Today my mom expressed her concern and worry for me. (I don’t have a stable 9-5 (or 6am – 7pm) job.) A few minutes later she commented how she sees me happier and happier everyday. I left “Living the (American) Dream” actually.
At least two people this last week threw in the comment “Living the Dream!” when describing their life in a little quip, and it really got me thinking… What dream are they referring to? Do they feel that it’s their own dream? Or that American Dream where you sacrifice and save now to someday retire in a golf community on the coastline? These two were happy when they said it, but not everyone is…so I still ponder it a bit, are they being sincere or a bit (or outright) facetious? Did they consciously choose it? Or are they just ‘livin’ it’?
The truth is that we’re all living the dream – it’s our own dream as it interacts with the collective dream of others in the world. Does living my dream today include worry and fear for tomorrow and regrets and grudges held for yesterday? As for that American Dream of sacrificing today to live for a far-off future retirement, it stopped making sense to me when I realized that I wasn’t happy with the today and that the picture painted of retirement didn’t appeal to me either. I’d prefer to live today the same as if I were to die tomorrow or in 89 years (yep, I have high hopes!). I haven’t figured it all out, but I am happy and so are my children. And, yes, there’s uncertainty in my life, but isn’t there always? Especially concerning the day that you are going to die?
I’ve experienced some turmoil and plenty of uncertainty, challenges, and tangents as I reexamine my life (honestly something I do every minute), but it’s been my willingness to accept this uncertainty and move towards my joy in each moment that has brought me more joy, and I can see glimpses of my dream unfolding before my eyes. As I live this, I’ve chosen to give up some future security which does have my family worried.
So I replied: Mom, (I’m smiling) you can stop worrying about me. I’m living my dream and it’s a joyful one. I’ve found (and am finding) what I want to do in retirement, and I’m living it now, joyfully, as I step more confidently each and every day towards adding in more security for today and tomorrow, from a place of love and joy, (and I’ll note now…most importantly, not from a place of fear).
She smiled. She believes me and has stopped worrying, for the moment, and that is enough.