You know those people who know EXACTLY what they want in life?
The people who are so driven to become doctors who fix babies hearts… or architects who help build sustainable eco-friendly cities….or writers who publish big books… or school psychologists… or graphic designers… or international aid workers who help fix the world’s big problems….
Yeah, I’ve always envied those people a bit.
Umm okay…. a lot.
Having a clear life direction has always been so important to me. And for most of my life, as with many of ours, the direction was laid out. Go to school, get a degree, get a job, get an apartment, get a partner. Check, check, check!
But in my early 20’s, while ticking all the boxes, I soon realized that this pre-determined path was NOT for me.
What did I really want? It was time to explore this question more deeply – and there I found an urge to travel, explore, and find meaningful personal challenge in creating a new lifestyle.
So I moved abroad to teach English and explore what it meant to create a life that aligned with who I really am.
And I did ALL sorts of new amazing things! Yoga, meditation, coaching, writing, marketing, design, retreat planning, art, nutrition, entrepreneurship, energy healing, running, …..
And suddenly, after years of mind and heart-opening experiences abroad, there I was, staring down the same question.
What do I really want?
And if I can’t put a nice, solid, neat and tidy “big dream” label on it….does that mean that I don’t actually have any real aspirations at all?
For a long time, I honestly thought that I just didn’t have any big dreams. My interests were just SO many, and so varied…. There wasn’t one BIG dream that stood out – and sometimes that felt really bad!
But mostly it was totally cool – I pursued my interests, hustled for work, got certified and self-taught in lots of random things, embodying the scrappy multipotentialite who does a little bit of everything.
“What do you do?”
“Yeah I’m a coach, writer, artist, yoga teacher and retreat leader who does copywriting, marketing and design for entrepreneurs, nutrition consulting, and is starting an online business… what about you?”
Until I turned 30.
At which point – it literally became like OKAY FIGURING OUT MY BIG DREAM IS SUDDENLY REALLY REALLY UBER IMPORTANT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT NOW.
LIKE RIGHT. NOW.
How the crap was I supposed to untie the fascinating yet impossibly complicated knot of psychology, art, spirituality, writing, personal development, entrepreneurship, yoga, fitness, nutrition, and god knows what other career aspirations I have gotten SO pumped about over the years?!
To find my big dream through which to serve the world?!
RIGHT. ACTUALLY. NOW?!?!!!?!
Embrace ALL OF THE THINGS
Okay, so I’m not going to approach this as someone who’s all enlightened about the subject or anything. I mean, I’ve been having mini-freakouts about life purpose pretty much every day of my 30’s so far. 🙂
But what I’ve realized is – it’s the most AWESOME THING EVER to have tons of interests and dreams. We are the richly composed, integral people who are so insatiably curious about life and want to learn everything so we can become even more dynamic people and serve the world in SO many different and impactful ways!
Yes – we need to PRIORITIZE. To actually tangibly get things done. And that will be another post. 🙂 Because this one is all about ACCEPTING and LOVING all the complexity of who we are.
There is NO reason to shun any parts of ourselves – to dismiss any dreams or passions as less important than any others.
We do not fit in any box. And to be honest, some of us (shoutout to my nomads!!) don’t even fit in any country anymore.
It’s also a topic for another post… but after diversifying in life for so long, there’s a part of me that now feels absolutely at home in Seattle, Prague, Thailand, and Italy – it’s complicated and wonderful and terrifying and beautiful and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And this is life. We are multi-dimensional… we all have many dreams, many goals, many passions. The journey of our life is to discover ourselves and explore and share as richly and dynamically as we can!
Not to put some label on ourselves that satisfies society or our parents or some dude at a networking event.
Drop mic. 🙂
Become Who You Are
So I’ve sat with it for a while. I’ve been putting all my dreams on Post-It’s and moving them around to see how they fit together and how maybe I could craft some cohesive “big dream” statement that didn’t run on for an entire paragraph…..
And then I realized. My big dream isn’t about achieving some external marker of anything.
My dream is to become the kind of self-actualized, creatively expressed, compassionate and awakened human who brings light, inspiration, joy, and love to those around me, and to the world.
And to realize this dream through many (seemingly unrelated!) projects in my lifetime…
- …coaching people in personal development….
- …guiding spiritual journeys and adventure travel trips…
- …creating amazing writings and designs…
- …teaching yoga retreats and meditation…
- …making art and leading creative expression workshops…
- …starting online businesses…
- …teaching women how to become liberated through entrepreneurship….
- …making and sharing nutritious vegan granola bars and desserts…
- ….inspirational/motivational speaking….
It’s not about putting a label on a dream we have.
It’s about becoming the kind of person that makes a positive impact in the world.
And you already ARE that person.
So connect to THAT. Who is this incredible human with so much light and potential to bring their gifts to SO many people? That is ALREADY you.
And what are the different modalities and projects through which you want to express that light and those gifts?
Once we relieve ourselves of the burden of having to neatly “explain” what we’re doing to ourselves or others….
We become free to just BE who we are – PLAY with our projects – CREATE what’s inside our souls – EXPERIMENT with life and work and love and money and everything else because that’s what this life IS!
It’s a playground to dive uninhibitedly into everything that ignites our fire, stirs our soul, brings tears to our eyes and resonates unexplainablly in the deepest part of who we are.
We don’t have to take it all so seriously. 🙂
But we DO have to GET OUT THERE!
My big dream for YOU is that you throw off the mask of who you think you “should be” and what you “should be doing”…. And connect to who you really are and how you dream to bring your most authentic, actualized self into the world.
Don’t worry about explaining yourself to people through a fancy job title or big external achievement marker of success….
By all means – achieve MANY great things in your life!
And show people who you are, through how you make them feel.