Have you ever dreamed of quitting your day job, leaving your life behind and traveling the world?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably dreamed about it quite a bit. Maybe you’ve actually entertained the idea somewhat seriously, before finally talking yourself out of it because you figured you needed to focus on working and making money.
I did that for a long time too.
Not very long ago I was working a regular job — actually, it was basically as good a job you can get if you’re someone like me, who hates the monotony of working in an office.
I worked for a Silicon Beach startup where I had flexible hours and unlimited vacation days (nice try, HR, we know the truth) yet still, I would complain that my job was stifling my creativity and limiting my travel time.
Limited travel time just wasn’t going to work for me long-term. I have family living in two countries: Canada and the US. And don’t even get me started on where my friends live!
I felt like I was repeatedly forced to choose between who to spend my vacation days on. This tradeoff was continually frustrating for me and I definitely wasn’t winning any popularity contests with my loved ones.
I asked myself, Why am I living like this?
Was a salary truly worth never being able to see my family for holidays, missing weddings, funerals, and other major life events?
The answer was a definitive no.
I remember making a list one day in my journal of all the countries I wanted to visit. Then I did a little math (really out of character for me) and realized that if I wanted to spend just ONE week in each of those countries, it would take me AT LEAST 50 years to ever explore all of them.
….Will I even be alive in 50 years??
I’m not ready to do THAT equation!
I knew I needed to make some changes. I started doing some soul searching about what I would really like to do as a career, and how I really wanted to live my life.
All it took for me to FINALLY decide to change my lifestyle was a vacation to the Mayan Riviera (which I never wanted to come back from!).
Suddenly everything clicked. I realized that my chosen career path could be pursued completely online and, more importantly, on my own terms.
When I returned home, I told my best friend: “I’m moving to Mexico.”
She said, “I KNEW IT!!!”
When I started to tell people my intentions to quit my job and move to Mexico the reactions were… varied.
The people that knew me knew Mexico was a special place for me and they were thrilled to see me make these changes.
Some people were in awe of the fact that I actually made moves toward living my dreams rather than writing them off and filing them away to collect dust.
Other people were skeptical. They were outwardly supportive, but I could tell they were really thinking “okaayyyy… good luck…” rather than the optimism that they attempted to project.
When people have positive reactions to my life choices, it feels thrilling, and it is motivating. When they have lukewarm or negative reactions… it can be deflating.
When you’re making a big life change, it’s important to remember that nobody knows you, your heart, your brain, or your potential as well as YOU do.
It’s unfortunate, but it seems to me that many people are quick to dismiss those of us that choose to live “alternative” lifestyles. It can be tough to go against the grain — I mean, who wants to feel like a weird loner?!
When you’re in this situation you have a few choices: you can either conform to the expectations of the people around you, go against them, or surround yourself with new people.
Don’t let anyone try to stifle your dreams because they don’t have enough imagination to envision how they could work out.
In college, I remember going to dinner parties with my parents and their friends. Naturally, people would ask what I was studying.
“English Lit and Hispanic Studies” I would say, with enthusiasm.
“Oh, so you’re going to be a teacher?” Was the response I was met with 80% of the time.
I’ve never wanted to be a teacher. I’ve always wished I wanted to be a teacher, because ooooh how much easier my life would have been if I had. For a long time, I wished I had a career aspiration with a clear path to success.
Things would have been a lot less tense at those dinner parties if I’d only wanted to become a teacher (or had the sense to say I did).
And forget about telling anyone I wanted to be a writer.
There’s nothing wrong with pursuing something you love even if the path to success is uncertain. To expect everyone to follow a traditional career path is unrealistic … don’t you think?
We shouldn’t limit ourselves to the potential that OTHER people see for us.
Our futures aren’t dependent on their knowledge or perception of what is possible. They’re dependent on ours.
So let me ask you something:
How do you feel about the life you’re living?
Is it the path you’ve always imagined for yourself, or is there something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve been putting off?
In my case, my path was becoming an entrepreneur and moving abroad.
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