So you want to know the secret of how to make dreams a reality. You want to know how to achieve your dreams.
In April 2013, my family and I started building our dream property, and I believe that you can do it, too. Perhaps you have been accused of building castles in the air? Me, too.
And if you’re reading my writing, your dream probably involves things like goats, rabbits, pigs, chickens and other small livestock. It likely involves skies so clear you can see every star in the night sky, and fruit and vegetables that you know are fresh and organic because you picked them from just outside your door.
Your dream might look a little like that.
It might not include being completely off the utilities grid, but then again, maybe it does. It’s pretty rare for two people to have the exact same dream, even if they’re married to each other, so I would never be surprised if your dream isn’t just like mine. But your dream probably includes a little more freedom than you have now, a little more fresh food and quiet surroundings than you can have in town.
Do you know what people say to me?
“I dream of getting my children out of the city and into the country.”
“You’re living my dream! I wish I could get off-grid and onto a bit of land.”
“Someday, maybe, I’ll find a way to do what you’re doing. You’re living the dream.”
Here’s where I’m going to get some of you mad at me because I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do, and you might not like it.
Your first response is to say “But, Marie –“ and I’m going to cut you off right there. Get off your BUT and do it.
There are many, many excuses, and they’re all going to sound valid.
For many years, I had excuses for why I wasn’t writing and why I wasn’t building my little farm. Every single one of those excuses sounded completely valid, and I had myself and everyone else convinced.
Most of us are very good at making our excuses sound very valid, and since none of us knows anyone else’s life perfectly, it is really hard to argue with someone else’s excuses.
I wasted a lot of time. And if you’re making excuses, so are you.
One woman told me “I wish I could do what you’re doing, but I have three young children and I need to wait until they’re older.”
So did we, and now we have four.
I know exactly what it’s like to land on your “eventually-a-homestead-but-now-just-a-cabin-in-the-woods” with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 5 month old.
Oddly enough, I also hear “Well, if my three children were younger, I could. But if I take them away from their schools and friends now, they’ll hate me. Maybe I can move out of the city when they’re older.”
IF is just another word for BUT.
Other people say they need to save up enough money.
I’ll tell you a secret – it doesn’t matter how much money you have saved. It won’t be enough.
You should certainly get completely out of debt and definitely have money in the bank, if at all possible. But don’t get stuck on the treadmill of slaving away in town while wishing you were on the land. While there is always something on our “Things To Buy Or Fix” list, they rarely have the urgency of huge mortgage payments, utility bills and the other expenses necessary in town.
For everyone who tells me that they’ll leave the city when they’re older, I have another person who says they would do it if only they were younger.
The funniest example of the latter came from an 87 year old man. He said, “You know, if I were just ten years younger, I think I would do like you’re doing. But I’m getting a little bit old for that.”
The plain truth is that we’re none of us getting any younger.
The problem with all of the excuses is that NONE of them are unique to us. We fret that we’re being held back because of our health, our financial situation, our children, our gender …. fill in the blanks. And yet, for every excuse that we make, there is someone else who has overcome that exact same obstacle.
Don’t believe me? My husband and the eldest of our four has Aspergers. We’ve always lived below the poverty line. I’m a brain tumour survivor, and we’re both in our forties, so health issues are a definite reality.
And yet I’m living my dream.
I’m doing what I love.
Even bad days – when our goat drops two dead kids, my son needs stitches and a tetanus shot and the drain tube falls off my washing machine – are worth it because I love my life.
And I think you should be loving yours, too, making your dreams a reality.
Now before you yell at me, I want to say that there is a difference between REASONS and EXCUSES. For the most part, only you can figure out which is which for your life.
“We need to finish out this three year contract before we can leave the city. In the meantime, we’re saving our money, building our skills and downsizing.” – That’s a reason, with a plan of action.
“My elderly mother is dependent on my care and, until she passes, we need to stay near this big hospital where she can get proper care.” – That’s probably a reason, but it could be an excuse.
“Someday … maybe …. I dream … I wish …” If you’re including something like that, you’re probably making excuses.
So what are you going to do?
If you’ve been dreaming and wishing and making excuses, I’d love for you to sit yourself down and address that. Acknowledge that they’re excuses.
Dig into your excuses and figure out if there are valid reasons buried in there. Sometimes there are. Those reasons need to be dealt with. They are real problems keeping you from what you want to do.
So you’ve sorted out your reasons and your excuses?
By the way, remember when I asked if people accused you of building castles in the air? Well, it’s just fine to build castles in the air. That’s where they’re supposed to be. Let your dreams be lofty and magical and amazing. Now you need to build the stairs to get to them.
What’s your plan of action?
Have a definite goal in mind
It could be getting on a rural property and going completely off-grid, but it could also be maximizing your suburban property for food production and storage. Perhaps your dream is developing a high level of self-sufficiency in a city apartment – I don’t know how you’ll do it, but if that’s what you want, set your goals! Know exactly how you want your future to look. Some people write out a manifesto, while others respond better to vision boards. Whatever works for you, start solidifying that dream.
Figure out what you need to learn
No matter what your goal is, there is some knowledge you’re lacking. Start acquiring the knowledge and skills that you need. If your dream involves moving, start researching the area where you want to live.
Make a date
Remember SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Give yourself a time in which to reach your goal.
Get To ‘Er
Once you’ve sorted out your reasons and your excuses, solidified your vision of the future, figured out what you need to learn, and given yourself a set date in which to have things happening, there’s only one thing left —
Get off your BUT and do it.