If you've been a long time reader around here, you know I'm a big believer in following our dreams and not letting fear get in our way. Time is precious and we have to make the most of every minute to lead the life we want!
Today, I'm thrilled to share the soapbox with one of my blogging friends, Jenn Baxter, of Live a F.a.s.t Life. as she tells an inspiring and touching story about not waiting to follow your dreams. So...grab a cup of coffee, settle in, and get to know Jenn and her story!
Shortly after my mom (who was also my BFF) passed away, I had a dream.
In the dream, she and I were attending some type of church service and were standing side by side. Suddenly, I not only heard, but felt a straight-up EVIL voice whisper something so close to my ear that I could feel it. I don’t even know what it said, but I got an awful feeling (almost dread-like) up and down my whole body, and next to me, my mom collapsed onto the floor.
I looked over at the person on the other side of my mother, who was looking back at me with the same shocked expression and then we bent down to check on her. In the dream, she ended up being okay. But of course, when I woke up just seconds later, the reality was that she was still gone.
I was so disturbed by the dream though, that in my half-awake, half-asleep state, I consciously told myself “think of something good!” so I could hopefully get rid of the entirely creeped-out, evil presence that I was feeling in that moment.
INSTANTLY, an entire scene flashed in my mind.
There was an old, green VW Beetle convertible parked facing away from me, with the top down. It was parked on the beach, with the ocean down to the left and a beach house up on a hill in the distance off to the right. The license plate was a vanity plate and said “GOBHPPY.”
Immediately, I felt better as I realized my mom had just sent me a very important message.
See, before she was diagnosed with stage four rectal cancer, she had wanted to do a few things. Two of which were: buy a VW Beetle convertible and move to a condo at the beach. Unfortunately, she passed away only six months from the time she was diagnosed, so she ran out of time to do either one.
But here she was, telling me to “GO… BE… HAPPY.” And do the things that I dreamed about while I still had the chance.
It was like a fire was lit underneath me! I knew what I had to do.
I had to live the rest of my life for both me and my mom. Really LIVE it.
So I set out to do a couple things:
- Reduce my material possessions and my financial debt
- Clean up my body physically and emotionally
- Do what I love for a living
- Travel, have REAL experiences with my friends and family, and mark things off of my bucket list
But most importantly, I set out to do them NOW.
Not when the timing is right.
Not when I have more time or more money.
Not when I retire.
Because you truly never know how much time you have left.
And if I didn’t already believe that, I certainly did after watching my mom run out of time right before my eyes. She was making plans to have Thanksgiving dinner at the beach, not knowing she wouldn’t even be here anymore by the time Thanksgiving came.
It’s a gamble we all can’t afford to take.
Life is too short to wait.
So how can we set out to create a life that we love RIGHT NOW?
Well, the most important thing for me was to stop being afraid.
After my mother passed away, I got some of her old journals. One day, I sat down to read through them and found several heartbreaking passages where she talked about how she had held back in her life because of fear.
Reading that in her familiar handwriting was like listening to her talk and it made me sad for her. But it also motivated me to get moving so I didn’t end up the same way!
Life is too short to be nervous, anxious, worried or second-guessing yourself. Where is that really going to get you?
So I knew I had to stop being afraid and worried to step out of my comfort zone. Or at least step out anyway, even in the midst of it.
I decided to make the freelance writing that I had always done on the side my full time gig. It is what I love the most, it is what God gifted me to do, yet… I had never put 100% of my focus and time on it.
So, I took a step of faith… and I jumped.
And you know what happened?
Writing opportunities starting coming in left and right. I got new freelance clients, new opportunities to guest post for others and I was finally able to give my own blog the attention it deserved.
Now, writing is all I do every day (with the occasional pet-sitting gig thrown in here and there, since dogs are my other passion!) and I LOVE my job.
I set my own hours, I choose my own projects and most importantly, I am doing what I was created to do.
It’s funny, once you start doing what you were created to do, everything just begins to flow and click into place. Sure, there are still some “risks” involved like not having a regular, biweekly paycheck to count on or a health insurance plan.
But the biggest reward for me is happiness.
And it’s not just in my job.
When it comes down to it, I’m not going to look back at my life and think “Gee, I wish I had bought myself an iPad when I could’ve.”
But I could end up saying,
“I wish I would’ve seen more of the world.”
“I wish I would’ve spent more time just having fun with friends.”
“I wish I would’ve learned to paint, play the guitar, swim with dolphins, etc., etc., etc.”
So THOSE are the things I am focusing on now.
I am taking all the time, energy and money that could’ve gone into ridiculous things like a mortgage for an oversized house I don’t really need, electronics that will come and go faster than you can blink at them, or expensive clothes and shoes that don’t really function any differently than the ones at Kohl’s or Target, and I am putting it toward the things that really matter.
I am choosing to go LIVE my life.
I am choosing to LOVE my life.
I am choosing to GO BE HAPPY.
Are you ready to create a life that you love? Click here now to download my free “DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress” cheatsheet to get on your way!
More About Jenn
Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who has been published in The Charlotte Observer, Fort Mill Times, Charlotte Five, SOCIETY Charlotte Magazine and Lake Norman Magazine, as well as featured as a columnist on Beliefnet.com. Her freelance clients span across the nation, as well as Australia and the UK, in the fashion & beauty, health & wellness, travel and life coaching industries.
In 2015, she launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house. Quickly gaining recognition in the tiny house community, her posts have been featured on popular tiny house sites like Cometcamper.com, TinyHouseTalk.com and TinyHouseAmerica.com. Her e-book, Tiny Abundance, is available now and her new e-course, “DeClutter, DeTox, DeStress” will launch in February 2016.