One day a couple months ago the family and I were taking a walk back to the house from the creek. As we were about to walk across the driveway to the house, we stopped to let a conservation officer by. Since our property backs up to state land, and we share a driveway with a fishing access lot to the Delaware River, from time to time there are officials who swing by just to make sure everything is safe and sound. As we stopped to let him drive by, he stopped his truck, rolled down his window, smiled and went on to ask how we were doing. We were slightly caught off guard. Were we moved from, no one would usually stop to say hello let alone make eye contact with you unless there was a problem. But we responded with a good, just taking a walk with the family, and a how was he doing today…while wondering if we were doing something wrong to make him stop. The officer just nodded, looking up admiringly at the bright blue sky, and then back at us nodding his head happily…just living the dream…just living the dream, he said with a big smile. Jason and I looked at each other and smiled knowingly, nodded and said us too, yea, us too! We wished each other a good day an off he went just like that. Leaving me to ponder what he meant exactly, by living the dream.
In the short two and a half months that we have lived up here, I have heard this statement again a few times, each time peaking my interest more and more. What is it with these people? How are they so happy and kind? And what exactly is “the dream” they are proclaiming to live? But most importantly, how am I living the dream? Up here things seem much simpler. There are significantly less people. People do a lot of things for themselves instead of needing to pay others to do it for them or work a gazillion hours to afford it. There really aren’t big fancy houses, and I haven’t met anyone so far wishing they lived in one. The people just seem happy right where they are with what they have.
When I think of living the dream, I don’t really think of having everything I need provided. In fact, what I have found is that for me…living the dream, has a whole lot to do with quite the opposite…not having very much, yet seeing an abundance all around me. Most everything we eat is based on what we can find, create, grow, or barter for ourselves. Is it easy? No, but it’s quite satisfactory, to look at “nothing” and come up with something. I guess you can call it making do with what you have. In this sense, you stay right at home…not “out there”, searching… for things and answers and quick fixes, when you can find them right in the stillness of “nothing”. The other day Kayla asked me why everyone doesn’t just grow their own food? I said that not everyone can or wants to. She said that she’s happy we can, and so am I, because a big part of that…is living the dream to me…striving to provide my family with what we need all by ourselves and without sacrificing the things that truly matter the most to us.
To me living the dream equals fully embracing your life’s passions; following your hearts desires; being proactive in making the changes in your life that you want to see. It also means taking a good hard look within, at the self, and understanding who you are…and loving that person. What it all boils down to…is that living the dream equals being happy, kind, and considerate of everyone and everything around me…finding the strength with in to live my own personal truth out to the best of my ability. I am human. I make mistakes. And honestly, like I said, living the dream doesn’t have anything to do with being flawless. It has absolutely nothing to do with dollar signs and how much income you can make. But at the same time, when we are where we want to be…we gain the chance to grow through any obstacles in our way, whether they involve dollar signs or not. Little by little the barriers get broken down between thinking you need/want certain things and seeing that you’ve had access to them all along.
I am happy to have my family together all day long for most of our days. For me that’s what feels right. I never wanted any babies taken from me at the hospital so I chose home births, it never seemed natural to send my kids away to school so I chose to home school, the 9 to 5 work day always seemed stressful to me and now that Jason and I share in home and work responsibilities in various creative ways… it works. I know that this way of life is not for everyone…and that’s okay. We all have the freedom to put together the individual dream that we want to live for ourselves and our families. Whatever that looks like may vary as long as you are fulfilling where you want to see yourself in life and you feel happy with it.
Life has become a natural flow that just finally makes sense to me. Everyday there are still stressful points, struggles and hurdles to jump, but knowing that this is the life we chose, one that we are working hard to create for our family…well that just makes the good and the bad all worth it just the same to me. Owning that this is my life. I did it. I created it. It’s mine. It took me a long time to get to where I am now. Lots of inner and outer work. Lots of brainstorming and faith that someday…someday, I would indeed be here. And finally, I’m living my dream. So when I hear myself say that I am living the dream…that’s exactly what I mean.