Imagine the life you want to live. Imagine getting to wake up every morning to go out into the world and live the life that exists in your dreams. It’s a pretty amazing thought, isn’t it? Now, think about your current reality. Think about the differences between your dreams and your reality. Are you happy with your current reality? Would the things you dream of truly make you happier? What is stopping you from chasing your dreams?
Life is short. We all have a little bit of time to live and do the things we want to do. Don’t waste your time saying, “I’ll be happy tomorrow”, or “Maybe someday I’ll chase my dreams”. What if there is no tomorrow for you? What if there is no someday? If you keep putting off your dreams, then you will continue on the same path in life that you want to change.
My biggest fear in life is missing out on things. For as long as I can remember, the thought of missing out on something fun or important has influenced the decisions I’ve made in my life. I don’t fear failure as much as I once did. The older I get, the more I realize that failure isn’t the end of the world. You just learn from the experience and move on. Missed chances are different. If you miss your chance to do something, you may not get a second chance. If you try something and fail, then you can almost always find a different approach and try again.
I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I haven’t dreamed big. My dreams have been called “crazy” and “stupid” by people who didn’t understand them. That never stopped me from going after those things. Don’t ever let somebody else stop you from chasing your dreams. They’re your dreams, not somebody else’s. You are the only person who needs to understand your dreams.
Looking back on my life, I remember all the fun times I had with friends playing sports, my mom telling stories about how much she loved teaching, and how much I loved summers and spending the 4th of July at my aunt and uncle’s lake cabin most years. Those memories make me happy. They were some of the things in my childhood that led me to dream of a really amazing future.
I remember thinking how great my life would be if I could have fun while working. Sports were something I always loved, but seemed to only be a career option for me in my wildest dreams. Teaching was something that smart people did. It wasn’t something I ever pictured myself doing. When my mom talked about teaching, the biggest takeaway for me was that, someday, I wanted to do something that made a difference in peoples’ lives. The lake was a place for me to get away from my normal life and just relax. Looking out into the water helped me to forget about everything else in life. Seeing people in boats, on jet skis, and water skiing or tubing just seemed like fun. I looked forward all year long to summer and getting to spend a day (sometimes a few days) at the lake.
I always wanted to skip the colder months of the year and just live my whole life in summertime. The idea of going to work never seemed like fun to me. Going out to have fun and play sports was always enjoyable. Going to the lake and just being near the water never failed to put a smile on my face.
When I look at my current life, I realize that my dreams have changed over the years, but the things that make me happy haven’t changed. Every day of my life right now, I get to wake up and spend the day teaching golf. I see the joy on the faces of my students when they accomplish something they never thought they could do. The place where I now teach is next to a lake. When I look out into that lake every day, I see people in boats, on jet skis, and water skiing. Every day of my life feels like the 4th of July from my childhood.
The road that led to where I am today hasn’t been easy. I’m still not where I want to end up, but I’m getting there. The reason I am where I am now in my life is because I dared to chase a dream that was called “stupid” and “crazy”. I changed my whole lifestyle and moved 1,500 miles away from home by myself to a place I had only visited twice. I didn’t know anybody here and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I had a chance to live in a place that I enjoyed on vacation and was moving here to attempt to turn a hobby into a career.
A couple of weeks ago, I had a moment where it finally hit me that I am in a situation, in many ways, that is exactly what I always dreamed of in my childhood. Every day of my life is spent next to a lake, every day is spent at a golf course, and every day reminds me of my mom and the stories she was always proud to tell.
I have more dreams that I want to make a reality. Those dreams now seem closer to being realized. I’ve always wanted to wait for the right time to do things. Another lesson I am learning as I grow older is that there is no perfect time. You have to just go after the things you want in life. If you keep waiting for the right time, then you will likely miss your chance. Do what makes you happy. Be with people who make you happy. Live your life in a way that makes you happy. Better yet, live your life in a way that makes those who don’t dare to chase their dreams jealous of your life.
I want to keep growing professionally, but that is starting to fall into place now. My focus is shifting back toward my personal life. I’m not getting any younger. In a few days, I will turn 33 years old. I still want to fall in love someday, get married, and start a family. I always figured all 3 of those things would have happened by now, but life happened… nothing goes exactly as planned.
In nearly 3 years spent by myself, I have learned what I want in my personal life. I also realized that exactly what I’ve been looking for is exactly what was right in front of me years ago. Making things a reality now is a bit more complicated, but it’s not impossible. I’m certainly not going to give up. Happiness isn’t something that happens to you, it’s something you create. I look forward to finding the right way to create more happiness in my life than I have already created.
Whether it’s your professional life, personal life, or both, don’t just keep wishing for things to get better. Dream. Dare. Live. Dream of your ideal life. Dare to take chances necessary to live your dreams. Live the life you want to live. We only get to live this life for a short time, so make your life happen. If you want a certain job, get it. If you want a certain lifestyle, live it. If you want to fall in love with a special someone, fall… fall hard. Love them with all your heart. Love your life every second of every day. Live your dreams and make those who don’t dare to chase their dreams jealous. Don’t wait. Start now.