Don’t Lose Sight of Dreams

[note color=”#FDD017″]This is a guest post by Tim Bishop. Tim consults for small businesses and is a volunteer hope coach for TheHopeLine. He and his wife, Debbie, co-authored Two Are Better: Midlife Newlyweds Bicycle Coast to Coast. You can read their blog at http://www.openroadpress.com. If you’d like to guest post for this blog, check out the guidelines here.[/note]

After forty-odd years of life, I had begun to wonder whether my dream of getting married would ever happen. Years of searching for companionship proved unfruitful. And past heartaches had paved a narrower road to finding the love of my life. Other priorities would eventually fill the hole.

Life has a way of swallowing up time. We become engaged in ongoing activities that once promised benefits. Later, we forget how we arrived at our present location…and perhaps even where we’re headed.

Life also presents us with choices. What am I going to wear today? What will I eat for breakfast? Where will we go on vacation? And how will we get there? The choices we make then determine our activities, our environment, and our behaviors.

Sometimes, life’s questions, and the choices that follow, come with higher stakes. They present archways to new adventures, and pathways to personal growth. Should I marry this person? Should I leave this job? Where should we live? And what will I do for the rest of my life?

Such was the case for me in 2010, at age 52. With 25 years and counting toward a stronger financial retirement with my long-term DreamsGraphicemployer—and a comparable timeframe of low-maintenance apartment living and the leisure associated with life as a single male—I awoke to a midlife crossroads. Major life choices, it seemed, had emanated from the status quo. Autopilot works well when contentment reigns, but it can turn on you quickly when bumpier roads arrive. Unrest is a sure sign that change is in the wind—or it should be. And it promises to usher one to more fertile ground. We aren’t called to coast through life, but rather to take on new challenges and fresh experiences so that we can continue to learn and grow at any age.

So, after much counsel, consideration, and prayer, I broke free in 2010. And I hit the trifecta! I left my job, proposed to Debbie, and moved out of my apartment. With a “no turning back” mantra in play, life instantly became more intriguing, if not more challenging and more rewarding. Debbie and I married and then bicycled across America on a self-supported tour, fulfilling not one dream, but two! As if the freedom of the open road, the beauty of America, supportive family and friends, and new places and new faces daily were not enough, celebrating these fabulous experiences as newlyweds left no doubt that these changes were timely. I discovered that God can use dreams to release a new power and a new zest for living, to move one to a more specific calling, and to continue the lifelong character building that comes with a genuine commitment to Him.

What choices are you facing in your life today? Are the possibilities screaming for attention, or are they locked away in the recesses of your dreams’ storage trunk? The choices we make go a long way to determining whether we live a life of enrichment or a hollow one. You cannot accomplish the new when you cling to the old. Choice, with a dash of courage, spells opportunity. Yet, opportunity is sometimes difficult to recognize.

Take the time to ask the more important questions in life, questions such as What am I doing? and Where am I going? When you do, you may just discover some dreams percolating to the surface. Dreams help define who we are. They don’t just pop into your head uninvited. Keep them close to your heart and make choices that bring them closer to reality. We may not always realize our dreams, but they will still shape us. Give them their just due. They are there for a reason.

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  • alisonannes

    Great post, Tom! Many times, people don’t want to ask themselves the question, “What do I want?” because they’re afraid it’s going to change their life and cause pain. But discomfort is not pain, it’s just not comfortable, or what we’re used to. On the BeyondTheToDoList podcast, Dan Miller and Erik Fischer talked about this in “scripting your own life” (based on the Storyline concept from Donald Miller) – this is a great follow-up to those thoughts. Keep up the great work and keep asking questions!

    • Tim Bishop

      Thank you for your affirming words. I’ve found that fear would like to keep us locked up in everyday life, while discomfort escorts us on a transformational journey to higher ground. The trip is a bit more exciting, if not hair-raising. Yet people willing pay good money at amusement parks for just that type of experience.

  • PaulVandermill

    Tim,

    Great and inspirational post for those of us who are feeling a restlessness at a time in our lives when “conventional wisdom” would have us coast to the end of our working years. By the way (rhetorical), who says the years of productivity and unstoppable curiosity ever do or should end?

    • Tim Bishop

      Thanks Paul. If it is helpful to anyone out there, I have no regrets about leaving a conventional work setting, one many would consider “secure.” I’m still finding my way in this brave new world, but the personal growth I’ve experienced easily validates the changes I made. I recommend “coasting” be limited to the bicycle! And you’re right. With more life experience, we can bring more value to the world around us.