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.

Follow Your Heart

If you are anything like me, you will find yourself in a position of feeling lost, confused, and just generally stuck. But recently, I have been having to make a lot of decisions about what is coming next, and I have spoken about it already here on the blog, but I think it is worth bringing up again.

Earlier today, I was watching a Disney Christmas commercial, and while sobbing my way through it (it gets you in the feels), a quote was said that resonated with me on a deep level. The quote was “if you don’t know where you are heading, follow your heart”. Maybe it was the emotions, or perhaps it was just what I needed to hear, regardless, it made me cry even more.

When I heard that, I felt something in me change – something unlocked inside of me that I had spent so much time trying to ignore and push away. For so long, my heart has been trying to tell me what I wanted to do, what my next step would on this journey that is my life, but I shoved it aside. I shoved it aside because it did not seem like something I could do — after all, I had never seen it done before.

I am not one to listen to my heart, but there is something about this pandemic that has been forcing me to reconsider that line of thinking. In the past nine months, I have not stopped having this internal argument in my mind about what I should or should not do. For nine months, I have been actively avoiding my heart, caving in and just listening to it, realizing that indeed it was telling me what I wanted and then listening to it. So why have I suddenly forgotten that process in the last few weeks? It’s because I got scared. I got scared of what could be, of who I could become and of what would happen if I failed. But this required me once again (I do this weekly) to reconsider my relationship with failure. And the conclusion I have reached is that if you follow your heart, and live an authentic life, true to yourself, then you can never fail. We only start to fail when we ignore what we want because the goal seems too challenging, scary or unachievable.

I think this has to be said along with this is that following your heart is not easy; it has never been easy; it never will be easy. You will have to consistently choose to challenge yourself over sticking in your comfort zone, courage over fear and be vulnerable.

So why is it even worth it? Why should I follow my heart? Because at the end of it all, the only way you can live an authentic, loving and joy-filled life is if you start following your heart and going after what you want. It is the only way to live a life that will make you truly happy at the end of it – follow your heart and enjoy the ride.