Live Happy

Whose Dream Are You Living?

By September 11, 2016January 25th, 201810 Comments

Kevin Bulmer Lyric Slide: Living the DreamEven though I live in Canada, there is a very common phrase or thought in this part of the world called,  “the American Dream.” It’s also referred to as “living the dream.” For as long as I can remember, it has just been an accepted way of thinking and measuring your progress in your life versus this imaginary barometer. And at some point in your life, you may look around and realize that you are living “the dream.” But the question is, whose dream are you living?

Writing “The Script” ...

Just the other day, my oldest son completed grade 7. He’s a straight-A student in a very challenging school. It will be another full year before he completes elementary school and graduates. And yet, for at least the last 6 months, he has come to me at various times to tell me that he feels a lot of stress in considering what high school he is going to go to. He feels anxious about the fact that he “doesn’t yet know what he wants to do.” And he seems to feel as if he should know already how the rest of his life is going to unfold and that it is wrong if he does not.

I’m glad that he would bring this to my attention. But my honest first reaction to it was … Really!?! Are we still stuck on that same old script? Do we still instill in our children the idea of trying to make a decision about the rest of their life at a time when they have basically no life experience and almost no context of who they are going to be and what they may find fulfilling? And then, we expect them to follow the path of:

The Blueprint of a Dream?

1. Go to school
2. Get a job
3. Get married
4. Buy a house
5. Have a couple of kids
6. Work until you’re 65
7. Retire and live happily ever after.

How’s that script been working out for us in recent generations?

Do you know who you really are?

Kevin Bulmer with his son, Eddie

With my son, Eddie

I am much less interested in my son learning algorithms and textbook facts then I am in him understanding emotional maturity, awareness, mindfulness, compassion and empathy. I’d like him to know how following the same old script that we seem to have set out for ourselves for generations has landed so many people into despair, depression, addiction and unhappiness in general.

There is great value in traditional education, of course! One must know how to read and write and sharpen certain areas of interest as they go forward. It’s beneficial to acquire the habit of learning, study and application. But in my opinion, it’s just as necessary – perhaps more so – to start trying to understand who you really are, and how to honour and nurture that. It’s not as obvious a task as it would seem.

Most people I know in their middle ages and beyond are either still trying to figure it out, or have not even had it occur to them to try. So they keep buying and acquiring, or praying for a lottery win, or anything that will make this “dream” they’ve already achieved more enjoyable. Or tolerable.

So I invite you, have a look around. And tell me, in your opinion … how are we doing?

Perhaps you are among those who have followed those earlier steps exactly and are perfectly happy and content with your life. If so, terrific!! I’m happy for you and wish you further health and contentment. But if you are like me, and you spent a good part of your life doing all of the things that you thought you were supposed to do, or that you should do and found you are not only unhappy, but on the verge of despair that you were never going to live the life that you imagined for yourself when you were younger, then this is an exercise for you.

Ask the question. Stay open to answers …

Have you ever considered what you would really most like to do and be? This is a much deeper question than asking for a sudden accomplishment or windfall. It involves quieting all of the noise that goes on with life and really hearing yourself and tapping into what’s important to you. These things are often much different than the memories that we have or the programs that we associate with how we think things are supposed to be.

What really matters to you? If you are interested and exploring that, my advice is to start by getting willing and inviting the answers. Start by asking the universe (or God, or whomever or whatever you believe in) those questions. I know, that may sound odd at first. But what you are looking to do is to tap into an intelligence and energy larger than yourself. The answers will come, but you may need to give it time. And you won’t get an answer to a question that has not yet been asked. So ask it. Be open to receiving the answers, because when they start to come, they may be different than you thought they’d be. That’s most certainly what has happened to me.

Another thing you can do is take the time to recognize and appreciate the dreams you’ve already lived, for proof that dreams do become true. Take a look at the video above for examples of that.

Getting Quiet …

Stillness - a photo of waterI strongly suggest looking into and applying meditation of any form. For me, I found that a guided meditation was very helpful to get me started with the practice. I found it easier to follow along with sounds or someone’s voice than to just sit with all of the dizziness in my head. YouTube is an incredible resource in this regard.

One particular meditation that I can recommend personally is the Ideal Life by Jason Stephenson. The idea of meeting up with and talking to your future self is very powerful. You can enjoy it for free on his YouTube channel here and if you find it helpful, you can purchase the mp3 download directly ($4.99) at this link to easily put it on your iPod or mp3 player to have it handy.

I also find this meditation by Jennifer Farmer to be entirely calming and helpful. If you look around and try some out, you’ll find what’s right for you. But you have to start looking.

It took me about 40 years to figure out that the “dream” I was chasing (and achieved) felt a lot more like a nightmare to me. I was not happy, and didn’t even realize it. And because I’d followed “the script,” I felt that there must be something wrong with me. Perhaps there was (or is), but I can tell you without hesitation that I am much happier and healthier now than I have ever been.

Dreaming Big? Great! Please Let Me Know

What are your dreams? What are some of the things that you do to stay in touch with yourself and stay on track with pursuing what’s important to you? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel welcome to comment below.

By all means, go ahead and live the dream of your choosing. Just make sure that it’s your dream you’re living, and not one that was set out for you.


  • Nancy says:

    Wow, Kevin! I love that you are willing to step outside the box, and live life on your own terms. Too many times, people are guided by fear: of ridicule, failure, success. Because of this, we miss out on amazing opportunities, and pass up once in a lifetime deals, because we’re too afraid to act.
    I say, “Live fearless! Tomorrow is not promised!”

    Good luck to you, friend.

    • Kevin says:

      Thank you, Nancy! I didn’t always see it this way. Live and learn. So I figured I’d try the second 40 years a little different than the first 🙂
      Best wishes

  • sandra says:

    I love the name of your website and this article. I don’t know who came up with the rules and qualifications for the American dream. It’s not my dream! I have done most of that and that path was not for me. I always knew I didn’t want kids and that was not believed in the past. “You’ll change your mind”. I never did! I went to Grad school, got married, bought a great house, got a related job…Got laid off, got divorced, moved into an apartment, got another related job… Now I am happier than I was before, quit working the traditional type of job and enjoying life!

    • Kevin says:

      Good for you, Sandra! No one else can define what’s right for you. Only you can possibly know that. I applaud your self-awareness and am really pleased to hear that you feel so content with yourself. Wonderful! I wish you only more of the same, and all the best of health and happy times.
      Thank you for your very kind words. I’m grateful.
      Best wishes,

  • Andrea says:

    Wow this post was amazing , a total eye-opener.

    I think the best way to live is to really know who you are and set goals based upon yourself as a being,

    In these times there are too many things imposed by the society that makes people just not be themselves and unhappy.

    Great , and well done for sharing my friend.


    • Kevin says:

      Thanks Andrea. I very much appreciate the kind words. And I agree with you that the part about “really knowing who you are” has to come before setting the goals … otherwise you end up chasing what you think you should be be, do or have, and end up frustrated and sick, or worse. I know that from experience. Embracing yourself and your path both as being unique is a better way.
      Thanks for your comments!
      Be well,

  • Hari says:

    What a thought provoking question “whose dreams are you living”, all that you have said, I can relate to that.

    The blueprint that we are given by the society, it is very hard to go against that, I know that by experience.

    Doing things according to that blueprint gives you “a well paid job, a beautiful wife and loving children, all that you need, it is safe and it is the known path” ..

    Really??? many people have really had that?.. Yet we blindly follow what is told!

    For years, I tried to “fit in” but then I left my qualifications and “dreams” behind to choose a new path because I knew that those dreams where not my dreams, the true one is ingrained in my system and that is to help people to realize their true potential.

    Finally, I would to say Kevin “Your kid is really very lucky to have a parent like you”.

    • Kevin says:

      Those are terrific insights, Hari. Thank you for taking the time to sharing them. I also am now able to see that I gave up on my dreams at a very early age so that I could focus more on what I felt I was “supposed” to do. I don’t blame anyone for that – it was my choice. But it took me about 35 years before I realized I was chasing someone else’s dreams: it didn’t resonate with me. It wasn’t who I was. And I needed to figure out what that meant, and that’s quite a process, but so very worthwhile.

      Thanks also for your very kind remarks about me & my son. I’m lucky to be his dad. I learn from him just as he learns from me. But your words are very thoughtful & kind. Thank you.

      Be well,


  • Xulfeh says:

    Hello Kevin,

    Love the article. Can relate to it so much, to be honest it’s something I think about almost everyday, especially when i’m driving to and from my full time job.

    It’s as if we were told what to do and how to live from a very young age; well we actually were. But you get to a stage in life when you look back and think what a load of tosh.

    It takes a lot of courage to get away from that and do your own thing; unfortunately most of us aren’t willing to take that risk out of a fear of what will happen financially if we do.

    Think it’s great to encourage people to take that step. Good job.

    • Kevin says:

      HI Xulfeh,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can relate to everything you said. Thanks also for your encouraging words.

      Wishing you well!


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