When we are young, we have these grandiose dreams of what our lives will be when we grow up. I wanted to be the first woman president- strong, powerful, the leader of the free world. Then I changed my mind, as children often do; I now wanted to be famous- rich, traveling, living my life to fullest, without a care in the world. But as we get older, reality hits, life hits. Responsibility is the new grandiose plan; the carefree school days are gone like the wind. Life now consists of work, bills, and for some, children. But, what many people forget is that life does not have to rest within those limits.
Dictionary.com defines limited as, "confined within limits; restricted or circumscribed; lacking originality or scope; narrow."
Work, kids, bills, responsibility- all words we use when describing our lives. None sound very exciting, unfortunately they are our reality. But, they are just one aspect of our daily lives. These things do not have to stop us from seeking out what we truly want and enjoy in life. For me, that wish is nothing more than happiness. But for others that may mean taking that dream vacation, relocating, changing careers, or even getting a divorce.
Consider the following:
Karen is 29 and has been working as a Manager at a Fortune 400 company for 4 years. While she initially thought this was her dream job (the benefits were great, as was the pay), she found that the day-to-day monotony of the job bored her to no end. Besides that, she hated her boss, even though her co-workers were what made the day go by. But on this particular day, after being berated by her supervisor -again- for a mistake she did not make, Karen had had enough. She went to her desk and instantly started to type her letter of resignation. Once she finished, she put it in a sealed envelope in preparation to give it to her boss. That's when Karen's reality set in. She has a 5 year old daughter at home- she's a single mother, living in an expensive city. She has to pay her rent, before and after school care, car note, student loans, and the list goes on and on and on. So she stops, with the envelope still in her hand, sits back down, and throws the letter in the trash. Karen needs this job, she needs the money, she needs the security, and she needs the stability. While she has her savings, she does not know if it is sufficient to take care of her and her daughter- especially when today, jobs are so hard to find.
So what does Karen do? Continue working at this job even though she's unhappy? After all, it has only been 4 years, she thinks, maybe things will get better. Or does Karen do something else?
In this scenario, Karen felt trapped- stuck in a career that she was no longer happy with, but afraid to leave it because she felt obligated to her responsibilities.
And this is one of the things that limits us as a people, fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of change.
Fear is crippling.
Dictionary.com defines limitless as being "without limit; boundless."
Karen now has a decision to make. You see, before Karen got pregnant, she was a dancer. She had danced since she was her daughter's age, and it was one of the things that truly made her smile. But when the pregnancy came, she thought it would be best to stop dancing- after all she would be focused on a newborn and she knew time wouldn't permit; she was also somewhat insecure, she wasn't sure if her body would go back to it's lean, pre-pregnancy form.
As Karen sat at her desk, pondering her life and how she ended up stuck in this miserable state, she had a thought. She could start her own dance company! It seemed silly at first, after all, she did not know anything about business. But she did know dance. So, Karen decided to sleep on it. And when she awoke the next morning, she was convinced- she formulated a plan that would hopefully lead to her dance company.
But Karen did not just stop with planning, she actually DID what she set out to do. She made a comprehensive 5-year-plan. While she still had to keep her job as a Manager, she had a new motivation behind working. Her current position would keep her earning the money she needed to start her dance company.
In 4 1/2 years' time, Karen had done it. Her dream was complete. She was 33, her daughter 9, and she had her company.
In that scenario, Karen decided not to let her life stop her, if anything, it was her motivation for something better.
This is the type of thing we have to do- it's hard, and it's scary, but it is the only way to know what our potential is. We have to be the ones to change our circumstances. Do not limit yourself. Do the things you want to do; do the things that truly make you happy. Contrary to popular belief, life is long...too long to be miserable when you have the power to improve it.
Of course change is easier said than done, but the only one stopping you, is YOU.