had some great days and some not so great days but I am proud of myself.
I have no desire to be enslaved to someone else’s idea of what success is for me. As I become wiser I understand I only have one life and spending it my way is important. I remember spending countless of hours marketing and sharing other people’s business and ideas across social media. Instantly, I stopped supporting those who were not supporting me because in the end it was draining. I deserve all the time, love and passion I freely give to others to give back to myself.
Now at this epic place in my life I am choosing me and my dreams. I want you to understand this one simple thing….your dreams should matter to you and making them tangible is important. It should not be enough for you to dream but making it a reality should be your life motivation.
Do not waste your entire life building someone else empire when you have an empire of your own to build. I challenge you today to get started on investing in yourself.
Wow, I can’t believe next week Sunday is my birthday. My 30’s journey has been a beautiful evolution of “self”. I have been able to spend the years of my thirties facing issues of my past, closing the door to my past, making intentional changes to my life and most of all becoming the woman I desire to be.
As a single mom I have endured many hardships and personal setbacks but my 30’s have been my years of reflection, refreshing, starting over again and creating the life I desire.
I have become comfortable in my own skin. I love the woman I have evolved into at this point in my life. However, I know the journey is a continuous process. I am excited about my future ahead.
Since, I am commemorating the last year of my 30’s, I am sharing 39 lessons with you I learned during my 30’s journey.
Here are the 39 lessons I learned in my 30’s:
1. Confidence. Confidence is something that starts within & it is something you work on everyday.
2. No validation needed. You are grown,stop asking for permission.
3. No is a complete sentence. Stop explaining yourself.
4. Mind your own business. It never matters what others are doing. Stay focused on your life.
5. No deprivation. Stop depriving yourself of the things you love & desire.
6. Know Your Worth. You have to know your worth to know what you deserve then you will stop giving discounts to people who undermine your quality.
7. Self-care is important. Self-care is about preservation. You have to put it into practice for all areas of your life (mental, emotional, financial, physical & spiritual).
8. Trust God.
9. Get out your own way.
10. Ask for help.
11. Be gentle with yourself you are doing the best you can.
12. Stop procrastinating.
13. Do it afraid.
14. Get out your comfort zone.
15. Be your own best friend.
16. Speak up. You have a voice use it.
17. Stop chasing. You don’t have to chase a man, friends, people or dreams. All the things meant for you will come at the right time.
18. Travel somewhere new.
19. Date yourself.
20. Believe in yourself.
21. Do what is best for you.
22. Be unapologetic about your greatness.
22. Set boundaries.
23. Spend time with those that celebrate you not tolerate you.
24. Celebrate yourself.
25. Be patience.
26. Saunter through life.
27. Let things flow.
28. Detach yourself from the outcome.
29. Stop the comparison. When you learn to value your life you will feel no need to compare your life to others.
30. Have faith.
31. Smile often, Laugh more.
32. Have fun. Include more bliss, pleasure & enjoyment in your life.
33. Be ok with not being ok.
34. Be vulnerable.
35. Live life. Don’t just exist live your life alive.
36. Reinvent yourself.
38. Pursue your dreams. No matter how old you are you can always pursue the things you desire.
39. Be limitless. Don’t put limitations on your life.
I spent years playing the game of comparison wishing my life would magically change. I was not aware of the fact that I had the power to change my life. The choice lied within one simple decision that I needed to make.
Below is a list of ways you can create the life you love.
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!