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How to Get Over Your Excuses to Follow a Dream. Excuse #3

This is part of a 5 blog series telling you my top five excuses…..

If you’ve ever wondered, here “could I leave my job and travel for a year?” The answer is if I can, you can. Most who know me would call me practical, predictable, even. I had many excellent reasons not to pack my bags and go.

Excuse #1 I can’t afford a trip

Excuse #2: I won’t find a job upon my return.

My sister, dad, and I

????Excuse #3: I have too many responsibilities at home.

For a 32 year old without kids, I have been handed a surprising amount of responsibility. Five years ago, my mother passed away unexpectedly  of a heart attack. Since then, my father has suffered from multiple strokes and was recently diagnosed with dementia.

My sister and I are my dad’s primary caretakers. We’ve adjusted our lives to prioritize his health. At various points, both my sister and I have lived with my father in order to take care of him. When his needs exceeded our capabilities, we moved him to a senior assisted living facility where professionals could ensure his safety.

Still, taking care of our dad is a full time job. We manage his finances, coordinate his doctors appointments, and oversee his team of caregivers. How could I possibly leave my dad? Given the circumstances, I asked myself over and over again whether our year-long trip was too selfish. Didn’t I owe my dad everything I could provide?

I told Jenni that we should wait to travel until my dad became more stable. He has steadily crept into permanent instability and varies from good days to bad days. Doctors tell us that he could live 2, 5, or 10 more years. The excuse of putting off the trip grew into waiting until our unborn children were older. I saw the excuse of responsibility snowballing into waiting until my retirement.

My dad's 62nd birthday this February

I thought of what my mother would say to me. My mom never retired. She died at age 56. She had traveled and lived for long periods in three different countries. She would have urged me to go.

Then I thought about what my dad would say to me, and I figured he would urge my to stay..

To my surprise, my father instead encouraged me to seize the opportunity.  He supported our bold idea and told me to take advantage of my youth. Funny, because I didn’t feel very youthful. Since losing my parents, I felt like a 50-year old woman taking care of my aging father. As soon as he gave the approval for the trip, the weight of responsibility shifted off my shoulders and I started to act my age again.

I would love to hear comments…

What responsibilities in relationships keep you from your dreams? How would a loved one truly react if you were honest with them?

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3 Responses

  1. Oh Lisa, I’m so glad that your Dad encouraged you. Reading this article of course brought tears to my eyes. I love the pictures of you and Karen with your Dad. I wish you the very best.

  2. While reading Excuse #3 I could feel your inner conflict. I couldn’t help but think about when my dad died 3 years ago and the pressure I felt to make sure my mom’s needs were always looked after. I think that this struggle effects a lot of people our age especially if we don’t have children! It’s a tough place to be in, but I’m inspired by your decision 🙂

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