When I was a little girl, my bedroom was right next to my parents on the first floor of our blue-gray house with the tiny glaucous rocks in the driveway. I can remember most mornings hearing my dad get up for work at 5am. He had the same thirty minute routine each day: get up, shower, blow-dry his hair, spray hairspray, put on his watch, spray cologne, grab his keys, wallet, and any spare change off top of his dresser, and plant a kiss on my mom's forehead while she was still sleeping.
There were some mornings when I heard the shower turn on that I'd get out of bed with Teddy, my teddy bear, and RaRa, my old, yellow blanket, and with eyes half closed, I'd hop into bed with my mom.
To this day, I'm not sure where the name "RaRa" came from, or why my blanket even had a name. But, then again, I used to talk to the Virgin Mary statue situated at the head of my parents garden, so I probably named more inanimate objects than I can remember.
My dad frequently went on business trips, so my sister and I took turns sleeping in our parents room until he came home. There was an inherent comfort to crawling into warm sheets and snuggling up with mom. I loved those mornings - the coziness of falling back to sleep to the sounds of gentle breathing.
In the mornings when my dad was getting for work, I looked forward to waking up to the smell of his cologne or the sound of his keys and spare change being rustled with. Those mornings I'd receive a kiss on my forehead, too, as he'd whisper I love you before he left for work.
My dad worked really hard for our family and did his best to ensure my sisters and I had an exceptional childhood full of fun family trips, bountiful Christmas mornings, memorable birthday parties, and family dinners around the table every night. He always made sure to let us know just how much he loved us.
When he'd arrive home from work, my sister and l being so young, would hear his car door shut and run to the front door to greet him with open arms and smiles from ear to ear. I remember how much this meant to my dad - to come home to two daughters who were elated to see him.
As time went on and my sister and I got older, our race to the front door became less and less frequent, as we'd discovered shows like Boy Meets World, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Full House. I remember one day my mom asking my sister and I to still run to the front door to greet Dad because it was his favorite time of day.
It was only until I got older that I realized my dad's unhappiness with his job. Although he was a hard working and successful business man, who rarely ever took a sick day and worked to his best ability, he really didn't enjoy his work. He did what he had to do for his family and himself, but his job took a toll on him.
It took me years later to understand how something as simple as rushing to the front door to greet and hug him would mean the world to him. This small, yet significant act of stopping what we were doing to say hello gave his life more meaning and purpose.
I'm 31 years old now and I'm grateful that I had an amazing childhood with wonderful parents who always loved and supported me, but I often think of my father's relationship to his job and how I don't want to repeat that pattern. I don't want to go to a job that I dread everyday. I don't want to fear the Monday to Friday routine so I can live on Saturdays and Sundays. I don't want to rush my life, right now, for an imagined and relaxed future.
Why does retirement get to be the "best" years of our lives? Why can't we have some form of that now, even if that means choosing a job that sustains and fulfills us in this moment of our lives?
Most people settle for jobs they dislike (or mostly hate) so they can pay for their home, cars, bills, necessities, and life in general, but rarely do people ever think about their state of happiness while they're living right now.
Why don't we ask ourselves these questions more often?
Why don't we make a map of our goals and figure out reasonable ways that we can accomplish them without believing our work has to be dreadful?
Why don't we put our happiness first?
Why don't we dare to dream?
I understand that each person's situation is different and it's not always as simple as it sounds, but if we took just fifteen to thirty minutes a day to come up with a plan for what would make us more fulfilled, we'd proactively take steps toward a more meaningful existence.
Monday to Friday is our life, too. It's not just the weekends, vacations and retirement that we have to live for.
So my question for you today is what is your dream?
What would make you the happiest?
What can you start doing today that will benefit you today andtomorrow?
What do your desires look like?
I believe if you allow yourself to dream, you birth existence into your best possible life.
The life that's destined for you.
The life you came here to live.