When You've Outgrown Your Dreams
When Big Dreams Vanish
At the beginning of this year, I took up a regular early-morning practice of naming “50 Possibilities” for the day that lay before me. It was awesome for a while. I would name things that were very realistic but which I still really wanted to see happen in my day, and I would also name “far out” things that a naysayer would roll her eyes at. The idea was to not limit myself and to keep believing that anything really was possible because all is new in each moment. Many of the things I intended—big and small—came into reality for me and I loved this practice.
Until I didn’t.
For whatever reason, over time, instead of becoming easier with practice, it started becoming more and more challenging for me to envision things I wanted. It wasn’t as if too many of the intentions had come true and I was out of ideas, it was that so many of the ideas started losing their luster. Huh? Why, I wondered to myself, would I not feel excited about things I thought I had wanted for years? This became frustrating and, frankly, a little alarming to me. What was happening to my ability to visualize what I wanted out of life? Had I reached the end of the road? That idea seemed ridiculous, of course, so what was going on? For weeks and weeks I had no clue and it actually started to get me down.
I was finding it really difficult to stay focused on the tasks I assumed were important. I didn’t enjoy parts of my daily routine that had been pleasing to me previously. Eventually, I started questioning my contribution to the world. I was itching to explore something new, but was really struggling to conjure up what that was, and for the life of me, I just couldn’t get to a place of feeling excited about something to reach for.
What I discovered was that this all can feel like a subtle form of depression.
Dreaming of the Journey
It had (and has) me experiencing firsthand the old adage about how it’s all more about the journey than the destination. “Life” as I knew it was (and is) great and when I looked around me I could see how much I had to be grateful for: loving life partner, working for myself which I wanted for years, a beautiful home in my favorite Phoenix neighborhood, a wonderful set of loving and supporting friends and more. I didn’t wish to dismiss the utopia I’d arrived at and that’s when it hit me.
I had finally materialized just about everything that had been a dream for years! I had reached a destination of sorts and now it was simply time to think about plotting out a new journey.
This doesn’t mean to me that it’s time to leave my loving relationships, move out of my dream home and embark on a new career, in a new location, but it does have me realizing that it’s time for me to take a fresh look at my set of passions, values and ideals because I’ve grown substantially since that time (about ten years ago) when I made it clear to the Universe what I wanted (and got).
Desires Spring from What We Know
Back when we set our sights on getting to where we (luckily) ended up, we lacked the awareness that we have gained since then. We didn’t know exactly what our capacity for growth was or what we’d learn in the process of obtaining out dreams. It makes me think about how at such a young age (high school) we are forced into choosing a major in college or trade school and then are so often disillusioned by the time we’ve finished our education or job training and then had a chance to try the work on for a year or so before realizing, ugh . . .THIS isn’t what I want to keep doing for years to come.
This didn’t exactly happen to me. I studied through a Visual Communications program (graphic design, photography and commercial print production) at Western Washington University and every area of my studies has served me throughout the twenty-five years I’ve seen since then. But I can see how easily it could happen to anyone because I had no idea what I was all about or what I really wanted from life at age 16. And, of course, I’m still discovering more about both those things and will continue in that vein until my current body is six feet under.
As the lightbearers we are, we are evolving daily, though we may not see the changes in ourselves until we’re able to look back a year or more. As our horizons are expanded, we learn more and more about our truest nature and we are introduced to more and more possibilities, it’s easy to see how what we want out of life can change.
Recalibrating Hopes and Dreams
I know I’m not alone in this experience of recalibration. So many friends I talk with are in a very similar place of wondering what’s next. I’ve decided to take myself under new examination; to use fresh eyes and pretend I haven’t spent years defining who I am and what I’m about. I’m working with myself as I would work with any coaching client seeking clarity around his or her life’s purpose. I suspect that many findings won’t be new, but I’m actually deeply curious about the things that will be. I’m excited at the thought that the growth I’ve experienced over the past decade can now show me new possibilities to consider that I wouldn’t have known to consider previously. I will retake assessments and search out new ones and I will be open to the results being different than I expect.
Next year I’ll be 50 and I bet it will be my best decade yet. I can’t say what exactly I’ll be doing with my life or how similar or dissimilar it will look from how things are now, because I don’t know what I don’t know. But in the days, weeks and months to come, I’ll be sniffing out new possibilities and trying on new big dreams and we’ll see where it all goes!
If you, too, are feeling stuck and uninspired, I’d love to work with you to uncover your own new possibilities and perhaps slightly-reconditioned purpose. I’m available for phone/video coaching sessions as well as email coaching and I will share with you any helpful tools I discover as I continue on my own journey.