“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

For half of my life I have had this dream of traveling to Italy with a loved one on my arm, strolling the Tuscany hillside, and connecting with my Italian heritage. There have been talks of this trip over the years, but, for whatever reason, it never panned out. While I have written in previous posts about not waiting until you’re “perfect” to start loving and appreciating yourself, I had another “aha! moment” recently.

We don’t need to wait for external circumstances to perfectly align in order to show up for the life we’ve been dreaming. 

It truly hadn’t occurred to me that I could go to Italy right now, by myself! Suddenly, it seemed silly to wait for the possibility of meeting a mystery person with whom I could share the journey. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. And, rather than feeling sorry for myself that my life isn’t exactly the way the dream portrayed it, I felt empowered and grateful to see the opportunities that are actually present. I wasn’t comparing (and despairing) myself with the idyllic dream; I was using what was important about the dream—the essence of it—to inform my decisions. I want to experience travel, adventure, culture, history, family, and beauty. Just because one piece of the pie (romance) is missing, doesn’t mean I can’t experience the rest of it.

I posted on my personal Facebook page that I had made the decision to go to Italy by myself, and the comments and personal messages I received were inspiring, encouraging, and powerful. People told me of the life changing, solo trips they had taken. Others shared that they felt they had waited too long to make similar dreams come true and ultimately missed the opportunity. The overarching message was, “Don’t Wait.”

I encourage you to stop and think about the dreams you’ve been carrying around for half of your life.

Are you waiting for a future version of yourself or your circumstances to change before making those dreams a reality?

Are you waiting to be thin before you go to the gym?

Are you waiting for extra money to give you permission?

Are you waiting for someone else to make your dreams possible?

What if you made yourself and your dreams a priority right now?

You might find that there are still some obstacles in the way, but truth be told, there will always be obstacles. Our dreams don’t highlight all of the hurdles that real life requires, but we don’t have to let the hurdles become barriers.

I hope you will take the time to seriously consider these questions and post in the comments section how you are going to start living the life you’ve been dreaming. Let’s encourage one another not to wait. We don’t want it to be too late.

Ingrid Mathieu, PhD is a psychotherapist and author of Recovering Spirituality. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.