Change for a Year

Take a year. Change your life.

Keep on Dreaming – What are your dreams for the new year?

Last week I talked with my sister into the late hours of the night.  She had dreams, big things she wanted to do in her short time on this earth.  She didn’t want to die old and bitter.  I had dreams too.  Dreams that seemed to be fading away or disappearing altogether as I grew older.  I knew I wanted good health and crazy adventure and interesting stories and … something more than simply going through the motions until I died.

I sat down to type, not knowing what I wanted to say, only with the words “Dreams are a strange thing” in my mind.  I knew in just the few weeks since I’d begun blogging and turned vegan that my life had changed forever.  That may seem an odd thing to say, but it’s true.  On the surface, nothing had changed.  I still have the same job.  I still have the same family and friends.  I still do the same things.  But I’m different. The power of dreams to awaken your soul really is a strange thing.

Many of you out there are dreamers as well.  I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for helping to restore my own ability to dream.  I truly feel like being here has saved my life and set me on a completely new path in just the few weeks I’ve been here.  Being Freshly Pressed was a dream of mine.  And I thank you for the few thousand views my essay received and the many followers, likes, and, most of all, inspiring comments you left.   Many of you said it better, and clearer, than I did.

Too many of us have traded in authentic dreams for the nightmares fed to us by our consumer culture. In my last two posts, I’ve been reflecting on waste and the worship of money, As Thoreau put it, “The world is too much with us.” – IndyTony (visit blog)

My uncle went to Africa recently.  So have some of my old college friends.  It’s amazing how they all said the exact same thing to me: “They are all so happy with so little.”  Is it that they truly have so little, or is it that we put all of our time and energy into the wrong things?

I was poor once, briefly.  I’ll never forget the day I had 26 cents in my pocket, debt up to my eyeballs, and actually had a plan to live in my car.  My dinner every night that week was the gas station’s two for 99 cents hot dogs and a 79 cent soda.  I remember picking through the car seats and not having enough to eat.  I laughed it off thinking at least I’d finally lose some weight.  Getting on my feet again is a blessing, but now, to work so damn hard every week for a nicer couch or a bigger apartment or another TV.  I need to change my mindset.  It’s easy to get trapped in that cycle.  More, more, more.

My goals have changed this year.  My goals now are to live with less.  To live smaller and to dream bigger.

It made me think of a quote that I read the other day, something like “There’s a difference between simply existing and truly living.” I hope to be truly living. -Kimbernator (visit blog)

I have decided that no matter what this year I am not going to be vanilla. -Primal Nights (visit blog)

I spent a long time simply existing.  I spent a long time being vanilla.  I spent a long time with people asking who I was or what I wanted and not having an answer.  I won’t do that anymore.  My goal for this year is to be truly living.  My goal this year is to not be vanilla.  My goal this year is to get healthy, finally, not tomorrow, not next week, but now.  And I will do it, thanks in large part to the support of everyone out there.

What flavor I’ll end up?  I’ll start with vegan, writer, former fat guy.  As for what’s next, I guess I’ll just have to figure that out as I go.

11 Comments

  1. I think most people who come to Africa can come across people who don’t have a washing machine or microwave or ipad and think “i can’t be happy without those things so these people couldn’t possibly be happy without them.” and so it comes as a surprise that there is more to life than material things. I think those who realize that are the happiest people.

  2. when you’ve undergone a lot of pain/shame/depression over the years there comes a point dreaming doesn’t feel natural anymore, but to continue dreaming is to continue living.

  3. Inspiring, truthful and understanding

  4. Reminded me of the documentary Happy. I love it. Give it a watch on Netflix if you get the chance. I absolutely live for that feeling you speak of. The sense of renewed vigor and purpose when you begin to reclaim that childlike feeling that you don’t have to keep those shackles on anymore. You can become someone new!

  5. Wow, this post has awaken so much in me like the feeling of guilt for wanting more that what I currently have, and the desire to reconnect with my defunct dreams. I too was once homeless and poor which I think I still am because I’m out of work and find it hard to pay my rent. I do have a roof over my head and that’s a comfort. I always wanted to write. so, like you i started a blog and its very therapeutic and it’s reviving my dream. I really enjoyed this post and I wish you the best of what out there. Oh, and “Happy New Year”.

  6. Wow. Love your dream posts. I want to dream again, too. Or maybe it’s more like let the dreams out. Thanks for these awesome posts.

  7. Hello Jeff. Loved your post on Dreaming and made a reference to it in my latest post. Thought I would tell you and hope that’s ok. Keep up the good work!

  8. Hi Jeff, Great post. You mention ‘almost’ ending up living in your car. I’m glad that didn’t happen to you, but you are another example of how this can happen to everyone. It happened to me, but then I discovered blogs and I guess I allowed myself to start dreaming again. My blog was made into a book – now if that isn’t dreaming! Am still on the journey of rebuilding my life. Hope it turns out as good as yours!
    http://www.anyapeters.wordpress.com

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