On several occasions, I’ve heard people remark about my travels: “Must be nice.” Some say it when I’m not around. Others have said it to me directly.
|Sunset at Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Charish Badzinski.|
The comment used to feel like a personal jab. Now, I have a different opinion. I feel sad for the unhappy people who say it.
Sad, because it implies that some people have everything handed to them, and others do not.
Sad, because it shows they believe they can’t have what they really want in life.
Sad, because it indicates that they feel trapped in the life they have created for themselves.
Do you see yourself in these words? Do you find that you’ve approached the good fortune of others with this attitude? If so, breaking out of it requires a shift in your thinking.
|Make the leap! Photo by Rollerbag Mom.|
1. First, think for a moment about your life’s dreams. What do you really want? Maybe they are travel-related, maybe they aren’t. I knew a guy who dreamed of visiting every professional baseball park in the country. He was an average guy, with an average income and an awesome goal. He was also confronted with the “must be nice” from time to time. His thinking, “If you want to do it, do it.” Think about what you have always wanted to do with your life. What speaks to you on a soul-deep level? Maybe you are living your dreams. If so, good for you!
2. Realize that the life that you have is a direct result of the choices you’ve made. Do you have a mortgage and car loan to repay? That is a result of your decision to buy a house and a car. Perhaps these expenses are holding you back from being able to afford what you really want. Do you hate your job? Do you love it? Whether you go in to work is a daily choice you make. In fact, whether you pay your bills on time is a choice (one with consequences, of course). Whether you get dressed and get out of bed is a choice. What you put in your mouth….you guessed it, is a choice. Sometimes the choices aren’t good, but you always have one. Are you choosing obligations or expenses that are keeping you from being able to choose what you really want?
3. Ferret out the choices that are not helping you achieve your life’s dreams, and make new choices that do. You can change your mind. So, you wanted to be a physician, and now you don’t. Maybe you wanted to surround yourself with a collection of ceramic cats, and now, it no longer fulfills you. You wanted the big, suburban house and the SUV, and now you wish you could spend your money in another way. Look at the choices you have made that have brought you to this particular place of unhappiness or malaise. Now, what changes can you make that will free you to achieve your life’s dreams? Do that, instead. Remember that you don’t have to live by some socially-constructed life guide: you know, two kids, white picket fence, two cars, desk job, 401K. These are all choices. You can rewrite the guide to suit your own personal dreams. Are you in a place of total happiness? (Maybe that fits the socially-dictated guide after all!) Good for you! Celebrate the choices you’ve made that have brought you to this point, and celebrate others who have achieved the life they want for themselves through their choices.
Using the words, “must be nice” relinquishes your power to choose your life. It essentially lets you off the hook for all of the choices you’ve made that got you to this point.
Creating the life you want for yourself means making choices toward the achievement of your personal goals. For me, that goal is exploration of our amazing world and sharing the experience with others. If you think it must be nice to live my dreams, I must confess: it is!
Here’s hoping that living your dreams is just as nice.
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