Have you ever experienced feeling like you need to get a job because you’re afraid to run out of money to pay your bills with? Ever feel like the more you’re at work the more the life just seeps out of your body, mind, and soul? Do you have imaginations about what you could be doing in life that might actually be fulfilling, but there just seems to be no realistic way to get there while earning a living?
Maybe you’d start a blog and write while traveling the world (that’s a commonly adored one). Maybe you’d stop everything you’re doing and become and apprentice in woodcarving and drum making under your rarely local Ghanaian in high hopes of selling your work and living carefree (I totally do – one of my many). Maybe, just maybe you’d spend hours upon hours making that art, starting that online business, crafting those lecture and class plans, even just writing that autobiographical novel of your one and only unique experience on this planet…
Maybe you do, but most of us don’t. When we have a job, something gets in the way. Work, or being too tired from it. Social engagements (because, after all, who can live life without getting connected to the people we love most?). Screens and other distractions. Lame excuses that stem from a poorly developed sense of self worth. You name it. And then, when we don’t have a job (either because we lost it or decided triumphantly that we are going to finally seek out and discover the utter truth of our lives through some passionately wild and overambitious lifestyle), we still cower in fear of financial and social insecurity – that constant cloud of a bank account balance, that looming pressure to prove yourself to all your friends and family in the professional world.
No matter what it is, most of us most often do not put work into our imaginations of a fulfilling life. We may start by daydreaming, maybe even by putting some thoughts down on paper – even some might talk to their friends and family about their ideas. But it’s all in vain. We don’t follow through. We back down from our belief in ourselves because we value others’ skepticism toward an alternative, riskier way of life (although it sounds exciting, others in opposition often see it as a reflection of their own neglected imaginations and thusly respond with bitter distaste; after all, social approval is largely what is perceived as keeping us connected and valuable in society). We don’t reach out to others for support because we know how little work we have put into the idea(s).
We possibly even just hold onto these thoughts as fantasies, trudging on through the monotony of the work day, week, month, year, decade, lifetime, hoping that the images will continue to serve as some sort of mental oasis – a sunny beach with nothing to tend to, even for just one moment. But that’s the thing, it does not continue to serve as an oasis. The more those ideas – rooted in something emotionally and spiritually substantial – are neglected, the more they turn into the already told-tale of regret, a molding nightmare of an island, no winds or waters or movement to be seen or felt – just numbness, vagueness, emptiness.
Certainly those feelings toward those neglected imaginations can become bitterness and self-loathing – not a recipe for a fulfilled life. However, if we can tend to these imaginations as not just daydreams or fantasies, but as potential realities needing to be cultivated as seeds can grow into a flourishing garden, then we can do what it takes to create the life we know is deeply worth living. It’s easy to get turned away from your vision, but don’t stray.
Why is it that you feel you are here in this life? Why do you have this vision? A why is like a thesis statement for an essay – always keep it close for it will drive you home. Do you love yourself enough to create this living? Accomplishing anything important in life, making any real change starts with internal change and the ability to love yourself. Are you willing to stand fear in the face and act courageously before thinking too much and backing down? Practice self-trust and resilience. Willing to put in the research and planning? Able to go with the flow? Do what it takes. This story of yours is special and worth the world knowing.
Make it a reality.
What better time to start than now?