Recently within one the Daily Journal articles I wrote about something that everyone who dreams of the fulltime lifestyle has to face. Do we simply dream the dream of the fulltime life or do we actually live the dream. With this article I've taken the opportunity to expand upon the words I wrote that that day. A day when we were getting ready to leave one volunteer position and travel on to the next.
It was our last Sunday to attend church at the Reedsport Church of God, and once again the energizer bunny of ministers, Allen, was going full throttle as always. He had been preaching a series, though teaching may be the better word, on "How to Enjoy the Rest of Your Life", and the message that morning was called: "Joy in Your Job".
Joy is one of those words that can easily mean many things, after all, isn't one person's joy oftentimes another persons sorrow. Take the difference between the winner and the rest of the participants in a sports event for example. To the winner goes the joy, to all others..., you get the idea. One of our small joys is attending church on Sunday mornings, and I offer this statement only to give a small insight into who we are. Perhaps you are one of the many who think of church as dull, boring, or not contemporary to your needs, just like we felt for years, even though we faithfully attended every Sunday morning. If so, you haven't experienced the churches and messages that we have discovered during our travels.
That day we found ourselves at this little church on the Oregon coast, in the process of changing jobs so to speak, leaving the comfort of the Lighthouse after a volunteer stint of several months, ready to embark on a journey of some 2000 miles to Fredericksburg, Texas in order to undertake a new adventure. One where we would be relating the events of World War II in the Pacific to our visitors. So, considering the timing and the content of today's message, the question on both of our minds as we returned to the coach was, had this message been meant specifically for us?
Listen to Linda's notes on Allen's message:
A short time later, back at the coach, we reflected upon what we had heard. Allen's words had so fluently expressed the nuances of the life we are living, and of the days we had just experienced at the Lighthouse. Because of those words we now understood just how important it would be to carry that same attitude, enthusiasm and set of values with us as we travel down Life's path.
Sara N. Dippity can guide each and everyone of us to places that are unexpected, but what we do with those opportunities is up to us. She lead Linda and I on that trip to the Sonoma coast of California over the Thanksgiving Holidays some four years ago. Giving us the opportunity on the return trip to openly and honestly talk about what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives. How easy it would have been to have just talked, telling each other that after having such a glorious time at the coast, we wished we didn't have to go back to work, and then never acting upon that wish. We could still be working at our jobs today, helping make money for someone else so they can live the Life we actually do. Those first five points in Allen's message are oftentimes difficult for all of us as we go about our jobs. But what about the sixth one, the real hurdle to living our dreams, risk. Do we dare risk, or do we live our lives like we always have?
We have some dear friends who are in the process of setting their own two year plan in motion, one that will end by allowing them to live the life we do. As with us it will not be retirement in the normal sense, meaning the risk is much greater than simply waiting to that point in Life where most people retire, with the security net which normal retirement entails. Risk, it can be very hard to take that leap, but the rewards, ah, the rewards, rewards that which for us have proved to be incalculable. Through casual conversation in the course of the fulltime life we now live, we have discovered others who have also risked, who dropped out early for one reason or another. Many still live as they did, that is in a stick house, not in one with wheels, but always, no mater where they live, the refrain is the same, we're so glad we did it. To which Linda and I echo their excited voices, we're so glad we did it.
Risk which is a word that can be defined in different ways depending on its use. As a noun it indicates the possibility of suffering harm or loss. It also carries a strong connotation of danger. Use it as a verb and it means exposure to a chance of loss or damage. In addition it also implies there is a hazard present. You can allow it to control your life, or you can control your life.
The point of all this is not to make anyone think less of themselves, or to hold those of us who live the fulltime life up as something special. The point is simple. In our Life we have dreams. The challenge is to not let it be just that, a dream. Act on that dream, take a chance, reach out and risk, otherwise your dream will be just what it is, a dream. Why not turn it into a journey to a destination. That old adage, 'And may all your dreams come true", was never more apropos. Life, meant to be lived.
In my own life, when I have been confronted with seeming overwhelming obstacles, I have considered the words below and then acted according to my beliefs. There is great truth in every one of those eighteen words, but the secret is contained in just four of them, with my whole being As I've learned over and over through success and failure, it's a case of doubters need not apply.