When I was a little girl I had a pet hamster named Peanut. His fluffy fur was a mix of caramel and white and my favorite thing to do with him was to put him into the clear hamster ball and send him running around the kitchen. I loved Peanut and my heart was broken the day I came home from school to find his life was over. Peanut Jr was the next hamster in a long line of furry rodent pets, but one thing remained constant; the hamster ball.
Fast forward twenty years to the first time I brought home a hamster for my own kids. ‘Chippy’ was my daughter’s first beloved hamster. This time, however, we had a hamster wheel in the cage. I hated that wheel. It squeaked incessantly, and the worst part was that Chippy loved to run at night. Needless to say a solution was necessary. It wasn’t the one I expected. My daughter decided Chippy needed to be free so she would let him out to run freely in the house. We found that hamster everywhere; in the piano strings, behind the fridge, under the beds and in the toy box. I can only imagine that his life experience was expanded beyond his wildest dreams. So long hamster wheel, Hello life!
Too often, this parallels our own story.
We used to dream and play when we were younger. Not just little dreams, but big dreams of doing amazing things, conquering mountains, stopping just shy of changing the world. What happened? Marriage, kids, bills, jobs, illness, injury, grief, pain and a host of other dreamstealers. The result? Our dreams started to die and we found ourselves on the proverbial hamster wheel squeaking out our existence in the darkness of night. But every once in a while we heard a story of someone who dared to run through the house, escaping and exploring; recapturing a dream, shattering an obstacle or overcoming an illness and something stirred inside us.
Hello life? Do we dare to dream again?
You’re not too old.
It’s not too late.
Yes, it might be hard and yes it will be challenging. Of course 'there's no time'. There never is. It will be uncomfortable and you’re schedule might have to change a little or lot. You might have to change some habits. Quit smoking, cut down on junk food, make that appointment, go to bed earlier, shut off the phone, take a class, hire a coach or simply buy a new pair of shoes and take a walk each day.
Somebody do this. Dream big and dream often and if your dream seems easy, maybe it’s not big enough. Its time to change your life and when you do you will inspire others to do the same.
In my office hangs a poster of Cody McCasland. Cody has been on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Oprah, and Dateline, to name a few. He has run in marathons and triathlons. He’s met people like astronauts, Olympic athletes, Paralympic athletes, professional football players, and race car drivers. When you see this little boy being interviewed, his great big smile and contagious laughter draw you instantly to him. The fact that he is a double amputee that walks on two carbon blades is quickly forgotten. By all appearances, you would never know that when this little boy was born, his parents were told to say their goodbyes because their newborn baby would never make it through the first 24 hours of his life.
His life inspires others everyday and so can yours.
Peanut, Chippy and hamsters everywhere love the wheel. But isn’t there more for you and me? The fact is, the hamster wheel stands ready every day. In fact it has come to represent the new American way of living, but I’m telling you if you get on it and start running, it will kill your dream.
Ditch the wheel.
Ditch. The. Wheel.
Dream big. Dream often.
It’s time to be free.
Authors note: I want to hear your stories. If this inspires you to dream again, please send me your stories so I can celebrate with you.
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Simply put, I love life. I love the body, all things healthy, all types of movement and a good belly laugh. My hope is to share some of my experience and knowledge with you so that you can love YOUR life and be an influencer of others.
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Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller