Hey gang! Two quick sidetones to start today’s blog. First off, I usually start with a title and work my way forward off of that. Today the title is currently blank and I’m going to go with the flow and see where this ends up 😉 Second, as I blog please keep in mind that I am being very honest and open as I write. This sometimes means I share insights that may be surprising or cause nervousness in others. Please note that I’m not planning on “just packing up and moving away” – I’m just sharing a portion of my inner dialogue. With those two notes in mind…
I’m not really sure where the though initially came from this morning, but all of a sudden it was right there in front of me, staring me down. While driving to work I found myself getting frustrated at the car in the right lane that would slow down until I was about to pass them on the left, they’d suddenly speed up and cut me off to go around a slower vehicle, and then repeat the process a couple of times. Taking note of my increasing heart rate I took a deep breath, smiled to myself and fired up the song “Better Man” by Judah and the Lion. It’s an awesome tune about trying to be a better person and it helped my nerves settle a bit.
Feeling much better after that song I skipped back a couple of songs on the album to a tune called “Stockholm.” It’s one of my favorite songs on the album as it tells the story of going somewhere far away, falling head over heals with the new land, and never wanting to leave. “I don’t know if I’ll ever make it home, if I’ll ever make it home…” The traveler feels the land calling to him as his new home and he just wants to linger there forever.
If past lives are truly a thing I can guarantee that I was Polynesian back in the day. The ways I’ve felt about Hawaii and New Zealand mirror the song exactly. When we were in Hawaii I was almost in tears realizing that I had to leave it as I sat outside alone on the second floor of the airport gate. Becky and I’d spoken with a resident who’d moved there and we’d asked her how she knew it was the right place for her to stay. She told the story of how she was literally sobbing as she boarded the plane to leave Hawaii after her third trip and realized that her home was Hawaii. In the past three days I can think of at least half a dozen times I’ve somewhat joked about dropping everything and moving to Hawaii or New Zealand if Becky gave the green light.
I can already picture it in my mind so clearly… A small home on the coast, just off the beach… Working in a small workshop crafting puzzle boxes and other gifts to sell to tourists… Taking time to hike, explore, and lose myself in the beauty of the world around me… Ahh… If I think about it just long enough I can smell the ocean air…
That seems like heaven to me, but is it really the right thing? Is that where I should be? And I think this is where I really get into what my blog is about today… Being thankful for the friction, the rub, between my dreams.
As perfect as that scene is (and trust me, it is perfect in my brain!) I am pretty sure that there’s another equally as perfect dream. That one is right here, in Wisconsin. I love this area and am continually in awe of the beauty of the bluffs, the power of the Mississippi River, and the awesome collection of birds and animals. We’re close to family, close to friends, and in a city that’s just right for us, not too big, but not too small. I freaking LOVE my career path. I am over the moon with joy to be able to work with the teammates I work with. The dream we are starting to create is INCREDIBLE! There’s a very noble purpose in what we do and we very much live our values in how we do it. Sure, it’s stressful as all get out at times and it’s incredibly hard work, but it is so rewarding I can’t even quite put it into words. This life I am living, this dream I am living, is pretty much perfect as is and where it’s going.
So how do I balance two dreams at once? Which one is the right one? I can still feel the serenity, peace and joy I felt while in Hawaii and New Zealand… but I can also feel the accomplishment, purpose, and joy in the moment living this life. If I consider my purpose and legacy to be to live a joyful life and share that joy with others does one side win out more than the other? It’s something that I struggle with on a regular basis. Rather, it’s something that I consider on a regular basis. This is where it might sound weird…
I truly love and appreciate the dissonance of these two dreams! (and there’s the title for today) Both of them are 100% the right dream to chase. Yes, they are both perfect. In knowing that they are both perfect I get to diagnose the why behind them. Why do I love the serenity and peace in one and the purpose and accomplishment in the other? Because they are both different parts of the one unified whole. In order for me to find peace and serenity I need to first feel purpose and accomplishment. In order for me to find purpose and accomplishment I need to first feel peace and serenity. Both dreams must be present at once for me to be the best version of me.
Knowing that I will bust ass in order to find quiet on vacation reminds me to enjoy the grind. The quiet of vacation recharges me and leaves me missing the grind that is missing. As I’ve started to come more and more to grips with this it also leaves me struggling a bit with things like the idea of retirement… How will that next stage fit if I don’t have the work to help me appreciate the play?
I know a few friends who struggle greatly with this concept. They think that there is one right answer that they should pursue. The thought is that only one can be right. If only one is right please God let me be wrong! The magic is in finding how to get the opposing dreams compliment each other, work with each other, and fit together. I appreciate this dream dissonance because it also forces me to find ways to live them both at once. It pushes me outside of my comfort zone and think creatively about how to live them both at the same time (crazy ideas like opening Express offices in New Zealand!). If I didn’t take time to appreciate the friction I would choose only one, live a life of mediocrity, and miss out on half of the awesomeness. Which really makes me wonder, have I settled too low with only having two crazy dreams? What if I attempted this with three or four? How much more joyful could my life be?
As you can see, this has been rolling my brain for quite some time. Full disclosure, I still sometimes struggle to appreciate the rub between these two dreams and sometimes wish to have just one of them. Days like today remind me that when that sensation comes over me I need to remember to appreciate the dream dissonance because that’s where the magic and joy really live.