We were talking about the trap. We were talking about the world, society, life, passion, dreams. Easy conversations for us. Topical subject because of the stress I’ve been feeling. We were slowing things down, in conversation by talking about big, intangible things and ides. We were talking about living the dream.
We all have a different dream. We all want to live it. Almost none of us are living ours.
He’s living the dream, he tells me. He means it. But it sounds funny to hear it. He doesn’t have a jet or a boat or a mansion. In fact, it’s not even that he doesn’t have the luxuries, but this new friend of mine does not even have the necessities.
He has almost nothing. He rents a room, gets rides from friends, he hops from job to job, if he’s lucky enough to have one. Everything he created in his youth was destroyed, sabotaged, ruined and is gone forever. As we know, the way things play out when we make mistakes or face enemies who win (even if that enemy is within us) the wheels of justice have put in place restrictions on him ever getting back what he lost. Everything he had: career, family, house, lifestyle — is gone. Details don’t matter, but here he is telling me he is living the dream.
“I live my life on the minimum. Never beyond what I can afford. It keeps me free,” he said. “For me, it’s about catching waves, laughing with friends, owning your time.” I’m jealous of this for a split-second. and then I’m not because thinking of what he has is a reminder of what he has lost. Everything I treasure is everything he lost. My lifestyle might bring stress but it is glorious. I have everything doesn’t. What he has that I don’t have is something I can achieve — attitude adjustment, gratitude, perspective. And he’s helping me get there. The generosity of people who will give you everything you need who by all appearances look to have nothing you want still inspires me.
“Maybe you’re paying bills and going to the gym and doing the work for other people to reach their dreams but if you’re living the dream people really want. Most people don’t really want jets and boats and mansions. Most people don’t want to be the rich and famous. Most people want to be you. Most people want what you have.”
At this moment in time, I’m in need of his mindset. So many times, I give my perspective, my attention, my feedback. So many times I am the voice of reason and the emotional outlet for others. I rarely need or have that for myself. This time I need it and here he is — new friend but recent stranger, walking on the beach with me at sunrise picking up shells.
He’s listening so I’m taking. I can’t help it. It’s come to that. Then he’s talking and I’m listening. I have so much to say. I have so much to learn.
A conversation across our differences, worlds apart in lifestyle, but simpatico in nature and mind. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered.
“It’s about watching the sunrise on the beach side in the morning and then watching it set from the island at night and taking stock of your day. You will never have that day again. You never know what tomorrow will bring or if you will get to tomorrow.”
I love the sunsets. I love the sunrise. He is speaking right to my core right now. His words are resonating with my essence.
The next day I send him a text.
“It’s about drinking coffee naked in your house.” I’m standing in my kitchen naked, the sun is streaming in the window. It’s 11 am and I slept in. The kids are at sleepovers. It’s the weekend. I’m deciding if I should clean or work or shower or read or go back to sleep. I am enjoying the fuck out of this moment.
“There you go.” He replies. “You are living the dream. It may only be for five minutes but you are living the dream right now.”
He was right. This thought blows my mind. I am living the dream right now. It may only last for five minutes but I am living it, right here, right now, naked drinking coffee in a kitchen flooded with sunshine. And then the next thought came. I can do this. This is manageable.
In that moment, not only did I have the bright hot clarity of knowing I was living the dream — for five minutes — but I was also aware that my life was forever changed by casual conversation about life with someone I didn’t even know the week before.
I went from “I am so overwhelmed. I am struggling. I am sinking I am drowning and I am miserable” to “I am living the dream in five-minute doses and all I need to do to change my life is increase the frequency and length of my dose.”
I went from I can’t do this to I can do this. From, I am sinking to I am living the dream. In a split second, with a handful of words I’d been given a fresh perspective that changed my whole attitude.
I’m back to living in my abundance of ideas, hope, energy. I reached out to wisdom and it gave me a pull up. It was that fast. Nothing and everything has changed in a moment.
Today, my goal is not to find a new career, write a book, pay off all my debt, lose 20 pounds, make more money, sell my house, or any of these massive things that my mind spins on in the hopes of relieving all this motherfucking stress.
My goal now is to increase the frequency and length of the moments when I am living the dream. Increase five minutes to ten. Live fully in these moments daily.
I CAN DO THIS. THIS IS MANAGEABLE.
Now go take five minutes to drink a cup of coffee naked in your kitchen or whatever it is you dream about.