The Changing Meaning of Life

The initial idea behind The Life We Dream Of was to encourage people to accomplish their life goals and live the life they have always dreamed of living. It sounded simple, easy and was a bit niche in my opinion. But it never took off, mostly because I didn’t want it to. I would stop myself from posting or creating any new content because I wanted it to be perfect, and I wanted to have all the answers for those who would come to visit my blog seeking those very same answers. But over time, what I have come to learn is that the reason I wasn’t willing to return to posting on my blog is that too much had changed. More specifically, I had experienced a shift in mindset so drastic that the life we dream of lost its very essence for a while.

The other day I was watching Soul on Disney Plus and it was a truly phenomenal movie. It somehow brought me back to a time a year and a half ago where I was in a dark place and my mental health was not great. During that time, I was working at a job I found mundane, unfulfilling, and altogether made me feel useless. But why was I feeling this way? I was finally working an ‘adult job’, I was getting paid a decent salary and I loved my colleagues. Somehow, that wasn’t enough. A year and a half ago, I thought that the dream life that I wanted was one where I would climb the career ladder, live in a beautiful condo or apartment and be able to buy anything I want without hesitation. Although that is a rather simplistic view of life, I had envisioned for myself it is truly what I wanted. There is nothing wrong with that – if anything it’s a very normal life that many people want. But once I was one step closer to that life, I felt more and more unfulfilled and sad.

It wasn’t until I was unemployed during the pandemic and able to take a step back from being overly busy that I realized why I was so unhappy and unfulfilled. Yes, I was working in the job I worked so hard to get, and I was making money, but I had turned this unhappy and unfulfilling job into the center of my life. I poured all my attention into it, and the unhappiness surrounding it all consumed my life.

Why did I do that? Because that is all I ever knew how to do. All society had taught me up until that point is that I need to get a job, but not just any job, a job that I was passionate about and would want to dedicate my entire life to. I genuinely thought that I was going to live my dream life by taking this job. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted and did not in any way make me happy.

 Life is so much more than how productive I am compared to those around me. Life is about the small moments of joy, happiness, and peace. It is not all supposed to be about finding the dream career and climbing the ladder. Is it an important part of our lives? Absolutely – but how productive I am in society is not the be all end all of who I am.

Watching this movie reminded me that if I had just taken a few moments each day to find those small moments of joy or happiness, maybe I would have been a lot happier. Maybe I would enjoy what I was doing more if I had put less focus on it and stopped it from consuming my entire life. The life we dream of should be one where we seek joy and happiness, where we create it within ourselves and with others. The life we dream of is simple and not very demanding at its root core.  All I want from life is to be healthy, happy, financially comfortable and be surrounded by friends and family. At the end of the day that is all I want, and if a career can help me achieve some of those things then that is fantastic, but it will not be the only thing I focus on.

My Relationship With Risk

I was always scared of taking risks. I couldn’t understand why people would choose uncertainty over predictability. However, my relationship with risk has changed dramatically – but it took a lot of work to unlearn and reverse a lot of what I was thinking.

Recently, I have been put in a situation much like everyone else in 2020, where I need to make some big decisions. The problem is, I was making those decisions based on fear, uncertainty and what could happen if I failed. I began making decisions that would force me to settle for something I knew deep down I never wanted.

I often found myself questioning is this what you want? Is it what you want right now? Are you heading in a direction to fulfills you and make you happy? Suffice it to say all those came back as a big no.

Being as I was less busy, I had a lot of time to reflect on where I was at in life, decisions I had made in the past, and what I wanted from the future. After about eight months of constant reflection, I realized that I wasn’t scared of failing; I didn’t believe in myself.

For some reason that I still do not fully understand, I didn’t believe in myself. I did not think that I could take a risk and turn it into some sort of success. Or that I could take the risk, fail, and come back swinging if you will. I did not think I was good enough to live a life that would bring me joy. I did not think I was worth enough in this life to be a part of it. What was happening was that I was tying my self-worth to how big, showy and amazing my life could appear to others. I believed that if others couldn’t see me living this great and amazing life then what was the point?

 Here is the point: life is not meant to be lived for other people. The risks you take in life are for you, or maybe for the ones you love. But they should never rest on what the rest of the world thinks of you. You deserve to take risks and live a life that makes you happy just by the sheer fact that you exist. You are here to live for yourself and yourself only. You exist to be happy, to spread joy and love. But to also live a life aligned with your values, your truth and whatever sets your soul on fire.

And one of the only ways you can do that is if you believe in yourself and you take that risk, knowing that you will be there to celebrate the success or catch yourself if you fall. You are worth the risk; you are worth it more than you know.