Monday, April 25, 2011

The View of Your Life & the Guy in the Cowboy Hat

Sometimes it is really hard to figure out what you want to do. And sometimes you realize you’ve known it all along but you’re too scared to tell anyone.

I thought about this during the amazing mini-beach vacation Jeremy and I went on this weekend courtesy of my birthday wish. As a Florida-born girl with a mom who was terrified of airplanes, all of my favorite vacations and teenage moments happened at the beach.

It was the first place I took my car when I got my driver’s license. It was where I cultivated my love of reading. It was where I got married. It is where I feel most alive.

Now obviously I’m not the only one who feels this way about the grand ocean. There is a reason why the super wealthy buy their own islands and why almost every beach is lined with sky-high hotel buildings trying to fit as many people as possible into their little boxes of paradise.

Can I tell you a secret? I’ve always wanted to live in one of those boxes. It all started with a 9th grade English writing assignment.

Our English teacher told us to close our eyes and visualize our life in 10 years and then write it down. I’m actually just realizing as I write this that, at age 14 in 9th grade, I was visualizing my life right now, at age 24.  Whoa.

I remember my visualization so clearly. It was me, sitting on a light blue couch with airy white curtains blowing in as the sea breeze and the ocean air fluttered the pages of the book I was writing. I was a writer, living on the beach. Free. Peaceful, content, happy.

Cut to 10 years later and life doesn’t look much like my 14-year-old self might have imagined. Though I am sitting here on my porch with a view of a nice pond and I’m writing to you and am pretty peaceful, content, and happy,I had to pay lots of money per night for my beautiful ocean view.

And while I’m working on my dream to have a book published, I’m hardly a writer who can escape the 9 to 5 and live blissfully on the beach.

Although in all honesty, I don’t think I could survive being a writer and being alone all day in a little condo on the beach. I like people too much and have learned that beyond personal diary-like musings and sharing of life lessons, I don’t know if I’d ever be cut out to be an actual writer for my entire life.

However, deep down, I know I still want to live on the beach one day. And even deeper, I still wish that I was a writer.

Whew. There. I said it. It feels weird.

It’s hard to say those things you wish for your life because no matter how confident you are in yourself, your abilities, or your work ethic, you just feel silly sometimes.

So while I often tell you to believe you can do anything and go for your dreams, I’m always telling myself too.  Because it is scary.

And just like last week when I said to let action precede motivation, sometimes you also have to let action precede belief. Because sometimes it is really hard to believe you can do something.

Sometimes it is really scary to try to do something when in the back of your mind that little voice says, “who do you think you are trying to be that? Don’t you know who you are? You’ll never….”

And it can be hard to shut that voice up. I find the best way is to not wait until it is quiet. Sometimes you just need to crank up your favorite song and charge ahead and just do it despite the doubt.

Because deep down I think everyone who has ever done anything great or admirable has had those doubts and those voices. I don’t think they learned how to quiet them. I think they learned how to charge ahead despite them.

And it was the vast and beautiful ocean that reminded me of all this this weekend (even despite the odd man in a giant man-kini bottom and cowboy hat who frequently walked by like he was Jeff Bridges in True Grit).

So take a few moments and picture your life in 10 years. Better yet, picture your life in 4 years. What are you doing? Where are you? What does it smell like? What does it look like? How do you feel?

Write it down. Don’t be afraid to think about it. Don’t be afraid to tell someone. And don’t let those weird crazy negative voices wearing man-kini’s and cowboy hats distract you. Just give ’em a good ol’ smile and chuckle as they walk by and keep enjoying the view. 
The view from our hotel Sat. morning :)

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