It’s been almost a year since I posted anything on this blog. Wow! What a difference a year makes! A lot has happened since the last time I sat on this computer and took the time to write.
I moved to a tropical Caribbean island and lived in a resort community about 30 steps from the beach, and I got the job that I’ve always wanted in a wonderfully warm and loving community. Sounds like the stuff of dreams right….well not really; you see as amazing as that sounds…I also lost a very dear person in my life and took a large pay cut to work in this ideal job 🙂
So why am I telling you this? Kinda confused?? Well, let me explain…
The title of this blog post is the question “Am I living the Life I always dreamed of?” If I were to take a poll and ask a number of people this question I’m sure some would say yes and some would say no. This answer of course would depend on the individual’s current life circumstances. For someone who has a nice family, nice house, good job, doing great in school etc., the answer would probably be yes. But for someone who recently lost a job, lost a loved one, had to foreclose on their house, failed a semester of school etc. the answer would probably be no. Makes sense right….sure….but I have a different take on it.
I think the answer to the question “Am I living the life that I always dreamed of?” should stay the same regardless of life’s circumstances; it should always be answered with a resounding YES!
Now why in the world would I say that? Well, it’s based on two things:
1) Trust, acceptance and pleasure in what God has decreed for our lives.
This is a very tough thing to do. To be pleased with whatever God has prescribes for us means to take everything that happens throughout life in stride. Whether that be landing the job of your dreams or losing the job of your dreams; whatever happens is what God intended to happen therefore we should be content with the result.
Everything that happens, only does so by the permission of God, so there’s no reason to question it and/or overly fret about it. It is what it is…accept it and keep it moving forward. .
Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t take lessons from the experience, rather that is really the whole point behind all that we go through; that is the way God designed life…to live and learn and hopefully grow. And it’s also not to say that at times we won’t feel disappointed, because that will certainly happen as well; There are times when we will be disappointed in ourselves and other times when we will be disappointed by others. But the default stays the same; and the default is that we should always be living the life that we’ve dreamed of.
The Prophet Muhammad said….(I am paraphrasing here)…he said to Rejoice because everything that happens to a believer is good, when something good befalls him, he is thankful; and when something bad befalls him, he is patient.
What inspirational words from the last Messenger (peace be upon him)! Basically, it’s all good…no matter what happens to the believer. We should have the attitude that the companions of the prophet had when they used to say Alhamdulillah a’la kulli Haal….All praise is due to Allah (God) in all situations/circumstances.
So am I living the life that I always dreamed of?
Yes, I’ve had a number of wonderful things happen to me this past year, but to be honest…I was just as content last year and the year before that and the one before that. Because, contrary to popular belief, it’s not really about the outward life circumstances that fulfill your dreams…it’s the contentment of the heart that allows you to always feel fulfilled no matter what the external conditions or circumstances around you are.
That, to me, is the definition of living the life of your dreams! Always being content and making the most of your current circumstances, while at the same time constantly striving to improve yourself in all facets of life.
That, to me, is the dream life; to be content, to be close to God and be appreciative of every single day, hour, minute and second that He has blessed us with. And of course never letting that fire die inside of you that is constantly seeking to grow in all areas of life.
Anyone who’s lived long enough and fulfilled a dream that he or she once had like landing the job they’ve always wanted or marrying the “ideal” woman or man, or driving that Benz that you always wished for, or living in that exclusive neighborhood in your dream house, knows that those things also come with their fare share of problems and are not always as dreamy as you once imagined them to be.
After you achieve those things…then what? A better car? A nicer house in a nicer neighborhood? A more attractive spouse? There is always more and better for the soul that is not content with his or her current situation.
So here’s a bit of advice to those who don’t feel like they’re living the life of their dreams:
1) Take another look at your dreams; Remember the big picture
Life has a purpose; and if your dreams have nothing to do with that bigger picture of life, then you may want to rethink your dreams. We all wanted a Ferrari or a mansion growing up, but as you get older and wiser, those material things shouldn’t necessarily be our end goal; not that those things are wrong, but they should merely be by-products of our success in seeking bigger things in life. Things like having a happy family and/or living a life that’s pleasing to God. As I said earlier, for those of us who have attained a certain level of material success, it does not come without its own set of baggage, problems and issues.
2) Change your job
Make your life’s mission your job. If you ultimately want to serve humanity in some capacity, find a job or a career that will allow you to do that day in and day out. If you want to be the world’s most successful businessman; do so in a business that adds beauty to the world, not destroys it or diminishes it.
The average American spends 10 years of his or her life at work, so choose to do something that helps you fulfill your life’s mission and help you to accomplish your lofty dreams.
3) Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have
For the Muslim, or the Mu’min (Believer) I should say…the glass is always half full because we believe in the Greatness of God and that He is the best of all planners. He gives to whom He wills and He takes from whom He wills; and at the end of the day, everything in creation is part of His Kingdom and He is the true owner of everything.
Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. If you have even one healthy child….be thankful and grateful….lots of people don’t.
If you have a nice roof over your head, which I’m assuming you do considering you have internet access and can read this blog post :)….be thankful….lots of people don’t.
If you have a vehicle that takes you to and from places….be thankful….lots of people don’t.
Finally….If you are healthy and aren’t stuck in a hospital bed day in and day out……be thankful…..lots of people are.
4) Self Perception is reality
It’s amazing how powerful a role our psyche plays. If we look at our lives in a negative light then that’s exactly what our reality will be. Likewise, if we look at our lives in a positive light then things will always look bright and we’ll be living out our dreams daily. Again, it’s not the outside circumstances that matter…it’s what we think internally that creates our external reality.
5) The only thing that’s stopping you is yourself
Life is short….real short. So why aren’t you living the life of your dreams? There’s lots of excuses out there….you can choose any of them. Or as they say in the coaching world, you can “man up” and look in the mirror and do what you need to do in order to live every day of your life achieving all your dreams. Our greatest enemy is ourselves….
6) Don’t chase after this life only
This life is not worth one wing of a mosquito; that is what our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said. So shouldn’t our dreams have a lot to do with achieving success in the next life?
Which reminds me of a beautiful statement once made by Ibn Qayyim: ” This world is like a shadow, if you try to catch you never will; but if you turn your back to it, it has no option but to follow you.”
May Allah (God) grant us happy and fulfilling lives. And more importantly….
May Allah grant us the best of this world and the best of the next….