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The meaning of “dreaming small”

Retired Couple Drinking WineIn March, I addressed preparing for retirement, but not from a financial stand point. Rather, I wrote about addressing what one might do to prepare for retirement mentally and physically. I created a checklist for finding purpose and meaning in retirement, including engaging socially, finding new interests, learning new things, and maintaining your exercise and physical health.

Finding purpose in retirement can be a struggle

I had some interesting — and fun — conversations with people on this topic after that post! More than one person commented that it really resonated with them. One common question I was asked: “how do I find something purposeful to do?” While the seven points I made a few months ago offered what I thought was a good starting point, my in-depth conversations showed me that this was a struggle for many people.

I concluded that, for some folks, the difficulty may come from searching for purpose — or just something to do — on a very large scale. This is understandable. Often these folks retired from a field where things were indeed done on a very large scale.

Woman Thinking About RetirementWhat it means to “dream small”

Let’s look at a smaller scale. Sometime ago, I heard a song on the radio. The name of the song is “Dream Small,” by artist Josh Wilson. Here’s one of the verses:

“It’s visiting the widow down the street. / Or dancing on a Friday with your friend with special needs. 

These simple moments change the world / Of course, there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams.

Just don’t miss the minutes on your way, your bigger things, no / ‘Cause these simple moments change the world.”

I did a Google search for what may have inspired Josh Wilson to write “Dream Small.” I found a video where he introduced us to a neighbor – Jay – one of the inspirations of the song.

Josh explains: “Jay is one of those people because this song is all about the little things, the small acts of love and kindness that actually add up to big things over time.” Jay is an individual who has challenges of his own, but he doesn’t let them hold back his acts of kindness. He helps people in his neighborhood with many little things that add up to big things.

Through a Magnifying GlassLittle things add up to big things, and purpose

I think we can all think of something that someone helped us with in our life that made a huge impact. When later you thanked that person, they may have said something like “oh, it’s nothing.” To the person who offered the help, it may not have felt like a big deal… but it gives them purpose to do good for others. Sometimes overcomplicating things can make it harder to find the path you need.

So, as a financial advisor, this is one time I can give you advice that, I assure you, offers great rewards with ZERO downside risk. Here’s that advice:

  1. Listen to the song, and Josh’s interview with Jay.
  2. Dream Small, in your own way.

May 2019

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