If I was to ask you, “what do you really want”, (in life), would you know the answer?
This is a question I am pondering this month under the topic of ‘Learning’. Originally, I had thought of learning in the more formal sense… take a course or workshop on a topic of interest. But now, I am trying to learn more about myself and what I want to do with my remaining time on this planet.
I have a good life. And I am so appreciative of the people in my life, the work I am able to do and the countries I have visited (58 so far! Yah.).
But (…) I am person who likes exploring ideas, meeting new people and seeing the world around me. So at this time, I feel this strong need to rediscover myself in what is working, not working and what would I like to try next.
Are You Intentional with How You Fill Your Days?
If you’re not intentional about figuring out what you want in life, it’s easy to fall into survival mode. You become lost, focusing only on what’s in front of you, which leads to frustration and disillusionment.
Often, if you don’t know what you want, you can become bored and restless with what you’re doing — even if you used to love it. Over time this can increase stress, depression, anxiety and can make you feel like you don’t have control over your life.
Finding Inspiration to Move Forward
This video gave me inspiration to put words to paper and write this blog.
What Do You Really Want? (By Nicole Greer, TEDx Talk, 2015)
I think this topic directly relates to ‘aging well’. It helps with mental, emotional and spiritual health. The speaker asks 3 key questions:
What Do I really Want?
Where am I right now?
What is my right next step (to get to what I really want)?
If it is difficult to understand what you really want (say in the next 10 years), try envisioning your future self.
Envisioning Your Future Self
What does the future look like? What are you doing? Where are you living? Who is in your life? What does a typical day look like?
I tried this exercise in February of 2021 and pretended that it was 3 years in the future, Feb 4, 2024. I wrote about:
What I could see around me? What was happening my life? Where I was sitting as I wrote this? And what could I see, hear and touch?
It is startling to me that 3 years have passed so quickly, as it is almost coming up to 2024! I need to revisit my future self again, as any plans I had in place were thrown out the window with everything that went on with both our Dad’s passing.
This is what I wrote of my future self in 2021.
I am sitting in a sun-room, feeling the warmth of the rays as I look out o the view. I am in a comfortable chair with classical music playing on the old-style phonograph. There are flowers in the vase on a table and plants blooming on a stand. I feel comfortable, secure and peaceful.
I had just come back from meeting with like-minded individuals who are building a social enterprise for the community. I am the consultant to the project and I am well respected by the group. The committee is engaged with the work and they appreciate my direction.
I get back to the book, I was reading before the meeting and then after an hour I decide to go out for a run. I feel good, in shape and enjoying my physical fitness. I had trained for a half-marathon last season and this helped shed some extra weight. I am eating well, exercising and my energy levels are up.
I can now pick and choose my business clients after becoming known through word of mouth (referrals) and content marketing. I work 6-8 months of the years and the rest of the time I travel/volunteer overseas. I feel like my contributions are making a difference.
‘A’ and I are in the midst of designing a house for the land we purchased by the river or lake or ocean. It gives us great pleasure to put our thoughts down on paper. We are very exited!
We have a barbecue planned for tonight with some people, we met during a volunteer opportunity. We enjoy their company.
I feel content with my life as I reflect upon the last years. There have been sad times, but the direction of my life, career and my social life are where I always wanted to be. My marriage to ‘A’ is a constant joy and I feel lucky to have him in my life. I am shining brightly.
What Did I Learn from Reviewing this Future-self Exercise
1. My work and home environment is important to me – I like beauty in my house and having a cozy atmosphere. The Dutch call it ‘gezellig’. Even if I am living in the city, I like to bring nature into the house. (flowers, sunlight, plants, …).
2. I am close to living the lifestyle I enjoy and it only needs a few tweaks – I do work 6 – 8 months of the year and I am back to travelling for the remainder of the time.
3. Physical fitness is important to me – I need to set a goal for myself in this area as I do feel better when I am physically active. It is even better when I can be in nature or travelling and do some form of exercise. Like ‘A’ and I did this spring on our cycling trip to PEI.
4. I need a new vision for my consulting business – looking for inspiration.
This is only a few points, but you get the drift. Try the exercise and see what comes up for you.
What would you do if there were no limits?
When times are tough, we stop ourselves from dreaming because we feel limited by external factors, like money or caring for elderly parents. But don’t be afraid to think big. If these limits weren’t a factor, what would you do?
Here are some other questions to ask yourself:
- What would I rather be doing?
- Who do I want to spend my time with?
- Who do I want to help?
- Am I in the right location to do what I want to do?
- What am I willing to sacrifice to achieve my goal?
- How do I define a “good life?”
Okay, I have figured out what I really want, now what?
As the speaker in the video said, you need to ‘put habits around the dream’. What could you do today to take one small step towards the dream?
Is it researching the topic? Learning a new skill? Making connections with people who could help?
These are only a few ideas, but give yourself time to reflect and then determine goals, steps, and plans.
And don’t worry, if you are in the place you want to be, doing the work you like and surrounded by people you enjoy, don’t change things up for change’s sake. Appreciate and give gratitude for what you have and use this as a base to explore other areas you maybe interested in.
It is all good. There is no right or wrong answer.
Enjoy the journey and get to know yourself a little bit more!
Live well and lots of love,
 Op. Cit.