When my husband Chris and I first drove past the house we ended up buying and renovating in Rockland we had two completely different reactions. I could see the potential in the house and the property. Chris could see a potential money pit and months, if not years, of work. Fortunately, I was undaunted for I had both the vision and courage to see the project through to completion.
It turned out this house would be an integral part of our initial retirement plan. We loved spending time in Rockland and sharing our passion for the midcoast with vacationers as they rented our home in the summer. We had a vision of what life could be like and over the years we have created that life developing deep and meaningful friendships with our neighbors and meeting wonderful, interesting, people through our vacation rental business.
Yet, this dream could have been derailed any number of times. Even for someone like me with decades of design and renovation experience, restoring our home to its Victorian splendor was difficult. But any great accomplishment requires, vision, courage, and action. I had no idea what difficulties I would have to surmount to realize my dream, but I knew there would be obstacles to overcome. What I now know in retrospect is that this project made me grow in ways I would not have in any other circumstance. Perhaps the most important lesson I learned was this: don’t let anything or anyone come between you and your dreams, including yourself.
As we age, we are expected to be more conservative in our thoughts and actions. “There’s too much to lose if we try that” and “I’m too old to start something new” are common sentiments. But I ask you this: “Who says so?” More often than not, we are the ones who talk ourselves out of our dreams and shoot down our hopes for something different.
The great German writer Johann von Goethe said this more than 200 years ago: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” Beginning to take action on a dream moves it from the realm of idea and into form. It’s as though our idea is the skeleton, the structure of our dream, and our actions add layer upon layer of tangible results that form the body of our desired accomplishment.
Resistance kicks in and tries to stop us. The resistance we encounter is in direct proportion to the effect what we want to accomplish will have in the world. The more profound the effect of your dream, the more resistance you will encounter. This is a challenging and exasperating, yet necessary, part of the process. Resistance forces us overcome self-imposed limitations and other obstacles so we develop the skills, abilities, and strengths needed to be successful.
I am not yet to the point where I warmly welcome resistance and the gifts it brings. But I understand that it is part of my growth experience and I ask less frequently “Why is this happening to me?” I know it is to help me prepare for the future that is unfolding.
Having a partner who shares your vision of the future in retirement is highly desirable but is not a requirement for accomplishing your dreams in the third phase of life. I recently launched a new business. The concept is big and bold. There are days I am excited about what I am doing and there are days I think I have bitten off way more than I can chew. However, I am determined, to the best of my ability, to live without regrets in this third phase of life. That means I will see this project through to completion. There are days I am overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what I have to do to make this work. But I am learning to shake off the doubts and the fears and keep moving forward. Just as Johann von Goethe promised there is genius, power and magic in boldness.
What dream are you delaying? Where are you holding yourself back and why? By taking just one action today your dream will move from idea into form and begin to transform from dream into reality.