We all do it. You’ve probably even done it in the past few weeks.
You think to yourself, “When ______ happens, then I’ll ______.”
Something you want to do. Some lifestyle you want to live. A thing you want to learn. There’s always something.
We allow ourselves to desire yet make excuses for why now's not the right time. Instead of hoping those excuses resolve themselves, reject them outright and remove the hurdle.
A corner cafe in Paris
What about me? I’m writing this post from a corner cafe in Paris, underneath my Airbnb for the next 10 days, across from a beautiful park. For the next 2.5 months I’ll be working from different cities in Europe. I don’t have anything booked after this Airbnb except for a bunch of tattoos (4 in Paris, 2 in Berlin, maybe one in Lisbon 😳 Too many??).
Working from other countries has always been something I wanted to do. It’s a major reason I’ve continued working for myself for 7 years. I spend my days sitting on my laptop in cafes in Chicago, why not do it in other cities?
Then something happened. I woke up on my 30th birthday and realized I still hadn’t done it. The excuses, which once felt legitimate, now felt like a lie to myself.
- I’ll do it when I have a girlfriend or wife to travel with me.
- I’ll go once I have recurring monthly income.
- What do I do about my apartment?
- Won't it be too expensive?
- Won't I miss all my friends?
- What would I do with my dog?
All of these seem like good excuses but are actually bad excuses. They enabled me to sit comfortably for years without change.
So I began to plan the trip after my 30th birthday. This time I rejected each of the things holding me back. I sublet my apartment. I’m traveling to cheaper cities (other than Paris). I'd recently left a relationship, and realized I didn't need someone to go with me. My mom is watching my dog. My consulting income is enough, and my clients don’t care where I am.
And onward down the list. No more excuses.
Except now I’m in Paris.
Don't chase your dreams... just live.
A few people have told me they’re glad I’m “chasing my dreams.” While I appreciate the sentiment, I kind of hate that line. I don’t feel like I’m “chasing” anything. And calling it a “dream" puts a simple idea on an unattainable pedestal.
I’m just doing what I want to. I feel like I’m taking control. And it feels like many of my friends are also doing the same.
So... what excuses are you making?