For a while now, I’ve been chewing on some radical new ideas to break free from the societal shackles I’ve allowed myself to get locked up in. More on all of that at a later date, but it got me thinking. How much time do you spend towing some imaginary line?
There’s an increasingly outdated order to life that a lot of people automatically subscribe to: Go to school, get an entry-level job, work your butt off in hopes for a promotion or more money, get married, buy a house, have kids, bust your ass to pay for them, hope you don’t screw them up too much, all while trying to sock away some savings so you can enjoy life once you retire.
Fortunately, more and more people are rethinking their choices. A lot of friends and clients, all who seem to be around the same age – early 40s, are talking about breaking free. They’re realizing, given the more virtual workplace, that they have many more options than the generations before.
We’re no longer tied to the 9-5 grind, working for “the man,” and putting all of our eggs in one, corporate basket. And speaking of eggs (pardon the segue) more and more people are choosing to be childfree, which affords even more flexibility and mobility in their lifestyles.
As exciting as these new options are, it can be challenging to go for it because it means breaking a lot of molds along the way; molds that come in the form of traditional definitions of success, projection of friends’ and families’ fears and limitations, and blocking beliefs that tell us if we don’t tow that age-old line, then we’re lazy, entitled, and selfish.
However, when you’re a spiritual pioneer in any regard, it’s almost always going to require some machete swinging to blaze a trail… and it’s always worth it. Sure, you may give something new a chance and it ends up being nothing like you hoped or expected, but isn’t that better than living with the regret of never trying it at all?
Think about the areas in your life that are itching for change. Instead of towing the line, shake it and see what happens.
For example, maybe you’re thinking about homeschooling your kids instead of sending them to a traditional institution. Instead of slipping into black-or-white thinking (which is always triggered by fear), give yourself permission to take one small step to explore the option. Talk to someone who homeschools about their experience, or do some research and reading on the subject. By dismissing it outright frustrates that expansive, dreamer part of you and shuts her down.
If you’re doing the 9-5 grind, consider having a conversation with your boss about shifting your work hours to 7-3 or 10-6, or ask to work from home one or two days a week. Before you roll your eyes and say, “That’ll never fly at my job,” take some time to think about it. Again, let’s engage and encourage your dreamer spirit, one step at a time.
So whether you dream of packing up and moving to Belize, selling your car and relying on your bike instead, or renting an apartment instead of owning a home, give yourself the gift of exploration before shutting down your dreamer. You need her for both the radical and not-so-radical changes you want to make in your life.
Now I’d love to hear from YOU. What lines are you towing? If you could have a “do-over”, what area of your life would you use it on? What do you think of those who say to hell with societal expectations and do their own thing? Do you envy them? Judge them? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments below.