Maybe one of the biggest challenges to living the life of your dreams is trying to fit in with what everyone else is doing.

But if you walk down someone else’s path, you might not be walking down the path that’s right for you. You, in fact, might be setting your sights too low. Or not reaching for your full potential as a unique individual. And, worse, if you’re aiming for what other people are aiming for, you’ll feel like you are only going through the motions. You won’t have any excitement for what’s next. Your heart won’t be in it.

And, if your heart’s not in it, what’s the point?

When my husband and I first set out to find a path of abundance, we realized we were trying to do what was right for us while still continuing to please everyone around us. We were trying to do our own thing, it’s true, but we were also trying to fit in. But it soon became apparent that it doesn’t work that way. This is an all or nothing proposition. When we tried to do things our own way, while still trying to fit into our old culture, we were trying to squish our round peg thoughts into the square peg hole. Doing this gave us a very hefty dose of cognitive dissonance that was not good for either of us. Since then, we woke up and began to step even further away from cultural norms in order to do what makes more sense to US. This new way focuses on bringing more of the good stuff into our lives–more abundance, more passion, and more purpose–while gently letting go of convention.

But… the pull of culture is strong. And that annoying little voice still sometimes whispers little thoughts into my ear. “You can’t book those flights to Costa Rica because no one you know has ever flitted off for adventures like this before. Your Belize sabbatical was crazy enough but at least it was six months and out. You knew that checking into it. It was only ever supposed to be a one-time deal. A mid-life crisis kind of thing. Now just sit down, shut up, and do it like everyone else is doing it.”

The little voice is gentle and rational. (And just a little mean.) It lulls me into complacency with its sweet talk, albeit in a Mommy Dearest sort of way. “Enjoy the little moments and forget about the grand ones,” it says. “The devil is in the dream. Settle down and count the blessings you already have.”

But what if… I just ignore the little voice? Skip the conventional commitments that frequently don’t make sense to me, anyway? What if I am just free to be me, instead of the people around me? And deliberately create my own future?

If the What-If’s are possible, then the air is fairly shimmering with possibilities. Changes are all around me, pulsating, ready to manifest. The only thing holding me back is my own set of limiting beliefs. And old paradigms that sound ridiculous to my new ears.

It’s time to transcend the traditional way of thinking, in spite of the butterflies throwing a frat party in our bellies. Time to go our own way, despite the voices that say we should settle for what we have. It is now time to seek clarity regarding what is right for us, right now, right here, and stop worrying about fitting into the status quo. Today we will dance with those butterflies instead of ignoring them.

So if you’re looking for me or my family in January, when the snow is flying in our northwestern Pennsylvania hometown… I’ll be wearing flip flops, practicing my Spanish, teaching my kids about another culture, writing about abundance, doing yoga, and smiling Pura Vida just like the rest of the people in Costa Rica.