I was sold. Hook line and sinker. I wanted it all. I wanted the house, the car, the husband, the kids, the career and all of the “things” that say I’m rocking this life thing. I got it all sewn up! There’s this idea that if you drive a certain car, wear particular clothes and live in certain neighborhood that you are on top of the world. That’s the story. The American Dream.

You go to college. You decide at 18years old what you’d like to do for the rest of your life and you  set off on the path of “living the dream”. I was so there. I had my plan carved out and I made it! I was living my American dream. After college, I started working in media right a way. I worked my way from editorial assistant for a newspaper to a writer and producer for network television. I got married, we got a dog, a house and two children.  It felt good to be able to check life goals off the imaginary life list. What didn’t feel good was the amount of hours needed to make the dream work. What didn’t feel good was never feeling like we had enough time with our kids. I started to realize the American dream was all about “things”. I thought about what that really meant for me.

There’s this saying that you never see a U-haul behind a Hearst because you can’t take any of this stuff with you. I thought about that. I thought about a minister once saying that we buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like. Ouch!  Hmmm… I thought about what will matter most to me at the end of the day, my family or my stuff.  I had to re-evaluate what giving my all looked like for me.

While I was still producing television, I began having these ideas of the life I NOW wanted. I kept a notebook to jot them down. Now that I had that jigsaw laid out it was time to figure out how I was going to put that puzzle together. I started jotting down ideas. I talked to my husband to pick his brain. We were on the same page, thankfully. We are more concerned with experiences rather than things. We started talking things out to figure out how we could make our life simpler, easier. Being in the grind here in L.A. is a beast. We are on a mission to tame the beast in a way that works for our family.

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Part of that is making the best of our time with our kids creating memories and experiences. It’s led to me craving a simpler life. I never knew how much I loved the outdoors until I stopped to see it though the eyes of my babies. Playing at a water table really can be fun and therapeutic. The kids have fun and I let the water relax me a bit. This attitude has also extended to how I want our home set up. I’ve been on a mission to get rid of things that aren’t needed. I have bagging up things left and right. I have re-designed rooms in my head so that things just feel better. A while ago I read something about clearing space in your home as it relates to making space for other (non-material) things to come into your life. I’m all about that!  I can’t say that I won’t drool over the latest “it” bag or that I will completely abandon my closet full of shoes. I like baby steps, y’all. What I will say, is that I’ll be making progress bit by bit to make my life more of MY dream and less of the American dream. With the traditional dream, there is always more to get. With my dream, I focus on what I already have. Feels better already.

46 comments on “Living the Dream?”

  1. Im living life on my terms now. I quit my dreadfully boring job 3 years ago to write full time and I’ve never regretted a single moment. Sure, money might be tight at times, but my worst day being self-employed is still better than my best day at the day job.

    I would encourage everyone to start living the life they want. Time goes by too quickly not to.
    deb recently posted…A tour and overnight stay at Oak Alley PlantationMy Profile

  2. Crazy to read this right now because I just had a baby and developed this deep need for simplifying as well. I am so glad you wrote this! I think we need to be reminded of the beauty of simplification on a regular basis. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness. Thank you!

  3. Camesha,

    i’m so happy that you’ve realizing this now and not when you look back and see that your kids are grown and out of the house and somehow you missed it all.

    My kids grew up while I was just starting a restaurant and though they were a part of it, I often miss the time I missed with them.

    I’m so happy for you. Keep going!
    Silvia recently posted…Swiss Chard Salad – Mediterranean StyleMy Profile

    • Your comment makes my heart happy. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going. I’ve really found that the little things aren’t so little. 🙂 Again, thank you!

  4. I love that you’re focusing more on what you have. I definitely think we need to be more “present” in our lives and appreciate what we have and not chase after what we don’t.
    Carly Anderson recently posted…BeautyConMy Profile

  5. Great post! And it’s so true. I quite my position as lead teacher of my school to stay at home, work at home, run after two little ones, and be broke. It was so worth it! It really does feel good to slow down and appreciate what we have instead of always wanting, wanting, wanting.

  6. Love this article, it is so completely true. We get focused on moving forward to achieve our young self dreams, and don’t stop to realize our wants are different.

    One of the things I have my clients do is a life plan, for this exact reason. Amazing things happen when you plan out what you really want from life.

    Happy restructuring your life!
    Andrea @ Take A Smart Step recently posted…How Doing Yoga Can Save You MoneyMy Profile

  7. I totally agree with you Camesha. As I get older my priorities have changed and my life is certainly not what I ever imaged it would be. I think I’m in a much better place and I love the decisions that i’ve made in terms of creating my own dream life. 🙂

  8. Great post, I totally understand so much of what you wrote here. I mean, we think we want this life that we’re told is the best, and then we aren’t happy and we wonder why. Hope to see again tomorrow at the Coast to Coast Blog Hop Party! xo Margarita – WestCoastMama.net
    Margarita recently posted…Packing Light on VacationMy Profile

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