From a very early age, you are conditioned to follow a script. And that script is often referred to as The American Dream. You’re born, you live out your childhood, go to college, get married, buy a house, and by the ripe age of 25 you are expected to have your own children and repeat the cycle all over again.
But if you think that’s when you’ve made it, you’re wrong! You must slave yourself to a job that may or may not have been what you went to school for so you can be asked about it every single time you see or talk to a family member, as if our jobs are the only thing about ourselves worth talking about.
The thing about this “American Dream” is that, it’s great and all if that’s the path you choose to take, but what if it’s not? Do you fail? What if as a child you aren’t set up to follow the steps exactly as they are outlined in the life user manual?
With social media playing a major roll in peoples lives, it’s so easy to compare life to other people. It’s so easy to see someone’s life and question where you are in your life, or even alter your personal goals because you feel you need to follow the path you see people online following.
I feel people often need a reminder that there is no life user manual. We all enjoy and want different things, and we are in no place to tell others the correct way of doing things. Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone followed the same path. We don’t, and that is what makes meeting new people so interesting. We all come from different walks of life and have different stories. If you can say you are genuinely happy in life… who cares what path you took to get there. Any path that leads to a happy life, is a successful path to me.
The first step of coming to the realization of this was when my husband and I were on our honeymoon. We were enjoying the high of just getting married and we were so enthralled with the beach. I completely fell in love with how scenic and beautiful the area was. It was my first time seeing the ocean. My appreciation for life and the world was at an all time high.
The more we explored the city, the more I started paying attention to every little detail. And the one thing that stood out the most to me was that life is functioning normally here. Here we are on this beautiful, breathtaking island and people are going to work. In fact, people are doing the same jobs we are back in our small town. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “we could move here.” And at first he laughed, but then I told him how serious I was. Because I was dead serious.
Why couldn’t we move to a place that takes our breath away? In fact, there was absolutely no reason why we couldn’t make a move like this. We made a pact to each other that we were going to move this year. We owed this to ourselves and each other to give each other the best versions of ourselves. My vow to my husband was to give him a wife that not only loves life and being alive, but to always encourage him to experience life and live every moment to the fullest. Deciding to leave everything we knew behind to better ourselves, was the very first step of that. And we not only wanted to take that step, we needed to take that step.
The first few months were full of researching. Planning a vacation back there so we could get a better idea of the town. Planning how we would do this. Talking to people who have done it. Watching videos of people who have moved to the area and learning from them and their mistakes.
Then the unexpected happened. I was faced with the loss of my grandma. A couple months before we were going to go back to Florida to get the wheels in motion for our move, I was spending the last 2 weeks with my grandma and the rest of our family. I didn’t know it was possible to experience the high of getting married, seeing the ocean for the first time, planning to move across the country, and then the complete despair of losing a grandparent you were very close to. Talk about a contrast of emotions.
My husband and grandma had a moment where she told him he was a good man, thanked him for taking care of me and giving me a good life, and told us how proud she was of us. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. I think it was confirmation to him that we had to make this move work.
My mind was very distracted from the move at this point, but I remember sitting by my grandmas bed and I realized there was nobody else in the room. At this point, my grandma wasn’t holding conversation very well anymore, and would only say a few things. I remember I said to her, “Grandma, I think we are going to move to Florida this year.” And she turned her head towards me and said, “do it, but make sure you have enough to eat.” Talk about a life motto.
“Do it, but make sure you have enough to eat.”
If you really analyze that, that’s how we should all look at life. Do the things you want to do, see the things you want to see, but make sure you’re taking care of yourself at all times. I’ll always have that as my last phrase of wisdom from my grandma. Her support and pride for us will be something we cherish for the rest of our lives.
By the time we went back to Florida on vacation, I was feeling more motivated than ever. We were starting to put the wheels in motion to prepare for the move, and I was seeing what I believe were signs from the universe that this not only was going to happen, but it needed to happen.
I believe strongly in The Law of Attraction, but I also believe hard work and dedication is crucial to your dreams coming true. We spent the days we had on vacation like we already lived there. We talked about the island as if it was already our home. We didn’t have hope we were going to move there, we knew in the next few months we were going to be living there. And a few months later we were driving down to Florida to start our new life.
Moving across the country was something that was entirely our own. We put our minds to it, and we made it happen. We received so much support, but also discouragement and negativity around the idea which made us feel like some people didn’t believe we were capable of pulling something like this off. The thing is, no one had any legitimate reason to believe this couldn’t happen for us. We had to remind ourselves that we know ourselves, our life, and our situation better than anyone else. There was no reason to not move forward with this move.
To us, it was the easiest decision we ever made. We weren’t truly living our life in our hometown. We were happy with each other, but we weren’t experiencing life in a way that challenged us, or was giving us a fulfilling life. Once we realized we could take the comfortability of our marriage and take that somewhere we can feel we get to do and see more, it became the obvious choice.
Reality is that sometimes life is mundane. Not every moment is going to be an adventure, but you should love your life and the path you are on. You should love where you live. You should surround yourself with experience and things you love. You shouldn’t have to wait for your vacation time, to enjoy your life 2 weeks out of the year.
It’s like my grandma said, “do it, but make sure you have enough to eat.” Do the things in life you desire, but you’ll have to continue to do the simple things to care for yourself and maintain the life you desire. Our move was step one out of an endless amount of goals we have set to accomplish here. The dreaming never stops.
No one ever tells you to follow the path less traveled. Your life isn’t over if you do things out of order. Your intelligence isn’t always measured by a degree. Different results come from different methods. If we would taken the safe route in fear of failing, we would have missed the opportunity to experience the things that made us better people.
Nobody can tell you what to do with your life. Nobody can tell you what’s best for you. You are responsible for your life and your experiences. People can only give you advice based on their own experiences, which are apart from what yours could be.
Don’t allow other people to measure your success, only you can determine what success means to you. The American Dream is what you chose to make of the world in front of you. Life is your playground. Have fun with it.