If you’ve ever looked back on decisions you’ve made and realized how different your life would have gone if you had made one choice over another, then you understand the complexity of pathways that make up the fabric of our lives. It’s easy for me to adopt a belief that there are no ‘wrong’ decisions, or that everything happens exactly as it is suppose to happen. However, I don’t necessarily believe 100% in predestination – after all, we are given free will. As with most of what I discover on this journey, life is balance and it’s not unusual to feel as if we’re on a teeter totter.
I had a moment of pure fear last week about the choices I have made. For all my movement from getting comfortable with uncertainty to embracing the mystery, I recognized there is still a deep circuit of terror in regards to my life. Most of the time it’s a low hum I don’t hear, but every now and then it buzzes loudly. In those moments, I’m taken out of the present moment and thrown into panic about the future.
The desire for security and success is hard wired into our being. What will happen if I get sick and can’t work? I don’t have sick time as a caregiver. My mother wants me to join her on a trip to Italy. I don’t have vacation time, and saving money for travel is difficult when I’m earning so little. What’s going to happen when I want to retire and I haven’t put aside money in a Roth IRA or other retirement account because I don’t have that much extra to do so?
Sure, I trust all is well. And I have had some amazing experiences to support this belief. When I was sick with the flu and missed work, I ended up getting a request to rent out my house on AirBnB, earning more money than what I had lost by not working. When one of my clients didn’t need me one week, I got a call to do some extra work for someone else. All this helped me move out of uncertainty and into mystery.
But these practical concerns about sickness, vacation and retirement are real.
I began to question if I was just living in a bubble and not being realistic about my future. Then, an even deeper quintessential question arose as to whether I am copping out by being content with the little ripples I’m making instead of continuing to strive for the big splash.
Am I selling myself short? Am I not living up to my potential? Am I fooling myself that I am happy because on some level I don’t think I can achieve my initial dream of being this great speaker and writer?
Or, have I been sold a bill of goods that in order to be happy that is what I need to accomplish?
The paradox is that without clothes on our back, food in our belly and a roof over our head, happiness is far reaching. The bill of goods most of us are sold is that once we have these things we think having more of them will make us happier. And there is no denying that being able to travel overseas, eat at a nice restaurant, or have a vacation cottage are all things that bring joy. I love fine dining, fancy hotels and first class. I also love home cooked meals, camping, and walking in the woods.
They say when you love what you do, you will never work another day in your life. In many ways that is how I feel right now. When I head out to go make breakfast, walk the dog and grocery shop for my client, I don’t feel as if I’m going into work. I don’t feel like I have a job, and yet I have several. People who know me comment on how much better I look and how much happier I seem.
What does living the life of your dreams really mean? I had a dream to be supporting myself as a spiritual advocate, but what did I think that would get me? And why would I think I’m not a spiritual advocate just showing up being who I am every day?
When I started my blog and website, I made the promise to share my journey and how I went from “here to there” in creating a life of my dreams. What I didn’t expect was that my dreams might change. Or that I might chose a different path than the one I thought I was taking.
I’m not done creating my life. I have paths opening before me every day and some I may take and others I won’t. I don’t know where they will lead and it is still scary sometimes. It’s a journey and I’m still traveling.
I’m not sure I’ll be content as a caregiver the rest of my life, but what I do know is that in this moment now I am happier than I’ve ever been. I know there are still these questions about security and about whether I’m just settling for less than what I started out wanting to achieve. I know those questions aren’t going to go away, but I have to trust I’ll figure it out.
Because in the end what matters is happiness. It’s an illusion to think we’ll have it all the time, but if the majority of our lives are lived with joy then that’s a pretty significant accomplishment.