Designing your life. What does that even mean? For starters, you have to be at a certain spot in your life to do this. This doesn’t mean you need all the money or the status or live in a certain area but you do need to have your basics covered to even start designing your life.
Psychology 101 refresher – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
This theory of motivation states that in order for anyone to progress to the next level, the one before it must be at least be minimally met (particularly those first two). My point is that you can’t start designing your life if your basic needs of food, water, shelter and safety aren’t met.
Okay enough school, break for story-time.
I grew up in a pretty common middle class, white family in the suburbs of Denver (with the note that my parents got divorced when I was 6 and my mom has always been a vocal feminist). Both of my parents had/have traditional 9am-5pm jobs and I was very much socialized to believe that school was essential for my future success.
I always assumed that I’d get married, have one of those traditional jobs which met some of my needs but sorta hated it too and maybe have a couple of kids and a house. I’d save up to take one or two vacations a year, have a few close friends and find a spouse who loved to cook since I hate it (winning there)!
I followed this trajectory closely. I knew I wanted to be a social worker since I was 16 and worked at a camp for kids with disabilities. I met my husband halfway through college but knew that I would have to get my master’s in social work for me to be competitive in that field. We moved to Portland after college and I got my Masters at the age of 23, getting married later that year.
My husband grew up similarly, except in a big fancy house on a lake in Houston and his parents have been lifelong entrepreneurs.
Neither way is right or wrong, merely different.
I’d always assumed that ‘designing your life’ meant that you could pick what college to attend, what career path to take and where you might put roots down.
To him, ‘designing your life’ meant literally putting pen to paper and drawing out exactly how you wanted to spend your time, your money, your days to the point of making it all up and figuring out how to do it.
My mind sometimes still has a hard time wrapping itself around this because it deeply screams “But what about security?! What about safety?! What about credentials?! WHAT ABOUT THE PLAN, CHELSEA?!”
After he won the World Championship of Public Speaking in 2012, which I coached him through, our lives changed. I had a glimpse into what it could mean to design our lives together. To be intentional in the choices we make, to push back against the status-quo and the life I’ve been groomed to live and want.
Designing your life doesn’t mean it’s all sexy and work from the beach (laptops overheat, ya know). We have a lot to our story but we started designing our life by quitting our secure, somewhat satisfying jobs, leaving the city we adored, selling everything that wouldn’t fit into our Camry…to move into my in-laws’ house in the suburbs of Houston. All of this in the name of starting our own business!
Ryan/Ravery/My Boo/My Husband has spent most of our 12 years together showing me that we can live whatever life we desire and we do indeed get to design it.
When traveled to do keynotes and deliver workshops last year through Australia and New Zealand, we felt a strong pull to come back. My main reason? You can actually get a latte with ‘lactose-free milk’ not simply soy or almond milk but the real, creamy, delicious Lactaid milk! Oh right and the people are so friendly and funny and that accent though *swoooon
Because of my unlearning and relearning intensely over these last few years about the life I truly desire to be living, I, Chelsea Turner Avery, blurted out
“What if we live in Australia for a while next year?”
Yes, anxiety-ridden, security loving, follow the plan and path set forth, mother of a two-year old (and not pregnant when I said it but expecting I hopefully would be by then) ME…said those words.
How amazing it is that our brains our malleable and have the ability to change and adapt based on our lifestyle and environment?
In less than a month, my husband, me and our 2.5 year old daughter will
set sail classily fly to the land down under! We will be there for almost 6 weeks! While it continues to snow in Colorado, we will be hanging out on the coast of Sydney, Australia, where it’s their summer!
THIS. THIS is what designing your life can look like. THIS is what designing your life can mean. It’s not easy. It would be much simpler for us to stay home and not deal with a very independent two year old on a 19 hour journey one way. It would be way less expensive to live in the house we pay our monthly mortgage on than it is to rent out a little beachy cottage (wait until you see it – it’s so damn charming)! There’s been other challenges with figuring out how to make all this work but we are doing it.
I distinctly remember sitting on Manly Beach (yes really the name and yes where we will be temporarily living) and we started to design how our 2019 would look and how to make Australia a reality.
Maybe you’re already a rockstar at designing your life or maybe you’re like me and have a hard time wrapping your head around truly living the life you want to be living and doing so daily. You’re not alone and it is possible!
Our minds continually have the ability to shift and change until the day we die. They do so by surrounding yourself with inspiring people who lift you up, unlearning old patterns of thinking and taking actionable steps towards new ways of thinking and living.
We get one shot at this life, are you designing the life you want to be living?