Lisa J Smith Color Headshot

Lisa J. Smith – California!

You have to do the work

When I was about five or six, I used to watch the TV show Three’s Company. I used to think, ‘Where is this place where you can ride your bike along the beach?’ I lived in the Detroit area and I loved the show because I wanted to be just like them. Since then, I always wanted to live in California. Some friends moved there and I would make frequent visits.

What made you decide to finally realize your lifelong dream?

Ten years ago after my many California visits, I decided I was not coming back unless I could live there. Ten days after my daughter graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, she and her boyfriend moved to Los Angeles. When I went to visit her, I was a little jealous but I knew her moving to California led the way for me to move there.

Since my desire to move when I was a young girl, it took getting a divorce, my daughter graduating from college and stress from my ex-husband not wanting me to leave to finally realize my dream of living in California. It took risking everything.

What were the specific obstacles that you faced?

Nobody believed in me. I had no money. The logistics of moving. When you do something like this in your 40s, it’s different than when you’re in your 20s. I left my 19-year-old autistic son in Detroit. I also left my parents and friends. I left everything I knew, including an ex-husband to whom I was married for 20 years. I thought, ‘What would people think if I failed?’

The biggest obstacle was leaving my son.

What helped you get through them?

My determination. It was just knowing that I do not believe in coincidences. Everything lined up. No matter how hard something is, it’s meant to be. It’s bigger than me. If you wait 40 plus years for something to happen and it lines up, you have to go.

I also surrendered and learned the word ‘acceptance.’ I started to believe that maybe I will have to live here (Michigan). This is where I grew up. It was hard. If this is what’s meant to be, I let go of the resistance and everything fell into place.

When you let go, what you want can manifest quicker. When you hold on and squeeze, it can’t create.

In The Secret it says if we want a red bike you will get the red bike. You can put it out there, but you also have to do something …you have to do the work. I kept the energy going toward my desire to live in California. I kept moving toward it thinking somehow, some way, I will do whatever it takes for me to get there. Instead of just thinking about it, I still had to do the work to make it happen.

Were there people that tried to discourage you?

I became a joke. ‘Sure…you’re going to move to California.’ I talked about it for so long. I finally made it happen after so many years.

How did you feel when you finally accomplished your lifelong dream?

I did not feel like I was in my body. I didn’t feel as though it was really happening. When you finally get what you always wanted…what do you do? It’s an adjustment. California compared to where I lived in Michigan is super expensive, it’s like another country. It’s weird. Living in California is different from visiting. In Michigan, my parents were always a couple of miles away. All of a sudden, who do I spend Christmas with?

I have said, ‘I made it, I did what I set out to do.’ I did it with struggles, obstacles and what seemed like everyone against me. I can now go anywhere in the world. I know that I did this, I’m good. A year later, my son moved to California too, so it all worked out for everyone.

The dream couldn’t have come a day sooner or it wouldn’t have been as fulfilling.

What advice would you give to others who are contemplating finally living their dream?

Don’t give up. It might look different than you thought. Be flexible. Just because it looks different, it doesn’t mean it’s not your dream. Be patient. You have to be aware, open, flexible, and you have to do the work. You have to be prepared for when it does happen. You will never be totally prepared for your dream. There’s always the other side which is equally or more important than the dream.

Find out more about Lisa here.

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