Living The Dream

Today I listened to the show Living The Dream, hosted by Phil Morris. It was my first time listening and it was actually quite thought provoking. What exactly is it to be living the dream? Is it to be doing what you love?

I have no ambitions to become an actress, musician, model, or anything else entertainment industry related. Except perhaps writing. Though writing has always been a part of my life and I love it dearly, ultimately, I can live without it. I don’t aspire to be famous. I aspire to be happy. When I say that I mean eternally, not temporarily. Instant gratification is fleeting but true gratification comes with hard work and that gratification is eternal. But right now I can honestly say I don’t know what my dream is. How can I work towards a dream that I don’t see?

Growing up, I aspired to be pretty much every profession under the sun. I take that back. I desired to be pretty much every profession under the sun. I feel that when you aspire to be something, you pursue it. You make an effort. I haven’t done that so much. My interests are constantly shifting and rotating which has made pinning down a dream difficult. I have so many different dreams that I don’t know what to choose! Right now I’m just trying them all one by one until something sticks! The only dreams in my life that have never changed throughout the years are to be a wife, mother and to travel the world. In fact, my need to travel is so strong that I actually have panic attacks if I go too long without traveling. Apparently, I’m quite the restless spirit.

As I mentioned, I listened to Living The Dream and the wonderful dialogue today was between Phil Morris and Will Friedle. I’m a fan of Will and I have a lot of respect for him not only as an actor, but as a human being as well. He seems like a very down to earth, genuine person and I like those kind of people. Phil and Will covered a wide range of topics and it was really interesting to hear Will talk about his life and what his life has been like in the entertainment industry. The conversation between these two was witty, intelligent, and insightful.

I don’t follow celebrity gossip and I don’t put any face value in what others tells me about an entertainer so I only really learn about entertainers through moments like this.

It takes a lot of courage for “regular” people to open up about difficulties and challenges. I can only imagine the amount of courage it must take for someone in the entertainment industry because they are more severely scrutinized and condemned than those of us who aren’t entertainers. If they don’t word something exactly the way they meant it or if something is taken out of context all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately, society is more focused on tearing others down than being compassionate and building them up.

The thing I appreciated the most about the conversation was Will’s honesty. I never knew he had anxiety and panic attacks. I consider mine to be very minor. Although, I suspect that it’s ultimately kept me from finding, pursuing and living my dreams!

I think my first real panic attack was when I was 22 and enrolled in a culinary school in NY. I had the attack 2 months before I was supposed to move to the opposite coast and all I could focus on was, “What if this is a mistake? What if this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?” Not once did I focus on what a great experience it would be, how much fun I would have or what I could learn from the experience. I allowed those negative thoughts to influence my decision and I backed out of the experience.

Now I look back on my life and realize that I’ve probably missed out on quite a few amazing experiences because I was too afraid to try. I was too afraid to leave my comfort zone and put myself out there. I let my fear of doing the wrong thing keep me from really pursuing anything that interested me.

These days, I no longer let the fear of doing the wrong thing keep me from doing something because I know that I can always change course if it ends up not being the right thing for me. One thing Will said during his conversation with Phil was along the same lines and really hit home for me. He said that his parents told him he could pursue his dream until it wasn’t fun anymore. This is something I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s now one of my mantras that I will use to pep talk myself out of a panic attack!

Since my first panic attack I’ve experienced a lot of wonderful things and a lot of heartbreak. Sometimes they were from the same opportunity. I’ve taken risks, experienced my share of heartaches, setbacks and failures. I’ve started businesses that didn’t work or weren’t something that kept my interest and despite all this I’ve survived. None of these experiences have fatally injured me. I’m still alive and kicking! Even if I’m not where I want to be right at this moment in time, if I’ve learned anything from the experiences I’ve had in life then I can consider myself successful. But more importantly, I can say I tried!

The pursuit of happiness. Isn’t that part of what living the dream is all about?

We can’t always see the road ahead of us clearly through the fog we’ve created for ourselves. There will be times when the road is straight and other times the road will twist and wind. There might even be times when we get distracted and accidentally take a detour. We just have to trust and believe that the road we’re traveling will eventually lead us to where we want to be.

One of these days I’ll stumble into something that I love when I least expect it, when I’m not getting in my own way and when I do I know that my restless spirit will be content. I also know that when I do stumble along that path that it will be because I never gave up and I kept trying, even when I didn’t know what to do, where I was going, or what my dream was.

Here’s the link to the conversation that inspired this  post. I hope that you will enjoy it as much as I did.

May God bless you on your path to living your dream.

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