Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What IF . . .

What if you could change anything or maybe even everything about your life? What would those changes be? Who would you become? How would your life be different?

I don't know about you, but I know I've posed some of the "what if" questions to myself from time to time. What if is a speculative question and although a person might not act on the speculations, it is possible an individual could conceivably act on something. This is quite different than the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" speculations because they are all past tense and have no validity in the present or the future.

So, what if you could actually change one or more facets of your life? If some of these what ifs actually made sense to you, would you follow through?

Here is a very short list of what ifs for you to consider. Some of them may make sense. A few may be actionable. However, it's not likely all of them will make the cut.

What if . . .

·      you could earn a college degree or another college degree?
·      you could take some specialized occupational/professional training?
·      you could quit your job and do anything you want to do?
·      you could move to another town, city, state or country?
·      you could follow your greatest dream (whatever it is)?
·      you could be single?
·      you could be married?
·      you could divorce your current spouse?
·      you could marry a potential mate from the past?
·      you could eliminate your current housing arrangement?
·      you could live in any kind of housing arrangement of your choosing?
·      you could become a vagabond and travel the country or world?
·      you could write a book?
·      you could live without any job?
·      you could start a business of your own?
·      you could eliminate one or more toxic relationships?
·      you could go anywhere in the world you want to go?
·      you could become physically fit?
·      you could lose a specific number of pounds?
·      you could eliminate a major health issue?
·      you could create an idea that would positively impact people?
·      you could downsize and eliminate all the stuff you don't need?
·      you could simplify your life and eliminate most complications?
·      you could economize and live comfortably on 20% of your current overhead?
·      you could work two days a week to support the other five days?

These what ifs are straight off the top of my head. Please feel free to add all your own what ifs to this list.

Dreaming Is Nice, But Now What?

Yes, dreaming is nice, but what ifs are just that, dreams. You're probably thinking I can't do any or all of my what ifs. Really? If you can ask yourself any of the what ifs in the list above or any of your own you added, why can't you do any or all of them? The only thing holding you back is yourself. Remember, everything in life is about choices and once you have a choice, you have to make a decision. You can decide to do something. You can decide not to do something. You can decide not to make a decision. But, not making a decision is actually a decision not to do something.

If you've decided you can't do one or more of your what ifs, then you can ask yourself another question. Why not?

Why can't you do one of your what ifs? Are you in debt and need to keep your current job to stay afloat? This is not necessarily true. If you take each part of the debt and break it down to smaller pieces, you may be able to find solutions to eliminate it. For example, you may also decide you want to simplify your life and economize. This could reduce your weekly, monthly and annual overhead leaving more funds to pay down your debt. Maybe you also have decided you want to downsize. This means you are going to sell, donate or in some manner eliminate a lot of stuff that you've been storing, but is no longer of value to you. This can generate more funds to pay off the debts and also allow you to move into a smaller, more economical housing arrangement. In analyzing your debt, you want to consider refinancing some or all of it into one or more loans with lower interest, thus, saving you even more money and allowing you to pay the debt off sooner. Even if you don't refinance, you want to pay down the loans with the highest interest rate first, again, saving you money.

So, maybe the ultimate what if is to leave a job, profession or occupation to move into something you will enjoy and receive great satisfaction from, but you can't afford to. However, if you make a plan to eliminate the "deal breaker," in this case, the debt. You may now see a path to turn several what ifs into realities.

What About Major Life Changing Events?

Remember, what ifs are speculation. You don't have to decide to implement a what if unless you can see how it can be done and will make the change you are seeking a reality.

Perhaps you and your spouse have been living a co-existence lifestyle, but not a real partnership with the love and affection you'd both like to realize. Sometimes long-term marital bliss is simply not in the stars. Just because you both felt it was right during the courting stage doesn't mean 5, 10, 20 or 30 years (or even more) later it's still the same. Some relationships grow stronger over time. Some just don't make that cut. Why should you both spend the rest of your life in a joyless bond and allow your priceless time to pass in a black and white, passionless relationship or worse, yet, in a confrontational relationship of constant conflict? What if you discussed separating with your spouse. You may both agree that, while it might be somewhat frightening to embark on a single life again, it could very likely be better than what you have?

Perhaps you're 65 or 70 years old and have completed a career. You're not ready to just sit on the porch in a rocking chair and wait for the Grim Reaper to visit. You've always wanted to be a counselor or an electrician or an accountant. You pick your interest. What if you go to school and earn a degree or another degree. There is no age limit on education. What if you'd like to do volunteer work and would like to join an organization like the Peace Corps or some similar organization. What's stopping you?

What If . . .

You could do or be anyone or anything you want to or could go or live anywhere you want to. What if you could live, as close to possible, the ideal life as you visualize it? What is stopping or holding you back?

What if you knew you could do anything you want to and couldn't fail? Is that a realistic expectation?

No! It's probably an unrealistic expectation. But, most what ifs are reasonable and the only person holding you back is yourself and your beliefs. I'm certainly not suggesting you simply make rash decisions. You can't make all these choices at one time. Life is a series of events and like most things, you need to create a list of priorities. If you're married and you have a great marriage, you need to learn about your spouse's what ifs and determine how many are the same and how many are compatible. You both need to buy into the choices and a plan to implement the choices. If you have children, your choices need to take them into consideration, too. Some of the what ifs may have to be put off until some future time.

The great thing about having personal freedom is that, within reason and a realistic timeline, most, if not all of your what ifs can become realities. You can ultimately live as near the most idealistic life you can speculate if you believe you can, make the decisions, build an action plan, and finally, activate that plan.

So, what if you list all your what ifs, determine if they are realistic possibilities and then . . . reach for the brass ring? Where will you be a month, six months, a year and five years from now? What if I say you can do it. Will you try? That's my challenge to you.

Share this article with others you know who are dealing with their own list of what ifs. If you're not a subscriber to the blog do so by email or RSS. Send a comment and let me know your biggest what ifs and what action you're going to take. Like the Living Free Facebook page. 

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