What Is Your Dream Life?

“Right now, I have no further aspirations other than finishing my project until 2014″ I said solemnly to my friend.

We were having coffee at one of my favorite joints outside town. I’ve just finished my work, while he was on one of his treasured “mental health day” – both of us taking the rare opportunity to meet outside our work hours.

He was just telling me about his perfect life plans. He plans to get married next year. He is accumulating his project experiences to obtain his professional license in two years. He has already invested in property.

I was overwhelmed by his confidence in his life plans when I blurted out how aimless my life is.

Or, is it?

I know what it means to have plans. I had a 2-, 5, and 10-year plan before I graduated: to get published, to live overseas, to get a Master’s degree, to work in environmental and sustainability policy areas, to rise to a managerial position, etc.

I achieved most of them, and in consequent order – but I’m left with searching for more. Over time, I came to learn a life carefully planned isn’t necessarily a meaningful one.

“Put what, why, and who you love ahead of what, why, and who you don’t, and your roadmap will begin to write itself.” – Umair Haque
I worried if the steps I was taking were going to lead me to where I want to be. I fretted about whether I’m doing things right. I wondered if I’m connecting with the right people. I was scared if I didn’t talk to someone I like today I would lose my chance at happily ever after. It’s tiring.

One day, I thought to myself: sod it. Albert Einstein said “we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them“.

I have tried the school handbook to being successful, but I am not exactly happy, am I?

Why not, for once, I let go and stop planning?

I came to a realisation that perhaps I don’t really want to do my PhD, after all. I thought with a shudder about committing my hard-earned savings on a new car which I don’t really care about.

Instead of planning to move for a more stable job, I plan for my overland trip instead.

Last weekend I went on a hike up north, going through six river crossings before reaching the top waterfalls with two of my good friends. I came home to receive a new family of cats rescued from a nearby factory, and spending the rest of the weekend setting up the place for them and familiarising them with my cats.

By the end of it, I was exhausted. But I felt good. I felt at peace, like I’m at the right place.

What is you dream life?