Living the best life is on the minds of a lot of people. What’s the best way to live life? How can we enjoy retired life and even more importantly, how do we enjoy life right now, today, this week!?
Today, you can live your best life everyday…
Reclaiming and Redefining the American Dream
Have you ever caught yourself wondering why we do things the way we do?
Why was the American Dream defined as getting a good education, getting married, buying a house, putting up a picket fence, having 2.3 kids, and retiring with a gold watch and a handshake?
Why did so many people feel like they had to wait until their “golden years” to enjoy life, take that “once in a lifetime” vacation, finally spend time at that house with a picket fence, where they gently lived out the golden years until the eulogy was recited.
Who decided that was the dream?
Well, it appears millions of people are trying to figure that out too. In a time where 65 is the new 35, we are, collectively, seeing the light. And, we are not only reclaiming, but redefining the American Dream.
Best Way to Live Life…as it Should Be
We are experiencing a new wave of opportunity…
The 21st century is experiencing a new wave of opportunity. People of all ages and experiences, from millennials to boomers, are redefining what life could, or should, look like. It’s as if the world is the wild west and we are pioneers.
We are curious.
And while the world is not technically small, it seems way more accessible. We want to claim a little bit of what it has to offer for ourselves. We want to explore and collect great stories to tell on the porch as we rock that chair.
As my husband often says, the goal of life is not going to the grave in a well-preserved body but sliding in sideways screaming “Holy shit! What a ride…”
So where and how are we riding?
Is the new American Dream wandering aimlessly around the country in an RV, sailing the high seas for extended amounts of time or retreating to the countryside and living off-grid?
We may toss out our grandparent’s version of “home” (picket fence and all) to live internationally, on the go, modern day nomads. We may have a home base, a place to keep our stuff, and launch into our next adventure. Or, a unique combination of lifestyles, spread throughout a lifetime.
Is Everything Old, New Again?
It’s possible to define your own path for earning a living and building a life…
It’s funny to think…so many of our grandparents left their homelands with nothing more than a few bucks in their pocket and a dream. They took off for a new world and new opportunities. They didn’t do it for social media. There were no selfies. No likes. No guarantees.
Each person had their own reasons for going and today, attics are filled with stacks of old black and whites just waiting to be discovered, revealing their stories.
Today, we are no different. Well, except we have a few more bucks in our pocket and, thanks to the online world, more financial opportunities than ever before. We too have our stories, our hopes and our own reasons for why we want to live life on our terms.
We are lucky. With current options for working remotely, making money online or in untraditional ways, it’s possible to define your own path for earning a living and building a life.
According to a New York Times article, Gallup surveys consistently find that flexible schedules and work-from-home opportunities are top considerations for employees deciding on which jobs to accept.
CNN reported a 115% increase in telecommuting workers over the past decade. This translates into 3.9 million workers working from home at least half the time. These numbers don’t take into consideration those working as independent contractors, business owners, or U.S. citizens living overseas.
How many live overseas?
The answer from the United States Census Bureau is…they don’t really know. It seems they haven’t found an accurate way to count all those expats living in far flung corners of the world.
Why would they care? Well, it seems the U.S. is the only developed country that requires its citizens to pay income taxes while living overseas, according to a CNBC report.
More Connection, More Curiosity, More Engagement
Even though we can “connect” in a mere 140 characters today, we crave the real-world connection…
As the world becomes more connected digitally, we are also becoming more engaged in how others live, work, and play. More curious. Perhaps in that curiosity lies the key to living the best life.
It wasn’t too long ago when there were no office cubicles and time clocks. People worked for themselves, for their own survival, in small units, tribes and families. They also had a rich social life that didn’t involve a single tweet.
Even though we can “connect” in a mere 140 characters today, we crave the real-world connection of personal conversations, shared experiences, new discoveries, and a desire to leave the world differently than when we came in.
We come in as babies. Knowing nothing and needing everything provided by someone else.
By the end of our days, we want to know something, do something, perhaps be someone who has the wisdom and experience to pass on to the next adventurer. We strive to be less dependent on others and more confident in our own abilities. Perhaps, identifying a balance between independence and interdependence for our perfect lifestyle.
And, we want to take better vacations…for a week, or for a lifetime.
But What About the Dream?
As you travel your road…you’ll find your way home…
Oh, but the tug for the old American Dream will be strong.
Going rogue is scary. Some will caution you and advise you to avoid living a different life. Others will see you as a slacker, a drifter, a dreamer, or simply irresponsible. They can’t do it, so they believe; therefore, why should you?
But…others will see you as courageous.
They will happily join in your adventures, even if only vicariously from their local coffee shop or favorite rocking chair, rooting you along as they follow your journey on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites.
While they are happy and content living their own American Dream, your decision to live life on your terms may inspire them to try something new.
Because, L.I.F.E. isn’t a one-size-fit-all sort of thing. You have to learn to “Just. Do. You.” as they say, even when others don’t fully understand. Heck, you may not even fully understand why you do what you do.
And guess what? That’s okay!
As you travel your road, explore the world and how you fit into it, you will gain something. I can’t tell you what that “something” is. For each person, it will be a unique experience. But it’s something that will allow you to eventually come home.
Home…not necessarily in the sense of a physical location. But home, in the sense of a satisfaction in your soul which allows you to confidently say you fully lived before you died.