If you ask a six year old about goals and dreams, the reply will probably not be limited by any restraints on societal expectations or realism. For many individuals, by the time adulthood is reached, dreams have been reduced to realistic and practical intents. Being raised in a family of dreamers, I have always believed that no dream is too big for me to pursue.
One of my biggest passions and “daydreaming scenarios” in life has always included the beach. For as long as I can remember, my parents were taking us to the shore . . . barely able to afford a 1 bedroom, 1 bath home for a week when we first started . . . yet giving us the best experiences ever as we shoved 3-4 families into this tiny beach house. Every year, we would go to the beach. It was the thing I looked forward to the most. I have daydreamed my entire life about the beach, about my next vacation, about owning beach houses. I would tell people, “Someday I’m going to own a bunch of beach houses. I want everyone to experience the joy I feel at the beach. I get sad when people have never had the opportunity to see the vastness and beauty of the ocean.”
Married with four kids, two car payments, and a house mortgage, my adult lifestyle appeared to reinforce that owning a beach house was not in my immediate future. The dream wasn’t really attainable in my circumstances. However, that did not stop me from dreaming about it. My husband and I in reality couldn’t begin to fathom owning a beach house until possibly retirement age. Maybe I should have realized this dream wasn’t attainable, and I probably should set more realistic goals. But man, that sure didn’t stop me from dreaming about it.
What happens when you allow yourself to dream? If you continuously picture something in your head, over and over, your mind starts to believe it is possible. When you start believing something is possible, you start taking little steps towards that dream. For years and years, I’ve had realtor sites set up to email me a notification every time there was a new beach listing in the areas I liked. They weren’t something I could afford, yet I was dreaming and looking anyway.
One day, I half jokingly text my mom and sister and said, “We rent a house every year together at the beach. Why don’t we just buy one and start a vacation rental business?”
I was completely shocked when they both said, “Okay!” (especially my sister, who tends to be the realist in our group of three, reigning my mom and I back in when we are dreaming overly big and crazy). That’s all I needed to go full force, contacting realtors, getting preapproved for a loan, and the three of us setting up a crazy two-day trip to an up and coming vacation destination that two of us had never even been to before.
After a 14 hour car ride with four young kids, exploring this amazing beach town, and looking at seven houses . . . we walked into one particular house and all met in the hallway with goosebumps. This was it. It was meant to be. This was our house. It was a crazy, unpractical dream. Yet within months, our crazy dream with our willingness to put in the work made it come true.
We are now in our third year of owning this vacation rental property, and it has succeeded way beyond our expectations. It’s been a fun adventure, a place my kids now look forward to going and making memories, and a place where so many other families are making memories and sharing their stories with us. It’s something that probably shouldn’t have been possible, and it definitely didn’t come without risks as none of us had a ton of extra money laying around to buy a random beach house . . . but it’s been so worth it.
It started with a daydream.
So many people are scared to dream big because society tells us to play it safe. Or honestly, maybe it’s just a fear of failure. However, let me show you my viewpoint. If you set a big huge goal, but you only get half way there . . . is that failure? By going for a dream, you are so much further along in your life than you would have been if you hadn’t set that big goal and gone for it! In my eyes, failure is not even trying . . . it’s staying right where you are. If you try for something and fall short, that is NOT failure . . . that is growth.
Why is it important to dream? I recently listened to a podcast called “mwf Motivation,” and the lesson they spoke of reiterated the importance of dreaming. In order to own something physically, you must first own something emotionally and mentally. You have to picture it as a possibility, you have to feel the emotions you would feel when you hit your big goal or dream. If you see a goal as far away and unlikely, or something that probably won’t happen until you hit “retirement age,” then you naturally won’t focus on the tasks that will get you to that goal. Whether it’s a financial goal, a goal to feel strong and healthy, or a goal for your dream house or career, your mind needs to see it as a current possibility to begin living and “being” that goal. Every time I was daydreaming, I felt the salty air on the porch while drinking my coffee, I heard the soothing crash of the waves, I was actually there. I perused countless listings, and instead of logically saying I would never be able to afford them, I saved my favorite styles and locations in my email. I mentally dreamt one of my life goals into a physical reality (with the help of my mom and sister, obviously), and way sooner than realistically it should have materialized.
Now don’t get me wrong, even though I’m a big dreamer, I have always loved my life, and I make it a point to relish in the ups and downs of the journey. There is no rule that says you can’t be happy with your current situation while still dreaming big and growing. Dreaming is not only fun, but it encourages us to continuously grow and work on ourselves. Don’t close your heart to the visions of possibility. Give yourself permission to dream.
Jennifer Avery is an Online Health/Fitness Motivator, Physical Therapist, and Blogger based in Ohio. When she’s not enjoying the chaos of raising four children, she’s inspiring others to dream big. Follow her on Instagram @jlynnpt or read her blog at https://howtogeteverythingyoueverwanted.wordpress.com/