I've been asked a number of times how I realized my dream to live in Paris. Admittedly, I did so under very difficult circumstances--I needed a correct diagnosis of my illness. As a result, I had to skip and/or rush through some steps I would have otherwise taken. But I thought it might be helpful to discuss over the course of a few blog posts what worked for me, and the things I would have done had I had more time, to realize my dream.

For me, there were several stages in the process of living my dream: 
  • Perspective
  • Preparation for the planting season
  • The planting season
  • Realization of the dream
  • Living the dream
In this post, I'll address perspective--the lens through which I viewed my dream, and things I learned from the gift of hindsight while living my dream. My experience will differ from others' experiences, so take this for what it's worth to you. 

First, I learned that dreams are replete with fantasies of what living the dream will be like. But not all dreams are good; some are nightmares. There's no way to know until you live them. I was fortunate that my dream was a good one, but I had some nightmares along the way.

Second, I learned that not everyone will support your dream. Their lack of support may not be personal, but may be based in their own fears, doubts, or concerns. You must believe in your own dream and have the focus, tenacity, and strength to follow through. You must decide whether to share your dream and plans and, if so, with whom. Sometimes, it's difficult to discern who will and will not provide encouragement and support.

Third, there are many land mines, challenges, and setbacks that may discourage you from pursuing your dream. It's important to be realistic that the road to your dream may have some potholes.

Fourth, it may take a great deal of time and effort to realize a dream. Some people just fall into their dream. I wasn't one of those people. It's important to ask for help, if/when possible.

Fifth, it's crucial to enjoy the journey involved with living your dream because the journey is sometimes as important as the dream itself.

Sixth, living your dream may not bring you joy. While I have had many happy days living my dream, it was my joy that sustained me when living the dream became difficult. If my joy was based on external circumstances rather than my internal state of being, I would have been disappointed. You can't know what living your dream will be like until you get there, and nothing is good all of the time. Joy can help you endure the difficult times.

With the same perspective and the gift of hindsight, I wouldn't take a thing for my journey. Everything I experienced on the way to living in Paris and everything I've experienced since living in Paris has been worth it. I have no regrets. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity, I'm grateful, my life is richer for the experience, and I will continue to encourage others to pursue and live their dreams . . . and to live them joyfully.



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