My husband and I grew up in suburban New Jersey. We left for a few years to attend school, then came back, met, married and built our home. We raised our son in New Jersey and continue to live here today.
We dream of moving elsewhere, to a place that’s warm year-round. Somewhere where we can live a simple and joyful life, in a place where I’ll feel healthier from the change in weather. That change could mean a difference in my physical strength, enabling me to live a richer, fuller life.
We long to live in an area where winter means sunshine and a temperate climate. We talk about warmth whenever there’s a snowfall, or if the temperature dips below freezing.
“What are we doing here?” I’d often say to my husband. “Your whole family lives in warm weather, soaking up sunshine all year long. We must be crazy!”
We are not fancy people, so our needs are quite simple. Like any parent, we want our son to be healthy, happy and fulfilled, and we’d like the same for ourselves. Wherever we live that is all that we ask.
Alice laughed. “There was no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,”said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
Spending our leisure time enjoying the outdoors year round, without the need for sweaters, boots or heavy coats, seems surreal to us right now.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ~J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is right. We don’t want to forget to live, and are mindful that where we are right now is where we are meant to be. But still we continue to dream.
We talk with friends and family who live in communities we’re interested in, and have met with realtors to visit some listings. We scan the Internet for information about best places to live and best places to find jobs for 50-somethings.
We talk, plan, dream, hope and wonder.
The dream seems unattainable. There are too many things holding us back. Yet life moves on.
Our story is not unique. Many people feel disillusioned with their lives; they feel wholly unfulfilled. As Baby Boomers there are circumstances that may tie us down. We begin to believe that our dreams will never come true.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
The poet Robert Browning once said,
“Each life unfulfilled, you see;
It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
Starved, feasted, despaired, –been happy..”
Yes, an unfulfilled life is at a standstill, hanging in the balance.So we must continue to visualize our dreams for our own sake – whether it’s a career change, moving to another location or planning a trip around the world.
Now that I’m in my fifties I have a strong need to try to take my first baby steps toward realizing my dreams. It may take awhile, even years, but it’s time to begin the work.
I’ve outlined four tools to help us mentally prepare to make our dreams come true.
- CREATE A VISION BOARD – While in my twenties and thirties, most vision boards were related to issues concerning career paths or confidence and self-esteem boosters. My vision board will be focused on where I want to live. If you’d like to try your hand at making your own vision board, take a look at Christine Kane’s “Mentor to Women Who Are Changing The World” – it’s a good introduction to what a vision board is and shows you how to make one.
- SPIRITUALITY – It’s important to find something to believe in that provides us with inner strength during good and bad times. I’m guided by the basic Jewish tenets of honoring The Ten Commandments, doing mitzvahs (good deeds) and believing in one G-d. But I find I need more. I have a keen interest in spirituality. I’ve witnessed people relying on their faith when weathering personal trauma. So I’ve started my own spiritual journey. I’ve read books about Buddhism and the teachings of the Dalai Lama (The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama.) My daily meditation and weekly yoga classes have taught me about mindfulness (Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness for Beginners and Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life.)
- COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY – It helps to send positive thoughts out into the Universe.There is something to the power of positive thinking, so learning how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones is important. According to CBT, first acknowledge a negative thought, visualize wrapping it in a ball and tossing it away. Then replace your negative thought with a positive one.
- 4. COMMUNICATION – It ‘s important to discuss your thoughts and feelings with others. It’s freeing, and perhaps you’ll learn a different perspective on a situation from someone who cares. Be open and honest with yourself as you learn the realities necessary to take that first giant step toward your goals.
We’ve rounded the corner past 50. It’s time to visualize how we want our life to look for the next fifty years. Where do you want to live? Do you have a passion you’d like to try? Would you enjoy learning a new skill? Do you have a Bucket List? Whatever you’d like to do, visualize it, research it, plan it, talk about it and then (as Nike says) – JUST DO IT!