Do Not Wait For The Time to be Right to Live Your Dreams: It Will Never be Right
Go Out And Live Your Dreams, my Daughter
“I will one day accept death with gratitude if I meet it having lived a life that became truly my own.”
― Dan Pearce
I have been talking on the phone quite a bit these days to my younger daughter, who lives with her partner and baby five hours away.
She is 26 years old this year and has been in a relationship for ten years. She had our first grandson in January (he is one month old).
They recently moved onto a rental property (a small farm) and through no fault of their own, due to some events out of their control, have found themselves questioning their life trajectory.
They had always considered themselves non-conventional in that they both have longed to do things that most couples their age talk about but never do, and have not taken the usual path, of completing studies, buying a house, getting married and settling down.
Her partner grew up living on a boat for the first 15 years of his life with his mum, dad, and younger brother, traveling up and down the east coast of Australia. He is a confident, risk-taking, energetic “Can Do” kind of young man who does not hesitate to pursue what interests him. He is also an incredibly hard worker and most importantly, he loves my daughter unconditionally.
My daughter has tried her hand at multiple things so far in her short adult life.
In her early and mid-teens, she had pursued a desire to join the armed forces here in Australia. My husband, her step-father, drove her hours to attend information sessions and interviews for each stage of the selection process. She had to wait a year to reapply after completing all the steps except for the medical.
She experienced severe asthma from 18 months old, and they wanted her to reduce her preventative medication and go 12 months without hospitalization or an asthma attack.
She was disappointed, but she saw her GP and went on a regime to manage her asthma differently. It worked. She went a year on reduced preventive medication, but by the end of that year, one day out from attending her acceptance interview, she pulled out.
She no longer had the drive and desire to commit to a four-year term. She was adamant she wanted to try a different path.
She started university, but she didn’t finish.
She loved her studies in ancient history and religion, and reveled in the year she lived five hours away from home studying at a major university, but she was so homesick for her partner that her misery outgrew her love of her studies.
She came home back to him.
It was the right decision for her (there were multiple reasons he was unable to move closer to be with her permanently).
She was criticized by many of her friends for picking the subjects she had — “Who will get a job studying those subjects?” but I had always taught them, “Pursue what you love, and work will follow your dreams” and “Life is too short to be leading it doing what other people think you should be doing.”
Studying at university opened up her eyes to learn how to think critically, how to analyze, how to explore differing viewpoints on the same subject and argue both equally well. So her time spent studying was not a waste of time.
Her partner lived in a small seaside village not far from where I live (within an hour).
She lived with him there when she returned, and she was unable to get permanent fulfilling work for over ten months. She slipped into a depression.
She re-evaluated what she wanted in life.
She missed the friends she had made at the university who were forward-thinking, had traveled, and wanted to “do things” in the world. She missed being around people who “thought” about things, not just lived day to day routines, gossiping about local people and events and not worrying or thinking about anything other than what was going on in their own backyard.
She realized to fulfill some of her dreams she needed to get back into regular work. Regular work was in the city, and a lot less likely to be had in a rural area.
She talked to her partner, who was reluctant to leave living by the sea, and she left. She went back to the city. He followed this time. They both got work within two weeks. They both are still in the city.
They had their first son, a month ago.
Her partner has dreamed of owning and living on a boat, with her, and their son, as he has pleasant memories growing up this way. His father would work at whatever port, or town they docked at for a month or so, then they would go on their way again. My son-in-law is qualified in enough areas, that he always can pick up work.
My daughter is attracted to the idea, but not with the two large dogs they currently own. Maybe in another few years.
Their fur babies are part of their little family, and both are only likely (according to their breed) to live to about 10–12 years maximum. They are now about five or six years old.
But, they both have discussed traveling around Australia in a van, working where they can, camping, exploring, and seeing the land. This is what they are now both planning and working towards in the next 12 months.
My daughter has completed her studies in vet nursing (she only has to complete the practical component) but can do that at multiple places, and there are no limitations as to where she has to complete the practical component. So she could do this as they travel around. My son-in-law is a registered wildlife carer and would like to complete university studies in veterinary science at some stage in his life.
They both are interested in multiple things. They both love life. They are both unconventional, willing to take risks, to explore and to be engrossed in living, thinking, and doing new things.
They want to experience life. Fully. Immerse themselves in life.
Will they travel and within three months realize they no longer wish to do this?
But for now, I have said to her — life is short. Being committed to completing a goal you no longer care about has advantages and disadvantages, but no-one else can live your life for you.
Only you can live your life. You cannot live life with regrets.
There is no such thing as “failing” at life.
There is only your experience of life.
Finding out what you like and do not like.
Every educational opportunity you pursue is not a waste of time if you decide it is no longer for you. Education in any area is not a waste.
My daughter worries at times and says she feels like a failure for not completing things. She feels that sometimes she must seem a failure in other people’s eyes because she did not finish completing different pursuits. However, if I ask her, “Do you wish you had completed this or that? she says, — No.”
Your life is not a failure because you have tried lots of things and decided they were not for you.
If when you are in your 80s, you have attempted 300 things and not completed any, you still have 300 experiences to think about, talk about and learn from.
If you wanted to complete one of them and didn’t — that is a different matter entirely. Go back and complete that thing.
But don’t regret not completing it just because you are worried someone else may criticize you for it and think you are a failure. Life is too short for that bullshit.
Neither my daughter or her partner has so far wanted to be tied down paying off a mortgage over 30 or 40 years in one place. Both of them are travelers and have wandering spirits. They both decided to have only one child, as they both want to be able to go back to university at some stage, and travel and having one child means they can still do those things.
Wherever they go and whatever they do in the next few years, it will be a journey they are undertaking together. They will have a mountain of experiences together that they will have shared on this journey called “life.”
Collecting material possessions has for them never been a part of what makes them happy. Being with other people, talking, reading, learning, traveling, and “experiencing” is what makes them happy.
Everyone is different.
Life is a journey.
Some of us want to stay in one place, and eat the same food, see the same people, and have the same routines. And that is entirely okay. I am a bit like that.
I like routine, and I love the predictability of sameness. I find pleasure in small things. I like familiarity. That is not to say I don’t enjoy going away, but I enjoy a base where I am familiar with all around me.
My younger adult daughter does not. And that is okay also.
My husband (her step-father) grew up nomadic, traveling around Australia, sleeping in a van or annex for the first 15 years of his life.
He was educated via distance education. His education did not suffer. He was in the top 5% in the country in exam results for the majority of his subjects.
He got to see places, experience things, and bond with his family in ways that most of us never do.
He can say that there are positives and negatives from living a life on the road, always moving, and never truly putting roots down.
He is happy to have travel again but always wants a “base” to come back to. Somewhere that he can physically call “home” and go out and explore “from” and return “to” — rather than home being on his back or wherever he lays his head.
Our home is with each other, and that place may vary, but there is something tangible that both of us like in the idea of having a physical base we can come and go from. Our plans involve a lot of traveling both within and outside of Australia if all goes well.
Some people refuse to leave home and travel until they have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank, the latest in equipment and their map and route planned down to the letter. Others have left with a backpack, $20 in their pocket and confidence in their ability to wing it and find work along the way.
My husband and I are in the middle of both of those extremes, and I think my daughter and her partner are more towards “winging it.”
But it is all okay.
Living life in the way you want it is okay.
The time may be “right” for one person when all t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted. The time is right for another when they put on their boots and walk out the door.
And that is entirely okay.
If you plan your timing based on someone else’s agenda, the time will NEVER be right.
So, if you have always dreamed of doing something, start to plan to live that dream.
Work it out. Plan it. Do it.
If you realize that it is best being left as a dream halfway towards planning it, that is okay also. You have NOT wasted your time spent in the planning. You have learned something about yourself and along the way. Learning is NEVER a waste. It is okay.
It is okay to change direction and do this multiple times in your life. It is okay NOT to pay off a house, or have a house full of gadgets and only have a pack of belongings which fit on your back.
Life is what YOU make it, and what you decide to do with it.
We all have an equal amount of time, each day, week and month, and we all get to decide what we do with it.
Some of us may be at a time in our lives where we have dependent children or elderly parents that mean we feel obligated to live in one area or earn a certain amount of money to help support hem, and that is okay also.
If that is the situation you find yourself in, then finding peace, contentment, and joy within that situation is paramount. Earlier choices in life may impact on later life and can limit where and what we can do. In these cases, then the joy must come from within us, as well as from finding pleasure and wonder within the circumstances we find ourselves.
We are all different.
“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our heads of how it is supposed to be” ~ Anonymous
But right now, at this time, both my daughter and son-in-law and my husband and I find ourselves in the position of being able to make unconventional choices that feel right. We are excited.
Whether we go and travel for one month and decide never to do it again, or we keep it up for the next decade, we are embarking on a new way of being, living and breathing in this world that both of us have not been able to do due to raising children and our circumstances up to now.
My daughter and son-in-law are thinking they are in the perfect situation for making a move now to travel and hit the road, when they do not have financial obligations and their son is young enough that he will remember and enjoy, bond with them, and learn things he never would from being in one place, and staying there.
Dance in rhythm to your own dance, sway to your own music, march to your own drum.
Do it on your terms and do not seek approval from others, as to what looks like a “successful life.”
Your life is a success if YOU say it is.
“Respond to every call that excites your spirit” ~ Rumi