‘In the blink of an eye, we traded our passion for the typical American dream. The house, the yard, the white picket fence. We fell in step with everyone around us. Then, something changed.’

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“I read once that miracles happen when you start giving as much energy to your dreams as you do your fears. And I believe that! When my husband and I first met, we were fearless. So fearless that we once packed all our things and moved 500 miles across country with no real plan, just because we wanted a fresh start. Then we packed it all up and did it all over again just for a job opportunity. Later, we got married and had kids.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

The journey to our dreams has always been so exhilarating for us. There were struggles of course, but we enjoy the journey despite the difficulties.

I’m not sure when but, at some point, we started to become complacent. It seemed like in the blink of an eye we went from vehemently pursuing our passions to falling in step with everyone around us. You could say we started chasing the typical American dream rather than our own dreams. Looking back, I see that we traded our passion and our sense of adventure for comfort and security. We forgot that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay for the moment.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

It had always been our dream to sell our home and hit the road when my husband retired. However, it seemed we were spending all of our time waiting. Waiting for retirement age, waiting for the kids to grow up, waiting for the house to be paid off, waiting and more endless waiting. Among all the waiting there was never time to bring our beautiful dreams from our minds into our realities. Then something changed. With that change we were forced to acknowledge that time is a precious commodity.

My husband’s psoriatic arthritis became nearly unmanageable about three years ago. The injectable medications he had been using for more than a decade suddenly stopped working. Next came infusions with increasing frequency. Even with treatments, his condition had a major impact on his health and his overall physical ability. I watched a young, strong, firefighter start relying on a cane just to walk. He started having to miss work for several days each month because he was sick from the infusion treatments. The progression was so heartbreaking, and we started to feel defeated.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

Rather than continue to feel down, and to give up, we committed to each other and to ourselves to really start living! We decided right then and there that our waiting had finally come to an end. It was time to start chasing our dreams once again. This required making changes in everything we do, what we buy, and how we spend our time. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but it was going to be worth it. It came down to re-evaluating what value really meant to us. These things filling our lives with clutter were just that: things. Things that we ‘needed’ to take care of. The house and the yard and the white picket fence. However, these things were also a reminder of how hard of a toll his health was taking on our whole family.

This amazing man, remarkable husband, and devoted father was struggling to do the things the American dream expected of him, like tending the yard, and maintaining the car. None of them brought any actual value to our lives. They were just useless things whose only purpose was to help take care of the vision of a normal American life, which was not the life either of us wanted. We wanted to live and enjoy our lives, not just tend and take care.

We realized we would look back with regret if we didn’t go and do all the things we always wanted to do while he’s still physically able to do them! So, we put our house on the market and bought the RV we had always wanted. We sold absolutely everything we didn’t need and set out on our limitless adventure! It was time to live our dreams because the only things we can’t buy, borrow, or steal are time and good health.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn
Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

Daydreaming in silver and gold was no longer good enough, and we were ready to start painting our own beautiful world. Little did we know that there was someone about to come into our lives who would bring with her colors we never even imagined. She was the rainbow we didn’t even know we were missing, and her name was Codi. With her, our hearts and our family grew a little bigger. But that’s another story of how we embraced love, started to live our truth, and found a freedom that most people only dream of having!

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

She joined us on our journey of chasing dreams, and even now is chasing a new one of getting her master service technician certification, while also just starting out on making videos to teach others how to do all the amazing things she does. Our plan now is to love big, live small, and give more energy to those dreams than to all our old fears.

Speaking of conquering fears, since then, our journey has reached heights we hadn’t even imagined. We left the country for the first time, and even took a few flight lessons. It still blows my mind that I literally flew an airplane!

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn
Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

We have traveled more in three years than we had in the ten years prior to his health setbacks.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn
Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

My husband’s courage, passion, and love have inspired me to chase a few dreams of my own and I started writing. It’s something I have always wanted to do.

I’m not certain about a lot of things, but I am absolutely certain of one thing. At the end of my life, I will be able to say I really lived and truly loved with everything I had! To say I had courage.

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

I also hope I can say I inspired other people to do the same. To live fearlessly, to chase their dreams no matter the hurdles, and to love as passionately as they live.”

Courtesy of Jennifer Vaughn

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennifer Vaughn of Alabama. You can follow her journey on her blog here and Facebook here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more from Jennifer:

‘My husband told me he wasn’t upset, and suggested a ‘different’ kind of marriage. She ignited a fire within me. My mind was closed to the idea I could love more than one person. I worried I’d upset my children.’

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