I’m going to preface this post by saying that lately I’ve been pretty emotional. I’m not sure why, but perhaps it has to do with the fact that in a few short years I’ll be a half century old. I’m starting to look around me and catch glimpses of my mortality in the rear view mirror. Oddly, it seems to be gaining on me every time I look.
For those that know me, I have a favorite saying. When I’m asked “how’re you doing?” I reply, “I’m living the dream.” Sometimes I get a chuckle, sometimes I get a sigh, and sometimes I get “Yah right, more like a nightmare.”
I’ve come to find that I can learn a lot about a person by how they answer this question.
I wasn’t Living the Dream
Years ago, when I worked at PB World (now gone), I worked with a CADD operator. Depending on the workload we all had and what time of the day it was, I would ask him, “Hey , how’s it going?
He’d reply with, “I’m living the dream, Tom. Living the dream.”
We’d laugh because most of the time it’d be funny. Sometimes, it wasn’t. Sometimes when there was a lot of stress in the firm (i.e. deadlines, layoffs, etc) it would take on a negative connotation.
Over the years I began to internalize that saying. At first I would say it blindly as a reply but then I began to clarify it. I started asking myself ask myself, “was I really living the dream” and “what is the dream?”
I came to the realization that I wasn’t living the dream.
What is the dream?
The dream can be many things. Many people think it’s related to ‘stuff’ like a house, car, and other shiny objects. It could be finding love or living in a different city or place from where you were born. For some other people it might be a career or job that they love, while others create things and making a living from doing it.
Whatever it is, it’s a personal dream. It’s what makes you happy and content.
But what is happiness?
That, my friend, is the correct question to ask. That is what you must internalize and clarify. Living the dream is just an abstraction of happiness and contentment.
I am Living the Dream
As I started to clarify the “living the dream”, I began to realize that for me it’s not about owning things. It’s about my life. My wife, children, and family. It’s about a fulfilling career where I get to work with the most talented and amazing people. It’s about the inspiration I get from the relationships I have. It’s about this blog where I can write to my hearts content. It’s about where I live, in the small mountains of New Jersey.
It’s about connectedness.
It’s about creating.
And lastly, it’s about love. It’s always about love.
After all, what else is there?
Also published on Medium.