Finding Life Balance: Dreams & Hopes

It's funny, when life throws us a handful of options, how we can be like that dog from Up, "Squirrel!" and just want to run and chase all the pretty things and then how we end up kind of feeling exhausted and more depressed than ever at the end of the day.

But when we are young, that's exactly what we do, we explore, we have fun, we wear ourselves out with all the options, just going from one fleeting interest to the next until we feel settled, or sometimes exhausted. Perhaps we run out of money, or time, or both, or we feel that biological clock ticking and we want to calm down, start a family, or a business, or pay off the student loans so we start to sift a little more of the nonsense out and the more substantial things start to take shape.

Like a Giant Cat Toy

I have this laser pen that I keep in my top drawer for when my middle child, ok, fur baby, comes to bed early and he wants to "do something". Often, he ignores me, and that's totally fine. But when he is ready to play, he is as laser focused as the toy. If the toy was one giant red light, he'd be as annoyed as he generally is when anyone but me tries to pet him, but turn on the laser light, and he'll focus in, play, and have fun until the light goes away, and then he gets the anxieties. Yes, my poor baby gets the anxieties when the light is on too much and then turns off, after all....

Somebody's Got to Chase That Red Dot

When we get rock solid on our dreams, we narrow our focus, and the world and everything in it sort of falls away. I call this the zone, it happens when I'm learning, when I'm writing, when I'm basically doing anything that I need to do or want to do that doesn't involve crowds of people. But when we come out of the tunnel (vision) the sights, sounds, and sensory overload can cause us to feel too much and get overloaded by too much stimulation, too many thoughts, feelings, and overwhelm can set in. It happens to my cat, and it can happen when we have too many choices, an inability to focus, an abundance of time, or we feel pressure to perform and don't feel equipped with what we need to do what is expected for some sort of outcome, whether from internal or external pressure.

"You don't get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on actions that produce results." Mike Hawkins

Remember Your Beginnings

Unfortunately, too many of us get caught up in the performance, the drivers, the results, and outcome of our endeavors and we forget to have fun while we are doing the "job" of life. We measure ourselves by our output of housework, productivity and sales at work, financial goals, milestones in relationships. We see our peers getting married, having babies, buying houses, and we feel like we have to keep up or we aren't enough.

But what if exactly what you are doing, no matter what that looked like, was exactly enough? What if the people who had the fancy cars, great furniture, and the gorgeous babies never take the time to appreciate a sunrise, or have deep conversations that stir their souls, or really stop to think about the legacy they are leaving behind? What if one day they stop and notice they have decades of life behind them, but they were too busy to notice it all? And you are there with your steady pace, taking in the things at your leisure, appreciating less glamorous but still adequate things and loving the people around you deeply, caring for yourself in ways that allow you to live less frenetically, prolonging experiences to have more lasting memories and enjoy even the down times to grow closer to your family and friends?

Taking the opportunity to go the long road, to take in life experiences and continue to explore fun hobbies, interests, and push yourself to the extents of what is possible beyond the normal chores and achievements is what makes life interesting. You don't have to be all dollars and goals, sometimes you can just take a walk to enjoy the air, the company, or solitude as it is.

You can remember who you are at the core, what you set out with as ideals in your youth, and enjoy the journey all along the way. There is no deadline on achieving peace of mind or happiness, just a lovely dangling thread there waiting for you to grasp it, kind of like when I go fishing for kitties with the ball of yarn I have occasionally, I'm sure I'll catch one sooner or later, and it's so much fun when I do. I don't stress about possibility or worry about if it will happen, I throw out the thread and allow things to happen naturally, and it's the same wonderful approach to life that has allowed great things to happen there too.

Catch and Release

The bottom line is, there are no right answers for you to choose one way or the other when you are young and starting out in life, and there is no wrong way to go either, unless it's destructive or unsustainable. If you are growing, learning, and finding things to be challenging but steady, with a demonstrable amount of satisfaction, keep at it. If you are finding comfort, making yourself happy, causing the world to be a slightly better place than when you left it and making some money doing it, keep going.