The real dream: to live authentically

Living authentically is easier said than done. It is when our actions and words align with our beliefs, values and desires. Not doing what we think we should do or have been told we should be. There is no should in authentic.

If you don’t know how my life, as you see it, came about then start by reading this first. After T-Day happened (termination from my dream job), I took time to self-reflect and really evaluate what I am doing with my life. I cannot pin point the exact aha moment but it happened within 72 hours of my devastating news. The moment that I realized in order to be who I really am and obtain what my soul really desires I had to walk away from the world as I knew it. The life I worked so hard to build since I was a Kindergartner. The American Dream I was taught as a middle class southern girl. Yes it looks nice to own a house, to have two cars paid off, to take vacation time, to climb that career ladder and earn awards. But when this dream slapped me in the face it made me think. Emotions of anger, heartache and defeat left me asking questions. These questions led me to the moment.

 

The moment that I decided to take the steps to start living authentically. Living as me, chasing my passions and dreams. The me that has been covered up year after year with societies plans for me.  I am a realist, so I know change this big doesn’t happen over night. I can’t retrain my brain in days to look at everything differently instantly. But once I answered some key questions for myself I was filled with clarity.

So about these questions.  Just for fun take a look at these and see if you are comfortable answering them honestly. I admit, it can be tough to self-reflect. I think that situations cause people to get to a point that they are willing to be honest with themselves and until that situation happens the questions just get passed by innocently. My situation happened and the questions hit hard.

 

The moment I decided to live authentically-a cupful of carters
The moment I decided to live authentically-a cupful of carters
The moment I decided to live authentically-a cupful of carters
The moment I decided to live authentically-a cupful of carters
The moment I decided to live authentically-a cupful of carters

These are the top 5 questions that led to my aha moment.

Is how you are currently spending your days helping fulfill your greatest dreams?
Hmmm, no. Working 60 hours a week in exchange for little family time and 10 days of vacation is in no way a dream of mine. And none of those hours will help me see the world. Those hours actually take away from part of my dream of being present with my kids, family, and friends. Ouch. That answer hurt! That answer actually brought about the ugly cry – ladies, you know what I mean!

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living authentically

When do you stop calculating risk-rewards and just do it?
This is an interesting question because I over think just about everything. Wait…”just about.” The things I do not over think are the things I want to do for the sake of me wanting to do them despite the outcome. So what are those things…trips, joy for my kids and parties. Sounds silly saying it out loud BUT hey it’s true. I will NEVER turn down a trip if I don’t have to and I rarely find negatives even if there are some when planning an elaborate vacation because it is all about the experience, the moments that all add up make me just do it without considering risks or rewards. Same goes for my kids…something that will bring them joy, leads them to self-discovery or just provide them a special moment I will not overthink it I will just do it. And lastly parties. I love a good party and will go out of my way to say yes-throwing one, planning one for someone else or just attending one. I guess that is why I chased the career of event management (despite it being disappointing) for years. All those have one common factor I never considered: they are all about the experience and the memories made.

single mom chasing a dream | work from home mom | how to live authentically | mandy carter | acupful.com

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? If you didn’t do it, why?
Samantha Brown. I wanted to get to see the world and tell people about it. I started planning my family vacations when I was 6! But school teaches you that it is not realistic. She is one person in a unique position…pick a normal job and go after it. Pretty sure that is when I was taught that dreams were only dreams – not realistic goals. How shitty is that. I ended up spending my whole life chasing a realistic goal instead of a dream. Ugh. Now my ugly cry is turning into angry mirror stare moments. I’m pissed at myself over this question.

When I am on my deathbed, will I be glad I spent life’s precious moments  doing what I am doing now?
I have actually thought about this one often. But then I’d try to push aside my thoughts and just hope I’d get to do some of the things I want. So when I took time to reflect on the question, the answer is that I will be disappointed and sad. If I died without exploring the world, enjoying nature and spending as much time with my kids as possible then I will feel like I failed at my one shot. The crazy thing is that we all tend to take more time considering what we do in regards to things that we get do-overs or more chances with than we do our life. Our life that we only get one of and the length of our chance is unknown. Why are people so willing to settle for what we want out of our one life experience than we are for a new car?

living authentically

What action can I take today to move forward?
My first thought was I have no idea that is why I am reading inspirational stuff. Then the answer was clear. I can’t go back into the corporate world. I was sucked into the rat race and never realized it. I was working towards a goal that sounds great that leads to another goal and another one but that still would get me nowhere near my true dream of enjoying my family, traveling and making unique memories. So there’s my answer. I quit the way I have lived the past 33 years. CHEERS TO LIVING LIFE ON MY TERMS FOCUSED ON MY DREAMS!

living authentically

I want to inspire you to travel! Whether you explore your city, state or the world, just get out and see, do and eat new things! And I strive to encourage women to pursue their dreams. In addition to my favorite job of being the mother to two crazy little kids, I am the Digital Editor for a local magazine publisher, a freelance travel writer, and manage digital marketing for small businesses. Let’s connect!