Bespoke —architect -designed—these words conjure up images of something different from the norm, something unique and worth paying more for.
This was the sort of life my husband and I dreamed of.
Ten years ago I quit teaching and took up writing full time.
Four years ago, my husband quit his business and took up photography full-time.
Fast-forward to today, and our lives are filled with writing, photography, traveling and volunteering.
From the slums of Phnom Penh, Antarctica, a summer at Oxford University and places in my soul I never knew existed my life has been reinvented.
In our old lives, we lived by imposed schedules, but now our schedules are filled with ‘adventures’.
Out of the many lessons we’ve learnt along the way here are five:
1. Changing your life can look a lot like a spaghetti junction but, when you get perspective you get an idea of the beautiful pattern it creates. The detours you think are crazy, actually start to make sense when things collide in one magnificent moment that causes you to say, ‘This is what I was made to do.
2. It’s not all about you. Pablo Picasso said, The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
We’ve designed our lives so that we give a portion of our year to non-profit organizations, doing what we love, and sharing our skills.
3. Reinventing your life costs. It costs finance—particularly if you walk away from a well-paid career to take up the uncertain world of creative enterprise. It takes hard work and sacrifice.
You don’t have to give up everything to live the life you want, but you do have to change something.
It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard is figuring out what you’re willing to give up, or invest in, in order to do the things you really care about.
4. Everyday Choices Make The Difference: The choices we make every day are what change our lives.
Changing your life is not all about dreaming big—although we all need a big vision— it’s about stepping it out one day at a time.
Make appointments with yourself to exercise, to write, to dream, to catch up with friends and family, to go on vacation.
Regular appointments with yourself lead to an appointment with destiny.
The best lives are built in the normal everyday, one step at a time.
We’re all looking for that magic pill to keep us slim, to make us more money that will give us a dream life, but magic pills don’t exist.
5. Same, Same, But Different: In Thailand you see t-shirts with the slogan Same, Same, But Different all the time. The new normal is the same for us, but different.
We are the same people, but we are different. Redefining/reinventing your life doesn’t mean you aren’t who you were—you’re still there—you’re refining, polishing and moulding your life into a sleeker, more adventurous version. In the process you uncover what has been buried in you, waiting to be released.
If only changing our lives was as easy as Photoshopping them. Imagine if we could live only the highlight reel of life that we so proudly show on Facebook.
When people tell me I have the dream life because I get to do what I love – write, study, travel, mentor writers and enjoy living in one of the best cities in the world with my wonderful husband, young adult children and golden retriever, Bear, I tell them, if you plan to have adventures and keep adding to the list, life will unfold, one adventure after another.
There is no magic pill. There is no easy road. It’s scary stepping out of your comfort zone and reinventing your life.