In Grand Haven, Michigan, there is a musical fountain. During the week that we spent tied to the seawall, we had front row seats every night. My daughter surprised me by knowing all of the words to "Call Me Maybe," when that song was featured. She danced for the crowd, gathered around our slip, belting out Carly Rae Jepsen's lyrics.
But our last night in Grand Haven, we could not see the fountain. We were in a slip, at a marina off of the river, with our sailboat scheduled to be pulled later in the week. I blinked, as I heard the fountain play its closing song, "The time has come to say good night/Good night, sleep tight." It was a bittersweet time, because we were not only leaving behind our boat and our summer; we were also leaving behind the life we loved and the world where we belonged.
Returning to "reality" at the end of the sailing season was always tough. That summer, we had lived aboard for 91 days total, and it wasn't nearly enough. Now we were back on land, hours away from the water and our boat. We were in a world where people were less friendly, and we couldn't seem to find our place. Our days consisted of housework, coupled with a job that I didn't love. Sometimes, our daughter would cry because she wanted to return to the boat.
Life went from mediocre to worse, when circumstance at my job took an unfortunate turn. However, it is often our darkest times that spur us to make the changes we need to make. I had been staying at this job, because it felt "secure." Now that I had shed that illusion, we were free to move elsewhere.
Because our dream is to live aboard full time, we left Michigan altogether, and I found a job near Houston. We spend a grueling two months emptying out our house, before we signed the title over to the bank. We drove 1200 miles with whatever possessions we could fit into our Volvo station wagon and a small U-haul trailer.
We fit everything easily into a small apartment, then purged more possessions before moving onto a 35-foot racing boat a year later. The next year, we upgraded to a 37-foot center cockpit sailboat.
Not a day goes by that I am not glad we made this change. We had a life that wasn't working for us. Being unhappy for 9 months, so that we could live the way we wanted for 3 months, wasn't worth it. Nor is it worth it to work in a job that you hate for 30 years, so that you can get a measly pension in your later years. The time for all of us to live our dreams, is now.
There does seem to come a time of unrest in most people's lives, when they realize that there could be more. If you are experiencing that right now, here are some points to consider:
- Find your passion. What would you do, if you had infinite resources? What would you do, if you had more time?
- Figure out what it would take, to make that dream a reality. Don't worry, you're still in the "dreaming" stage right now. Ideally, how could it happen?
- Decide what is holding you back. For me, it was security, and I overcame that hurdle, when I realized that my job wasn't secure. Figure out what is standing in your way, and take steps toward eliminating it.
- Face your fears, but also give yourself a reality check. I was afraid that we would end up without a home or job, in a place where we didn't know anyone. The reality check is that we would always find a place to live, even if it wasn't somewhere fancy. And we wouldn't starve. There are plenty of safety nets in place, to prevent that from happening. Really, embarrassment was the worst case scenario. And is that reason enough to keep from trying?
- Take baby steps, if you must. But be careful that you're not just creating steps as a stalling mechanism. When you're ready to take the plunge, go for it!
This post is the first in a six-part series on reinventing yourself. In our next post, we will look at some of the fears and limiting beliefs that can keep us from realizing our dreams.
If you would like help overcoming your fears, realizing your dreams, and reaching your potential, consider an individual e-mail, chat, or video session.
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