By Caroline Hall
As infants we expected—and usually received–immediate gratification. Hungry? We wailed and got fed. Since then, though, we’ve had to learn the self-control and strategies necessary for delayed gratification, because we can’t melt down and howl whenever we want something. Because it is painful and frustrating to sit with a want that is not satisfied, self-control usually involves moving the “want” out of our consciousness, often by distracting ourselves with less nourishing pleasures (hello Hagen Daaz!). And before long, we get so busy with the distractions that the pilot light goes out under the back-burnered desired and we forget what it is we wanted in the first place.
And decades pass.
Hunger—for food or for fulfillment–is painful but essential. If we didn’t notice we were hungry for food, we’d wither away to nothing. And if we don’t allow ourselves to hunger for what’s truly fulfilling, the same thing happens to the soul. Allowing ourselves to “awaken the wanter” and sit with it, however uncomfortable it may feel, helps us navigate a path toward what matters most in our lives.
This is incredibly important for successful Baby Boomers whose lives have been characterized by decades of productive busy-ness. What with the big jobs and demanding children, who has had time to dream new dreams? Anyway, most dreams aren’t “realistic,” so why set yourself up for disappointment? That’s how the thinking goes…but now it’s time for that thinking to stop.
Consider, you are successful and accomplished. You have dispatched most of your responsibilities for taking care of others and building empires. As you move toward what used to be known as “retirement,” you’ll have more time on your hands and adequate resources to underwrite new learning opportunities, adventures, and ways to make a difference. Many of your limiting contingencies have diminished or disappeared and you still have most of your health and marbles. If now isn’t the time to dream big, when is?
So slow down, breathe, and crank up the volume on your atrophied internal “wanter.” Let it rip and let it sting. Allow yourself to yearn. And keep “HOW” out of the equation for now. When you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way.
And given that your wanter may be a little rusty from disuse, it’s a big help to have yearning conversations with family, friends, and other allies. Inspire and reinspire one another with dreams that may not have been possible before, but they are now. These conversations are part of the mix in every Life Reinspired program. We humans are relationship-based beings; we’re not meant to yearn alone.
Join LifeReinspired to reconnect with your dreams and get the support to make them real in your next chapter of life!