Why Start a New Dream Now?

The other day, a writer friend asked to interview me for an article she’s writing on new beginnings. Because, she said, you’ve begun more things than most people I know.

(Case in point, yesterday the big box of materials you can see in this photo arrived for the Interior Design program I'm taking.)

There are good reasons I keep finding and following new dreams.

For one, I’ve observed that as we get older, our lives tend to shrink of their own accord.

Friends drift away, move or die.  So without seeking new friends, our social circles get smaller.

Ditto our physical pursuits.   We ‘give up’ skiing, dancing, jogging.  Usually without filling the gap with something new.

At 18 maybe you tried fish and didn’t like it.  And so for the past 20, 30, 60 years you’ve defined yourself as someone-who-doesn’t-eat-fish.  Really?  How do you know that’s true for the taste buds you have now?

You’ve always had long/short hair.

Only liked rock/country/opera.

Never had a taste for religion/politics/tattoos.

Over time, we become lazy.  We don’t challenge decisions we made that defined who we were ‘back then.’ 

Unless you buck this natural inertia consciously, your sense of yourself will become more rigid over time.

Unless you deliberately seek new (friends, interests, tastes, activities….), over time your life will become smaller.

To see the opposite of this, check out 90-year-old Phyllis Sues (in photo, left).

Phyllis started a fashion label at 50.  She learned tango and trapeze at 80.

For God’s sake, she took up yoga at age 85!  Apparently she learned to do the splits only recently.

(Read more about her here.  And sear these video images of her doing yoga at 90 into your brain.)

For me, it’s simple. When I’m 90, I want to be like Phyllis.

In addition to her increasing physical strength and flexibility, I am impressed by the range of her pursuits over time.  And by how young her thinking is now.

(Thinking like a young person does is an after-effect described by many participants in my own Youthening Program, by the way.)

Recently I asked myself, “If I was turning 20 rather than 51 (and got to keep everything I’ve already done and learned) what would I study next?”

And without no hesitation, I answered, “Interior Design.”

So its only logical that if I want to be like Phyllis at 90, well, I should really study Interior Design now.

When I first started doing Life Coaching, I gave a coaching session to a colleague with whom I’d taught Nursing at McMaster University.  She was retiring and not sure what to do next.

When I asked what dream she’d had for herself earlier in life, she sighed and said she’d always wanted to be a dancer.

I said, “So why not start on that dream now?”

I remember the dead silence that hung between us for awhile.

I didn’t hear from her again for about 8 years.  And when I did, she was exuberant.  It turned out she had answered my question with action.  She’d taken up swing dancing, lost many pounds and was now, in retirement, competing professionally in dance with a partner many years her junior.

She was having the time of her life.

The same thing can happen to you too.  Your life can e-x-p-a-n-d now, rather than shrink.

Ask yourself these questions:

“What dreams did I once have that I set aside?”

What choices do I look back on and say, “Oh well, I did this rather than that?”

“If I were turning 20 now and had my whole life ahead of me, what would I be doing next?”

Once you know, please, please, please, start moving in some way down that path now.

You don’t have to do it the same way you’d have done it earlier in your life.   (I’m not taking the 4-year university course I’d have taken at 20. The 18-month part-time online course suits me better now.)

If you want my help getting started, consider booking some sessions with me.