Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Living the Dream

It looks different, the Dream, to each of us.

Back in May, we were spending three days at a B&B in Montezuma, Iowa. It was planting time. Our host and his crew operated on multiple farms, working past dark to plant the corn on 4700 acres. He wasn't home yet when we went to bed, and he was gone already by the time we got up. A former teacher, Doug and his wife Stacy had decided to continue their families' farming tradition. They're the third generation. One afternoon Doug texted Stacy from the cab of his two-story tractor. "We're living the dream, Baby. We're living the dream."

Earlier this week, I visited my friend Vicki and her husband Monty on their boat in Edmonds, Washington. They moved from their family home five years ago onto their sailboat, Adessa. Tomorrow they leave Edmonds for San Francisco, then Mexico. Their plan is to spend summers in the Pacific Northwest, their winters in the warmer climates. Both of them are terrified - Monty of the financial uncertainty, Vicki of giving up the life she knows. But this life has been calling them for years. You're living the dream, Monty and Vicki.

Two and a half years ago, after my mother died, my sister Alyx and her husband Virgil left their jobs in southern California, where they'd stayed to help out my mother. They bought a motorhome and spent two months driving to Alaska. They lived in Homer for six months, then moved to Kenai. Virgil got a job as a WalMart manager and Alyx worked part time at the community college. Virgil is a lifelong fisherman and Alaska has the best of it. In two weeks Alyx starts nursing school in Anchorage. They will both be 56 this year. Alyx and Virgil are living the dream.

I've been not working for just over a year. The first year we took 14 trips. Must have been a dream of mine! We've been home since mid-May and have enjoyed the quieter time and the summer garden, but we have several more trips planned over the next eight months. For me, living the dream is the freedom to choose. To take what comes along each day. To change what I can, accept what I can't, be grateful for what I have. To be ready to live the next part of the dream when it comes along.

Living the dream - what does it look like to you?


Sally Wessely said...

This is a good question. I think just having the freedom of choice, as you said, is living the dream. I never really thought I would ever be able to retire. I did have visions of what retirement would look like for me. Where I live, and what I am doing is nothing like the vision I had.

I would like to live part-time in the mountains. I would like to live closer to children. I have never wanted to end up living where I do. For now, it is ok. In fact, it is mostly satisfying. My husband would never move from here, so I make the most of where I am planted. I'm not even sure I would be happy if I lived in the idyllic place I have a vision of in my head.

Rita said...

I had no clue when I was forced into being basically housebound that I would be living the dream, but I am. :):) Sometimes we don't even know what the dream is until we are in it. ;)

DJan said...

Same here, Linda. I am living the dream I never knew I had. Not much needed for me to be happier than I am right now. And you are certainly living your dream, even though you didn't realize it would have so much travel in it... :-)

Lynilu said...

Hmmm. I think my dream is being able to travel more. I'd love to be able to see family and friends more often. Other than that, however, I think I am living my dream. My life is pretty darn good!

Sandi said...

Your question makes me wonder . . . sometimes, I think I'm living the dream. Life is pretty good, the kids are stable, I love my job. I agree that freedom to choose is huge, without that life becomes uncomfortable.
I agree with what you said at the end, to accept what comes along, change what we can, be grateful. When we do these things, we are content, and that feels a lot like living the dream.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Freedom of choice is a big part of living the dream -- and so is loving what is. I feel I am definitely living the dream in the sense that all the extraneous jobs I needed the last twenty years to make ends meet and save for retirement are gone and I'm left with the one that always mattered most -- writing. Every day - a day that includes lingering over the newspaper, working out at the gym, swimming, reading the latest from the blogging community, talking with my husband and treasured friends -- is a delight.

Like you, I have been retired and relocated for just a little over a year and I love where I am -- psychologically, physically, geographically. Who knew? At other times of my life, I would have been aghast at living in the Arizona desert. But I've learned to appreciate its unique beauty, to take pleasure in my husband's total love for the desert and its heat, and to feel a sense of belonging in this new community.

Like Sally, I never truly believed, especially after the financial crash of 2008, that I would be able to retire. Just being at this point of life right now is a dream come true!

Georgia said...

Most of the time I think I am in a wonderful place and time. I just want to be open to what may be out there for me and not be afraid to try

Linda Reeder said...

Being retired and financially secure enough to enjoy it, that's living the dream for me these days. and another dream is coming true. My daughter and grand kids, and hopefully, soon, my son-in-law, are moving back to the old neighborhood. I will get to be an all-the-time grandma!

Arkansas Patti said...

Gosh, those were all pretty neat dreams though the boat one appealed the most.
If I could amp up my dream, I would have two homes in different parts of the country to follow the best weather. Other wise, I am quite happy.

Dee said...

Asking that question really opened up the floodgates for your readers. Thank you, Linda, for asking.

For myself, I'd like to move back to Minnesota--my home for 38 years. The new state in which I live doesn't feel like home to me.

Also, I'd like better health.

Finally, I'd like to be published again.

Someone recently said to me, "If you can't have what you want. Then want what you have." I suppose that's wise advice. But right now, I'm still longing for Minnesota. It's health and finances that keep me from moving back. I trust that all shall be well in the long run.

Beth said...

This is a great post and a very good question.

I think living the dream is pretty much having your goals in life satisfied and being content with that.

marciamayo said...

I love this post. While I didn't think I was living the dream, now I think maybe I am. I'm living my life and it's a good one.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Wow. That is probably the hardest question to answer that I've been faced with in a long time. if you'd asked what I want to do for a job or where I want to live those are more concrete questions that I can answer. But what dream do I want to live? Well, that's going to take a lot of thought because my dreams tend to change with the wind ;-)

I suppose ideally I'd be wealthy in the broad sense (not "rich" but more so enjoy the abundance of a rich life if you get my drift), get to travel often (especially all over to see family & friends as well as explore new places), be creative with the bulk of my time, blog about my adventures and not have any responsibilities that I don't deem to be necessary. I'd have a small home on Cape Cod, a small home here in the southwest and Matt would have a job that was portable so we could live this dream together.

I'm getting closer. Only the small homes and ability/need to travel elude me right now.

Linda, you give me inspiration to keep striving toward my own dream. Thank you so much!

ain't for city gals said...

Doing what I want when I want is my dream...every Monday morning I am always grateful I don't have to go to work just to pay bills...I would live in one of my little trailers before I did that again..looking forward to reading your past and future posts..

Deb Shucka said...

A lovely and insightful post. I've lived my dream the last two years - staying home to develop myself as a writer and a teacher of writing. I have travel dreams that are still just dreams, but that I'm determined to find my way to. I think in many ways living the dream means finding it wherever you are on the path.

Contrarian said...

I agree with Rita - I thought my dream was coming true - but now think it is still out there waiting for me to find it. And it probably has nothing to do with dogs or horses.

Girl Tornado said...

This is an amazing post. It is so succinct, and you are so right, that dream is different for everyone, yet at its core is the freedom to choose.

I hope in another year or two my hubby and I will have more financial freedom to choose our dream better. We are living our dream on 27 acres in Kansas, but still working secular jobs. Too much. :-\

Girl Tornado said...

Linda, I hope you don't mind, but I just featured your post on my blog. Part of my new "In the Spotlight" blog series. :-)

Sharon Dawn said...

Such a positive post and interesting question!

We too are living the dream in Alaska ( a little NW of your sister and her husband). There have been times when we wondered if it was actually a nightmare, but that could happen anywhere.

My husband and I had separate plans that we imagined in our own minds. When we met, we discovered much of it was the same so we quit our jobs, packed up and headed north on the Alcan Highway! Our final location has fewer trees that I had envisioned, but the life we have created has been interesting and fulfilling. Our kids were raised here and are now embarking on their own paths 1000's of miles in different directions. Watching them create their own lives is exciting to me.

Maybe just being able to wake up looking forward to your day, and going to sleep satisfied with the way it went, is the best dream no matter where you are?

Maura @ Kisiwa Creek Photography said...

Hello Linda,
I just came over from Susan's blog City Gal Moves To Oz Land. She's right..this was a wonderful post! It's interesting to read what others feel is their dream and they are so varied. I think I can honestly say that hubby and I are living our dream here on our little farm in Kansas...at least it's the dream for now. Maybe when he retires in a few more years we will both have another dream but for now...this life is perfect. I hope you have a wonderful day!
Maura :)