Personally, I’m a very future-oriented person, I spend a lot of time planning and thinking about the future, and much less time thinking about the past. However, although I make logical, achievable, SMART goals for myself, and to a certain extent they do tie in with how I want to live in the future, they don’t always match my dream life. For example, one of my current goals is to do 10 minutes of yoga every day. The aim behind this is to increase my flexibility and mobility, with the ultimate aim of staying active for longer as I get older. Do I want to live a life where I’m 75 and I can still get around without using a walking stick? Yes, definitely. But is this my dream life? Not so much, it’s more like a basic maintenance pattern.
Outside of my official goal planning sessions, I spend a huge amount of time living an imaginary life. How is this life different from the one I have now and the one I plan “officially”?
I have to admit, one of the main differences is that I’m never still married in my imaginary life, I’ve taken the decision to move on and get divorced. In my real and official life, divorce is something I think about, but not as something that will happen in the near future.
Another difference is that I don’t still live in the city where I’m living now. I’ve either moved to a more exciting city in the UK, or I’m travelling and living abroad.
I don’t usually have the job I have now. Either I have enough passive income to have been able to stop working full-time, or I do some kind of consultancy which allows me to have time off, or I’m doing a casual job while working abroad which allows me to support myself.
In my official goals, I’m saving towards early retirement, but I don’t expect it to be possible for another 7-10 years, and because my current job has a good salary I expect to stay in it, even though it’s not a job that I particularly love, and it’s in a city where I would never have chosen to live (I moved here because it’s my husband’s hometown).
So I suppose the question I have to ask myself is, is my dream life the one that I actually want to be living, or is it a kind of harmless fantasy which I wouldn’t want to take up if it were offered to me? Even as I was typing that sentence, I had to acknowledge that I would definitely be living that life if I could afford it. If money were no object, I’d immediately sell this house and spend time living abroad indifferent countries for a few months at a time.
So then I have to ask myself, why have I given up (to a certain extent) on my dream life? Why do I feel like it’s unrealistic and unachievable? Why do I feel like the “sensible” life is the one I can allow myself to work towards? These are difficult questions, and I don’t have an answer yet, but I think it’s important to think about them and to see if there’s any way I can revisit my goals and write a bit more of the fantasy life into them.