Are you still daydreaming about the life you have yet to live? The thought that you could do something else – live another way – can be exhilarating. By way of unexpected circumstances often thought of as negative (being laid off, a forced retirement, or even injury or tragedy that lead to unemployment), people have found other ways to fill their lifetime. Some discovered or rediscovered a passion that had remained dormant for years. Because of relocation or a job change, they discovered that they were actually better at something else.
Stats show that most valedictorians go on to steady, successful professions in their chosen disciplines, but few become stars or millionaires, or rise to the top of their fields. Schools reward those who follow rules, and history shows that superstars are often comprised of rogue thinkers – enthusiasts who think way outside of the box, engaging in breakthroughs and risky ideas, many times in spite of being told a never-before-done idea, plan, or vision couldn’t be accomplished.
I’ve had many different jobs throughout my career, and I’ve watched with curious envy the more stable-minded who stayed put at their companies for decades. Yet I stand by my choices and savor every adventure – especially the ones that led me running for cover and never looking back (those were the most fun!). In the end, I wouldn’t trade for a minute the lessons I’ve learned or the odd, brilliant, fascinating people I’ve met, for in those experiences I confronted my fears, and my spirit burst open to worlds I could never have found by remaining dormant.
Make no mistake – it’s scary to veer out of your comfort zone; to open your mind and heart to a way of life you only watched from afar. Even small changes do wonders for your spirit, like getting rid of material collections you thought would bring happiness; deciding to garden instead of attending the crowded gala; choosing an evening of wine and talk story instead of attending opening night at some big event. Then there’s the large changes: switching careers midlife, or retiring years before you planned so you could enjoy your current state of mind.
Whatever it is that you keep daydreaming about, maybe it’s time to wake up. Do something about it. If you stop listening to others and remain true to yourself, you just might find your way. And if, in the end, you miss the life you left behind, you can always go back to daydreaming.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer