Livin’ the dream. It’s a phrase we often hear and even use ourselves when asked about our lives. But what does it really mean? Are we truly living the dream, or do we half-heartedly say “Yes” while knowing deep down that we’re far from it? In this blog, I’d like to explore the meaning behind “livin’ the dream” and encourage you to reflect on your own life and consider whether your answer is an honest one.

Because toward the end of my career, and as I entered into retirement, my answer on the outside was yes, but my heart said no.

You see, “Livin’ the Dream” is an illusion. It stems from societal pressures, unrealistic expectations, and a narrow definition of success and happiness. We are often bombarded with images and narratives that depict an idealized version of life, where everything is perfect, and dreams effortlessly come true. 

This can lead us to believe that everyone else has it all figured out while we’re left wondering why our own lives don’t measure up.

Hello social media anyone?

However, the truth is that everyone’s journey is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all formula for living the dream. What may be fulfilling and meaningful for one person might not resonate with another. It’s crucial to recognize that the illusion of “Livin’ the Dream” can be detrimental to our well-being if we blindly chase an ideal that isn’t aligned with our true desires and values.

So, what can you do?

The key to breaking free from this illusion is to redefine what living the dream means to you personally. It’s about discovering your own path, pursuing your authentic passions, and finding fulfillment on your own terms. Here are a few reasons why the dream doesn’t have to be an illusion:

  1. Authenticity: Embracing your authentic self and being true to your values and passions is a vital aspect of living the dream. Many people are afraid of pursuing their dreams because they worry about what others might say or think. They feel trapped by societal expectations and the fear of judgment. However, living authentically requires the courage to break free from these constraints and embrace your true passions. By embracing who you truly are, you can create a life that aligns with your core beliefs and brings you genuine happiness.
  2. Personal Fulfillment: True fulfillment comes from engaging in activities that bring you joy, meaning, and a sense of purpose. It’s about finding the things that make your heart sing, whether it’s a hobby, a career, or a cause you’re passionate about. When you align your actions with your passions, you can experience a deeper sense of satisfaction and contentment.
  3. Growth and Challenges: Living the dream doesn’t mean a life free of challenges and setbacks. In fact, it often involves taking risks, stepping out of your comfort zone, and embracing growth opportunities. It’s through these challenges that we discover our strengths, learn valuable lessons, and ultimately find greater fulfillment in our journey.
  4. Finding Balance: Another aspect of living the dream is finding balance in all areas of life. It’s not just about career success or material possessions but also about nurturing relationships, maintaining good physical and mental health, and enjoying a sense of inner peace. Striving for a well-rounded and balanced life allows for a more holistic experience of living the dream.
  5. Embracing Change: Dreams and aspirations can evolve over time, and that’s perfectly normal. Embracing change and adapting to new circumstances is an essential part of the journey. It’s okay to shift your priorities, explore new interests, and redefine your dreams as you grow and change as an individual.

To understand whether you’re truly living the dream, it’s crucial to reflect on your own life honestly. Ask yourself if you wake up every morning excited about what lies ahead or if you feel trapped in a routine that brings you no joy. 

Consider whether your work aligns with your passions and values or if it’s merely a means to pay the bills. If you find yourself going through the motions without a sense of purpose or meaning, it’s a clear sign that you’re not living the dream. When every day feels like a monotonous cycle, it’s time to pause and reevaluate your priorities.

Finally, let me say something about the retirement dilemma. Retirement is often seen as the time to finally live the dream, but what if you haven’t planned for this chapter of life? When you find yourself at a loss for direction and purpose, retirement can become a source of anxiety rather than fulfillment. But, if you’re nearing the end of your career and thinking about retirement, it’s the perfect opportunity to take your “No” answer and figure out how you’ll live the dream in your new chapter after retirement so you can turn it into a resounding “Yes.”

Take some time to explore what truly brings you joy and fulfillment. Identify your passions, values, and interests. What activities make you lose track of time? Once you have a clear vision of your dreams, you can start taking action towards them.

Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered. 

My Next Chapter Plan™ Academy was designed with you in mind. I’ll help you reflect on where you’ve been, define your dreams, uncover your values and talent, muster the courage to make changes, shift your mindset, challenge societal expectations, and design the life of your dreams. 

It’s never too late to follow your dreams or to honestly say, “Yes” when someone asks you if you’re livin’ the dream. Doors to the Next Chapter Plan™ Academy open soon. You can get on the waitlist here. And, if you want to start thinking about what might light you up in your chapter after retirement, take the Zone of Genius quiz. It’s free and fun!