My Blog by Stephen Venters

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Living the Dream

This morning as I walked in to the kitchen pantry here at ASME one of the building attendants was cleaning the sink. He’s an older, black gentlemen with whom I’ve gotten a bit friendly. I did my normal, cheery, two-toned “Heh-low” as I always enjoy seeing him and I was about to get some fresh coffee. He returned the sentiment, with a “how ya doin’?” to which I responded with, “Livin’ the dream.” With a short chuckle, he said as he finished up, “Ha, yeah, right,” as in, “Yea, here we are, all chugging away up the endless hill with little or no hope of ever seeing the top.”

It seemed like a reasonable response to my statement since a lot of people say"Living the dream" sarcastically. Even though that day I had really meant it, I knew he’d take it in the ironic, self-defeating way as most people mean it. In my own manner, it was a joke, inside if only to myself because, right now, I really am living the dream. The joke was that I was really being honest.

Certainly, the dream is different for everyone and it would be more appropriate to say, I’m living my dream. But that sounds less grandiose.

I mean, I live on Manhattan which is a dream I’d had for well over a decade prior. And, not only do I live on Manhattan, I’m “making it here” as Sinatra said. In that, I mean I’m conquering one of my biggest fears I’d had about living here.

In the last year or so, I’ve been checking off lifelong goals like a grocery list. Goals, that at one time, were the mountain peaks far off in the distance and seemingly unattainable.

Despite having one been drowning in debt, I am now debt free by paying it all back. Two days ago I purchased the most expensive piece of jewelry I have ever owned fulfilling a 23 year goal of owning a Rolex. Not only that, I had the cash to buy it.

Two months ago I moved on up to a deluxe apartment on the 20th floor with the fabulous and fantastic Rebecca G. It’s a huge upgrade from my old apartment and has amenities seldom seen in buildings here. It has a fantastic view of the Hudson River, New Jersey and every sunset as well as a second full bathroom.

My career is really blooming too.

The only problem I have now is I need to dream up some bigger goals.

This living the dream is not without its difficulties, but life without difficulties is impossible, even on a theoretical level. But I have the confidence that I can manage and handle any that come my way. For example, tomorrow is my last day here. I’ve been a contractor here for the last 11 months and they’ve run out of money to pay my fees, so I will be looking for another gig next week. For many, the thought of being unemployed is a nightmare. For me, it’s just part of the process. I am confident in my abilities and career and have little doubt I’ll find another position at a great rate.

I didn’t get that confidence over night, I had to earn it.

I had to not only accept change, but be apathetic to it. It’s a misnomer to think you’ve gotten comfortable with something and change removes you from your comfort zone. That’s not an accurate perspective. Being OK with change isn’t defined by being out of your comfort zone all the time. Who wants to be out of their comfort zone? That sounds like a nightmare, not a dream.

I approach change with a mix of apathy and interest. Apathy in a, “it was once this way, now it’s that way” perspective. A long time ago I realized that change was scary when it was coming, stressfully when it was happening, and after a while, life felt fairly normal again, only the commute to work had changed and if it was worse commute, something else was better to balance it out. Now, with change on the horizon, I just fast forward that perspective and trust that it will all balance out in the end.

Change comes, change goes, but it rarely threatens your entire way of life.

I am living MY dream. Not because I have riches (which I don’t!) or an easy life, but because all of the hard choices and hard work I’ve put in thus far are paying off. Despite the problems of life I am still reaching my goals.

I am living the dream. Are you?


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