Is This The Life Of Your Dreams?

By the time you’re reading this, chances are I’m three hours deep making lattes for people who’s names I may never know, but who’s drinks I have memorized.
Triple Grande Soy Latte

Iced Double Tall Mocha

Triple Venti Nonfat Caramel Macchiato

Yes, that’s right. This is me over here. Living the dream.

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t really see myself working at Starbucks at 29 years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with Starbucks. I mean, I worked in food service for years to help pay my way through college, and Starbucks is actually one of the best companies I’ve worked for in terms of how they treat employees and customers.

There’s nothing wrong with my job. It’s just…

I have a Master’s Degree.

I’m almost 30 years old.

I have “things” that I want to do with my life, and gifts I believe God has given me that I want to put to use.

Is this the life of my dreams?

Not exactly.

If you’re anything like me, you graduated college and had a really idealistic picture of how your life was going to work. You’d done your homework, gotten your degree, and this was it.

Now it was time for life to start.

The only problem is, that didn’t happen. Not for me anyway.

I spent the first couple of years just waiting for the “job of my dreams” to come to me. I figured it would show up on my doorstep or something. I prayed a lot about it, but I didn’t do very much about it, and surprise surprise — not very much happened.

Two years out of college I was basically just wandering around, doing nothing.

I decided one day that the waiting had to end. So I planned this epic road trip with my best friend. We quit our full-time jobs and drove across the country for six months, visiting all 50 states.

We carped the diem like nobody’s business. It was awesome.

But at the end of it all, nothing was that much different. You know? My life felt pretty much the way that it did before.

Was I missing something?

I don’t think that living the “life of your dreams” is as dreamy as we think it is. Or, maybe it is in a way, but not in the way that we expect it to be when we graduate from college.

This is it. This is the life of my dreams. Right now. Today.

Here’s why.

My work doesn’t define me. I might work with kids, make lattes, or design websites but no matter what I do, it isn’t the whole of who I am. Besides, I have all kinds of opportunities to make an impact on the people around me.

These people. Not other, nicer, cooler people. The ones right in front of me.

Making an impact will probably take more than just a passing thought or a nice idea about them. It will require action, which will also probably mean time, energy and (heaven forbid) even money.

Also, guess what? I’m not going to work at Starbucks forever.

Not by a long shot. In fact, I’d be disappointed with myself if I was working at Starbucks in five years. That’s not a slam against Starbucks, or the people who work there.

It’s a statement about the trap of “comfort” and how easy it is for us to “settle” for jobs or relationships or living situations that make us comfortable, when all along, growth and opportunity are waiting for us just around the corner. We just have to be willing to get a little messy.

Life is full of seasons. Don’t resent your season.

Embrace it. Learn what it has to teach you. Then, reach for your next thing.

This is the life of your dreams.

Okay, your turn. What’s the “life of your dreams’? What’s stopping you from living it?

24 comments on “Is This The Life Of Your Dreams?

  1. This post came at such a good time…I’m currently job hunting and wondering if it’s going to work out. If it does, I (hopefully!) get to live the dream of working in Paris. If it doesn’t, I leave France after 10 months here and go back to the UK…with no idea what to do. It’s hard to trust God that He’s got it all as I am so desperate to stay here!

  2. […] “I spent the first couple of years just waiting for the ‘job of my dreams’ to come to me. I figured it would show up on my doorstep or something. I prayed a lot about it, but I didn’t do very much about it, and surprise surprise — not very much happened.” Is This the Life of Your Dreams? […]

  3. I am living the life I dreamed about and I am finding it is not what I imagined. It is thrilling, but also very real. Real is not glamorous; in fact it is often loud and messy. I am not my job or the things I write on my blog. I am a child of God who has been given much.

  4. I needed to read this. I might need to print it so I can see it all the time.
    I’ve been at my current job much longer than I ever thought. “My work doesn’t define me.” is something I have to remind myself all the time. I’ve been looking for full time work for more than a year now. I often think how my resume looks does define me. Every time I apply for a job I think if it will make me happy, even if the answer has been “I don’t know” I still put in an application. It’s hard for me to define what the life of my dreams looks like because I know what I want but there are things I need, and the two don’t often go together.

    Have you gotten you pin yet? I had a housemate that use to work at Starbucks. She can tell you what kind of coffee someone was drinking just by walking past them. It’s like a superpower.

    • Sarah — haha, I don’t think I’ve acquired that superpower yet. Maybe a few more months and I’ll get it down.
      Hang in there with your job. I know the feeling. But don’t be afraid to push forward, either. The things you WANT are not an accident. We don’t always get what we want, but our deepest wants are intentional. They’re put there to get us to go after something.

      Don’t ignore your wants, just because you might not get all of them.

  5. This is exactly how I’ve felt at several points in my life. Like, “Ok, life’s gonna start any minute now.” I’m gonna be 29 in two weeks, and I too don’t see myself at Starbucks. But who knows? Maybe that’s the transitional job that God has for me as I pursue my dream of game design. Thanks for the post and encouragement, Ally!

  6. As of one year ago, I quit my full-time job, moved across the country for 4 months, only to move back to MN and work at a coffee shop and golf course for the last year. It’s no where near what I wanted to be doing, but God worked out it pretty well considering I’m a full-time Wedding blogger now. Everything for a time and a season is right. Sometimes those seasons that require us to make crabby people’s coffee are the ones where we find the most joy.

  7. Such a great post, Ally, and speaking directly to what Matt and I are going through right now. It sucks to realize that we’re not really living the dream like we had imagined, and yet it’s what God has given us today and we should be thankful for it, and be willing to learn from it. Thanks for such a positive and honest post, friend.

    • Bethany — I was thinking of you guys when I posted this. Especially because it has such a similar feel to your story on Prodigal today.
      Good to know we’re not alone in our seasons.

    • Cross-country moves are the scariest, and the best. I’m proud of you for taking the risk. You’ll never regret it.
      My prayers are with you. You have a season of huge growth coming up!

  8. I called my season of college “the wilderness” it took me 6 years to get an associates degree because of so many reasons some out of my control. I thought I was NEVER going to graduate. Finally did and now i dont even know what to do. Im just sitting here waiting for a “dream job” to call me. 🙂 But Im also learning the secret from Philippians 4:11-13
    “11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

    What I have learned this last month not being in school is God is enough. Materialistic things are not my only source of happiness. I didn’t in a million years think that my first week of being married I would be depending on JUST GOD. All I know in this new season is that I have an awesome husband of one week, I finally have a degree, and my God is enough.

    Great Post Ally! Im glad we can all share through this and we are not alone! 🙂

  9. Great thoughts! If we see life as something that’s happening right now instead of something that will happen in the future, we’ll make the choices that count earlier. Yesterday I did a review on my blog for an ebook by Jeff Goins, and I themed my post around embracing and investing in what God has for us right now. Cool to see the parallels that you shared!
    Camden

    Ephesians 5:15-17
    Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

  10. I so needed to read this today! I am also a fellow Starbucks barista even though I have much bigger dreams for my life. I want to be working in a non-profit for social justice or being a missionary overseas, but also trying to be responsible and pay down the school debt I have from my Master’s.
    When I first started at Starbucks, God really had to humble me in my attitude of working a minimum wage job with a Master’s degree. I literally had to pray everyday for a good attitude, and still do sometimes. Now, He has shown me that my mission field is where I’m at. My day consists of trying to bring joy to others, even through coffee or frappuccinos. Even if it’s just one smile, remembering someone’s name and order, or just giving them directions somewhere. One of my best days was when an older lady who comes in regularly told me “It’s the best part of my day to come in here and see your sweet smile”. I’m always thankful for the days when the good customers outnumber the bad ones, which is often.

    God is faithful, so everyday, I am trying to be faithful where He has me, knowing He has more planned.

  11. Great post. I’m coming up on a year out of work and trying to write while hoping that something comes of the job applications and interviews…and I should know by now that life rarely turns out as we think it’s “supposed to”, but I still think from time to time that it would be nice. Thanks for the reminder that I can be doing a lot right now, right where I am.

  12. “Life is full of seasons. Don’t resent your season.” So good.
    There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity
    under heaven:
    a time to weep alone and a time to laugh together,
    a time to graduate and a time to take that first class,
    a time to work in a cubicle and a time to light it on fire,
    a time when God seems so close and a time He seems so far.

    He has made everything beautiful in its time.

  13. This spoke right to my heart. I had both my first day of training at Starbucks and my first day of grad school this week. As excited as I am to make people’s lives better even for a few minutes as they get their caffeine fix for the day, I’m already. Beginning to feel restless in what I thought was a time of waiting. Thanks for the reminder to look around at the everyday people around me and seek to have an impact on them now, not just one day when I’m owning my own counseling practice and really helping people with real problems. Everyone is fighting a great battle, right?

  14. This is why I hate TV shows that paint an unrealistic picture of what success should look like. Somehow pop culture has propagated the lie that self-worth is defined with the kind of job that you have or how much $$$ you have in your bank account. After ending up in a dead-end, low-paying, clerical work, I feel duped and felt that I have chased the dreams that conform to what society expects of me, and sadly not that of God’s plan for me. This is why my current mantra these days is Romans 12:2 (Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….) I simply realized that chasing the dreams of this world is like chasing wind and that it never satisfies.

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