The trouble with ideating – dreaming of what you’d really like to do, or envisioning how you’d like to live as an expression of who you are – is it that it comes up against reality.
Okay, so there are many people out there who are “living their dreams,” like the one who said to me recently, “I can’t imagine going to work every day because you have to work – every day I wake up and do what I love.” I’m so happy for such individuals, and however they were able to achieve this bliss, I hope they can retain that fine balance even as time and circumstances change lives.
For many people, however, envisioning a new or different future or endeavor, one that embodies their unique configuration of values, interests, and purposes, isn’t easy. Sometimes dreaming is hard, especially given the real demands and responsibilities of our lives. Our hopes and desires are pitched against life circumstances, our own personalities, or the inertia that come from our routine lives.
But daily, I hear of remarkable effort by people striving to create their dreams. One woman said she has been holding the same vision of her encore project since 1998. She has held that vision all these years while working and meeting the needs and requirements of raising two children on her own. In the meantime, she applied herself in the areas that she could so that she could one day realize her dream. Now, her adult children on their own, and her career nearing an end, she is ready and on her way.
Many are seeking a new way forward, a way to reconfiguration their time, activities, and values. Sometimes, this takes the form of a new job, an encore career, a new love, a stab at rebuilding an old and faded relationship, a creative endeavor…
What we are trying to do is to make meaning of our lives, to stake out “this is who I am and what I want and need.”
If you are seeking, searching, striving to create a new future for yourself, make it your task. Envision boldly and rigorously pitch it against reality. Tread mindfully. It’s a task and a challenge, but do it. It’s a dangerous thing to deny yourself what you want or need, entirely or perpetually, or to deny it for your loved ones. For what would life be stripped of ideas and hope, and a way to strive to live as an expression of who you are? As creativity expert Eric Maisel says, “There is something absurd about dreaming, just as there is something absurd in the idea of passionately making meaning. It feels absurd to take life as seriously as it demands to be taken. But it also feels absurd to take life anything less than seriously, since the path of self-dismissal and self-disparagement can also be experienced as absurd.” (Coaching the Artist Within, 2005)
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.