How to Reverse Engineer Your Dream Life
A New Perspective
The other day my wonderful partner, Kasey, asked me an interesting and powerful question during our afternoon walk around the neighborhood.
It came rather out of the blue, which I think is part of the reason it was so powerful for me.
He asked, “When you are old, what do you want to be able to say your hobbies were?”
I was sort of caught off-guard. It took me a minute to wrap my mind around such an unusual question. What do I want to be able to say I have done for fun? How do I want to fill my time and reflect on it with a sense of joy and pride?
This question is wayyy different, and in my opinion, much more powerful, than asking what you want to do with your life or, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” These traditional questions often put us in boxes and remove any sense of creativity from designing a life we are proud of.
I got to thinking and finally responded after a minute or so…I purposely chose not to let myself think too long. I wanted a true answer partially from my subconscious mind rather than a perfectly polished and calculated one without the same meaning and authenticity.
I said, “When I’m old, I want to be able to say that my hobbies were spending time connecting with others and being a valuable part of my community. I want to be one of those people who lives in a small community, knows everyone, asks them real questions, builds relationships, and spends my later days joking, laughing and enjoying coffee with my friends on someone’s porch.”
This was actually kind of shocking to me. For years now, I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to find a creative hobby…I’ve tried calligraphy, card making, natural dyeing, ink making, plant growing and a whole host of other creative endeavors. But I’ve never found something that really lights me up and I felt like there was something wrong with me for not being able to identify “my thing.”
The truth is, a hobby doesn’t have to fit in a traditional box of what a hobby should be. Whatever you enjoy doing, whether that is reading, hiking, singing, dancing, making, talking or anything else, is your hobby. And that’s wonderful! Release the pressure to fit in a box that is simply made up by society. Really tune in with what brings you joy and embrace that…you will be so much happier with the outcome in the long run.
As we continued thinking about this topic on our walk, I dove deeper into what it is that brings me joy. I realized that my mission in life is to bringing greater well-being to the lives of others in any way that I can. That could be through my writing, that could be through workshops or classes that I teach, that could be through video content or social media posts…no matter how I share, that is my goal when sharing.
The beauty is that when I bring this mission together with my hobby of connecting with others and being a valuable part of a community, I think it adds up to one hell of a life well lived. It brings joy to me, well-being and joy to others, and general positivity to the world. What more could I ask for in this one human experience I am granted with living??
I’ve always admired those kooky, slightly odd and completely adorable older ladies. You know, the ones with the colorful pants, the outgoing attitude, the strangely shaped glasses, and the tendency for humor-fulled wisdom? Yeah, those ladies. I just can’t get enough of them. Whenever I encounter one I always turn to Kasey and say, “I want to be like that when I’m old.”
He always turns to me and says something along the lines of, “Well, live like them now and you will be.” That guy never ceased to drop wisdom bombs on me when I least expect it. When he says this, I realize that a lot of the time I am living a life now of someone I DON’T desire to be in the future. How can I expect to be the cool, kooky old lady who smells like patchouli and totally rocks outfits of clashing colors if I don’t step outside of the box, tune in with my authentic self, and live that life now?
How can I expect to follow the social rules and live in a guilt-ridden state of anxiety and somehow end up being a care-free, shockingly flexible old lady who is suspiciously always covered in paint? It doesn’t work that way. And thus, the power of reverse engineering your dream life.
Reverse-Engineering Your Dream Self
Life doesn’t just happen. If you want a certain life, a dream life, you need to be intentional and work for it. Release the baggage, release the need to please others, release the boxes you are trying to cram yourself into and embrace the self you truly are and want to be.
So how about it? What do YOU want to be able to say your hobbies are when you’re old? Who do YOU want to be at 50, 70, 100 years old? Find what that is for you and work backwards…after all, hindsight is 20/20, right?
I’d love to hear your thoughts, breakthroughs and plans in the comments. Let’s be cool (and incredibly happy) old people together!
With patchouli incense and wrinkly, paint covered hands,