Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What I Gave Up (and Gained) to Live the Life of My Dreams

It was near the end of 2013, that I received an email from Starbucks stating that I had roughly 30 days to earn 30 stars or my Gold Status would be demoted to Green. (In case you don't know, you can earn a star each time you make a purchase. Which means I would have had to go to Starbucks every day for thirty days or visit Starbucks more than once a day. Ha!)

Just a few weeks later I received a similar notice from the Hyatt. They were downgrading my status from Platinum to Gold. I assume US Airways is not too happy with me either but they haven't been as forthright about it. Instead they send me numerous emails encouraging me to fly more. You know, the way I used to.

When I left my steady job at the end of August I realized it would mean my life would be significantly different. But I didn't necessarily think of it in terms of $4 lattes, hotel stays, and airline miles. But those are some tangible evidences of the way my life has changed since I started pursuing the kind of life I had only imagined.

Now hear me, the life of my dreams has never consisted of making a ton of money. I've chosen pursuits that are life-giving to me like ministry, writing, virtual assisting, and speaking. While I do realize some people are able to make good money doing some of those things I'm not willing to work as much as being "successful" in those fields requires. I want to make a living but not a fortune.

So what does it look like to transition to a life you love? Below are a few things I sacrificed to pursue my dreams:

  1. $4 Lattes: Fancy coffee drinks are a treat not a staple. 
  2. Travel: I've gotten on a plane three times since September. Previously that number during that time would have been 8-16 times.
  3. Commute: I don't have one!
  4. Anxiety: the anxiety problems I struggled with for years (that I feared were becoming a disorder I'd needed medication for) are virtually non-existent.
  5. Money: I can pay my bills and occasionally indulge but I have to live on a budget and every penny counts.

But what I've gained in exchange for those sacrifices? Well, the rewards have been priceless:
    1. Margin: One of my values in life is to have white space for serving others as needs come up and for doing things that are life giving to me.
    2. A fight against workaholism: This has never been a struggle in the past but between loving what I do and being the CFO, CEO, receptionist, and administrative assistant, this is a constant battle.
    3. Flexibility: I sleep in, work later, and work when other people are at the beach. But I also can work when I'm at my best and  tailor my schedule to match Jason's which is also differs from the standard 9 to 5.
    4. Health: Not only am I anxiety free but I also eat better because I'm home and have the extra time to prepare healthy food instead of grabbing the things that are most lunch box friendly or eating out. Plus I sleep better because I can listen to my body's own rhythms.
    5. Joy in waking up each morning: This does not mean everyday is wonderful and that there aren't mornings I would rather hide from the world. But It does mean I love what I do and enjoy my life for the first time in a long time.
    If I would have known the joys of this season of life I've would have started pursuing my dreams years ago. If you're in a position where you know you were made for more and are desiring a different kind of life I highly encourage you to pursue those dreams. You will work harder than you ever have before but you will also be happier than you've ever been as you embrace what you were made to do.

    What is the life you've always imagined? Are you pursuing it? Or has something stopped you? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below.


    1. This is beautiful Joy. I feel ya!

    2. Thanks, Renia. I'm glad to have you in my court.