There is an empty brick house at the top of a hill in Morrison, CO. Take a left out of the driveway, and you are already ascending the Mt. Falcon hiking trail. It’s for sale, and as I stroll by, I see myself adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls and canceling my gym membership now that I get all of my exercises on the mountain. I want to step out my door, smell the juniper and pinion, connect with the earth, and calm my mind. It’s tempting. If I could, I’d start each day this way. 

But then I remember that I’m tired of getting honked at, tired of planning my day around traffic. I feel the crush of people everywhere I go these days. Denver has exploded since pot was legalized. The more people, the colder and more impersonal it feels here. I remember I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to live somewhere smaller, calmer, and saner. But which place is the right place for me? Will I like it? Will my partner find work there? Will I miss Denver? Will I regret making the jump?

This is the tyranny of almost. You know where your heart is calling you. The message is clear. Perhaps you have the privilege and the resources to make your dream come true. But following your heart is challenging and frightening, and it would be much more comfortable staying put or settling for something less bold. Some options offer part of what you want with less fear and uncertainty. So you settle for almost.

Sometimes settling is a good thing. As a perfectionist, I am a fan of the mantra, “Good enough.” But what I have witnessed working with successful but unhappy clients is that a life of almost leads to depression, numbness, and the question, “Is this as good as it gets?” A habit of almost keeps us from experiencing the happiness of alignment. The joy of being aligned isn’t dependent on our life situation, our accomplishments, or our possessions. It comes from living authentically. Settling for almost sends a message to the universe and to ourselves that we aren’t really going to stick to our guns, that maybe we don’t really need or deserve our deepest heart’s desires. What’s worse, it can cause us to grow deaf to the invaluable inner guidance within each of us, divorcing us from a vital ingredient for deeply rooted happiness.

Going for what we truly want offers us the opportunity to experience the unique reward of feeling alive and the peace of alignment. We finally feel at home in our lives. You can see for yourself by saying yes to who you really are and what you want in small ways at first. What does it feel like?

It stung a little when someone took the for sale sign down. But I’m letting someone else buy that house. I’m hanging on to my dream.