Growing up, my concept of an “ideal life” changed constantly. A few years ago, I thought it was just having a boyfriend. Later into adulthood, my “ideal life” was just to get financially stable and into a position where I can work for myself, travel, and eventually perhaps fall in love (which is looking like it will happen around 40).
As a “Twenty Something” idealist who tried to work hard and be something for everyone else but myself, at times it seemed that everyone around me, and on social media, had their lives figured out. Most of my friends are married with kids, or kids on the way. My single friends are doing well in their careers, traveling, and in cute relationships where they post sappy photos that include captions about how lucky they to be in love with their best friend. I sometimes wondered if the “ideal life” would ever happen for me.
I looked up the word “ideal” in the dictionary, and found two definitions that helped me come up with the conclusion of what “the ideal life” looks like.
Ideal means “satisfying one's conception of what is perfect; most suitable.” Another definition is “existing only in the imagination; desirable or perfect but not likely to become a reality.” In using these definitions, and a few thoughts from some inspirational podcasts and TedTalks, I came up with three things I feel are important in “creating the ideal life”.
I want to share them with the hopes that these things might help you in sorting out your own path too.
Understand that ideal is based on one’s conception.
This means that everyone perceives “ideal” differently. It’s easy to look at your life and pick out all the failures and where we fall short. I think for some reason, we allow ourselves to pick out the negative more often than picking out the good things we’ve done and all we have accomplished.
One thing I had to do was write down all the things I have accomplished in the last year of my life all the way up to the last 5 years. When I saw the list, I realized that my life had actually had a lot of amazing experiences! Many of which when I tell people, they think is very impressive! There’s 365 days in a year. Why focus on the 100 bad days you have when there is 265 good days that are worth remembering?
Remember that just because something is desirable and perfect, it may not be desirable and perfect for you…
I am learning that really, timing is everything. In matters of relationships, this is especially true. Recently, I started liking a guy that I thought was perfect. He was religious, outgoing, fun, musical, athletic, and everything I put down “on my list” as ideal! But, we didn’t match up the way I wanted! Things didn’t work out and I was curious how something that I deemed so perfect could fail!? Well the reality is that just because something is ideal (and on paper looks really good), it doesn’t mean that it’s ideal for you! Graduate school is a great thing to do and you can’t really go wrong with getting more education. So why did all my efforts to attend graduate school in 3 different programs go wrong? Was this not the ideal thing to do? Sure, it was a perfect thing to do...just not perfect for me. (By the way I'm in school now! In a very ideal program...at least for me! :))
Realize that “ideal” exists first in the imagination!
Thoughts precede action! But the key word in that phrase is action. If we have our “ideal” life only in our heads and written out as lists that we look at occasionally throughout the year-we most likely will never reach our “ideal” self. This is another post in itself but I have to say that I learned a lot about life through taking risks, as we all do! One thing I have learned, when creating the ideal life, “expectations+actions=
In the end I have learned when “creating your ideal life” and things aren’t going the way you planned, that it’s important to ask yourself, “will this matter in 1000 years? How about 10? How about 1?” Just because you get fired, can’t get into graduate school, have to move 4 times, or can’t fall in love before you are 30 doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you should lower your expectations for your life. For every “no” in life you receive, that means you are one step closer to a “yes”. Keep expecting good things and keep taking risks! You probably will never reach the “ideal” life. Because life isn’t about perfection, it’s about progression. But eventually you will learn how to “create the ideal life” despite any of the circumstances you may find yourself in.
Anna Robbins currently residing in Virginia. Lover of travel and humanitarian work! Fitness enthusiast with a vast background in a variety of fitness experiences. Currently a personal trainer and manager for a all women's fitness facility. Contributor for Vea Fitness and Twenty Something and Black blog. Has a fabulous dog named Maggie! Life motto: If you want to make a difference in this world, you have to be different. Find Anna here: @shetrisfitness and @truetribeco