Answering powerful questions, No. 4

The next of “6 Powerful Questions That Will Change Your Life Forever” looks to be a fun one. Having passed the halfway point with my answers, if i’m honest i’m not feeling like my life is changing forever but perhaps it’s not meant to be a cumulative process. Nevertheless, discovering the directions in which these questions lead my thinking has been fun and interesting so far. So let’s continue, shall we?

Question No. 4: If my life had absolutely no limits and i could have it all and do whatever i wanted, what would i choose to have and what would i choose to do?


Describe your ideal lifestyle. List what you would do throughout the day if you knew that you were bound to be successful, what kind of person you would be, how much money you would earn, and where you would live.

This question allows you to realize who you would truly want to be if there were no limits. By aligning with this you can begin working towards the life that you truly want to create. Know that you wouldn’t have a desire if you didn’t also have the ability to fulfil (sic) it.

Now here is something that i’ve thought about quite a bit throughout my entire life! That is probably not an unusual scenario though; i imagine daydreaming about what you would do without any limitations is not an uncommon thing.

Bruce Lee limits

The first thing that comes to mind is the “where you would live” part. That’s been a source of countless discussions for me, both internal and external.

i recall that when i was very young, i read somewhere that the majority of people grow up, settle down and die within a 20 mile radius of where they were born. i want to say i was in third grade when i read that, but “third grade” has always felt like the default time for anything that happened as a youngster. It probably was around that time though.

Even at that age, having lived in the same house my whole life to that point with the idea of moving around or even the concept of an independent adult life foreign to me, that notion scared me. Obviously it had quite an impact on my young mind – here i am decades later and it remains a standout of my childhood. Most recently, the notion surfaced before i moved from Cleveland to Austin. A pragmatic uncle mentioned it in relation to it being more applicable to lower- and middle-class people, which i am.

Relocating away from my hometown is nothing new to me; moving to Austin wasn’t my first trip to the rodeo. Each time in the past, my moves had not lasted very long and in fact, being here in Austin two months now represents the longest i’ve ever been outside that 20 mile radius after a move, eking out by maybe a week or so the time i lived in Big Bear, California. For clarity i’m not counting travel, just changes of residence.

Speaking of Big Bear, it was while driving cross-country back from there and passing by a good cross section of Americana that i remarked to my traveling buddy how all the cities and towns are pretty similar. There’s a central hub where the taller buildings are, bleeding out into stripmall-infested suburbs and finally giving way to vast tracts of rural land before the next urban hub. The only major differences between them, the weather and climate of the region.

On one level, i still believe that to be true. Granted, there are demographic, socio-economic and myriad other comparisons to make but, at least here in the US, one place is more-or-less the same as any other.

So why do i continuously feel like i should be somewhere else? Even now, here in Austin where apples-to-apples i find superior to Cleveland, i have moments of thinking i would like to live somewhere different.

Maybe it’s because i have traveled around the country and a little bit of the larger world enough to comprehend how massive and full of variety it is. i have written several times about my first experience outside the US, and how i felt immediately upon leaving the train station that “this is different than what i’ve known.” That exhilarating sensation of arriving in a place i’ve never been is so exciting, and greatly intensified when that place is in another country.

At the same time, spending time in new places inevitably at some point gives me pause to reflect on my home region and the aspects i appreciate (and miss) coalesce and crystalize in my mind more coherently. i may leave Ohio considering the idea that i may never go back, but each time i did was with a more positive perspective on the area (and somewhat of a heavy heart, too – returning has always been a matter of failing to successfully establish myself in the new place).

To the point of the question however, where would i live ideally?

New York City.

All other considerations aside like weather (i hate the cold), cost of living (i’m one of those po’ folks) and sociability (go out on a Saturday night?!) we are talking ideally here, and NYC ensnared my sensibilities from the moment of my first visit and further enchants me each other time i’ve been.

Sure, there are lots of other places i’ve been that i liked a lot. And as i mentioned, the world is vast and varied. There’s cities in other countries that i fell in love with, and quite a few here in the US that hold a great deal of appeal as well.

But NYC…

The Pinnacle List

The rest of the explanation for Question No. 4 is informed by, rather than informs, the part about where i would live, at least in my mind. NYC ain’t cheap!

As far as how much money i would earn, that’s certainly something i’ve put a lot of thought into as well. Again, speaking of ideals here, i mean, who wouldn’t say “a lot. A hell of a lot!” Earlier this year i applied for a job online. The company had a really, really cool application process. One of the questions was “who is your favorite superhero” for crying out loud i mean, how cool is that? Anyway, another question said “what would your ideal salary be?” so i answered a million dollars a year.

In my mind, i’ve always daydreamed about making one big score all at once. Perhaps that is a symptom of lower- and middle-class people, to imagine having that one huge payday just one time, to bump your lifestyle up and give you some breathing room. Of course there is always the reward of hard work’s mythical pay off, and i’m cool with that. But the appeal of one big lump sum has always called to me. That was a big motivation for various endeavors i’ve tried like writing screenplays or making a film – the fanciful idea that someone would slap down a large sum of money up front for something like that.

As to what kind of person i would be, that’s a tough question. i can’t imagine being any kind of person other than the kind i already am. i suppose that kind of lends itself to answering what are some things i’d like to change about myself? For one, i’d like to be more hardworking. i don’t mean in the sense of on-the-job productivity; any job i’ve had i put my all into it and go above and beyond what is expected. But my dreams have never involved working my way up at someone else’s company. i’ve always yearned for autonomy, so i guess ideally i would be much more productive and industrious during my own time. In my imagination, if i never had to punch a clock for instance, i’d like to think i could still enjoy my leisure activities and then the 50+ hours i work each week i could devote to things i feel like i might actually have a shot at succeeding at in a professional way. Any of those things all involve writing in one way or another. Which isn’t to say i think i’m supremely talented at it but, it’s like the only thing i feel confident i actually have any sort of skill at, as well as immensely enjoy, so it stands to reason i should focus on it.

Which leaves just the part about what i’d do throughout the day. So at this point, i’ve got myself ideally living in NYC after having landed a large lump sum of money, with nothing but free time on my hands to do with as i please, and a penchant for writing.

So…more of everything i’ve been doing the last four years here on The Long Shot? Along with branching out and trying to do real freelance work. And who knows? Maybe even put the work into one of many passion projects whose beginnings i’ve had floating around in notebooks and computer files for the past few decades.

no limits

What about you? What does your ideal life look like, with no limitations?


  1. Good stuff, mate.

    I’ve found that when answering this for myself, it comes down to perspective. When I was younger, I wanted to be a professional musician, and I hoped that my art would be meaningful to people.

    I had to stop and remind myself sometimes that by those criteria, I was living my dream. I had always assumed that financial gain would go hand-in-hand with that, but I obviously didn’t starve, and I had enough loose cash to buy the occasional video game, as well as just keep the rent paid, and my gas tank full.

    What I’m doing now is actually really great. The city I live in is great. I’m still not terribly well-off financially, but would I trade this for more money?

    I don’t think I would. And in the past, when given opportunities, I haven’t.

    Always good to do some introspection with this kind of thing.

  2. Ideal life with no limitations. that’s easy for me. I have always known since I was little that my ideal life would be centered around animals. So firstly if money was in abundance and no worry that I would run out of it, I would take my butt to Africa. I’ve always wanted to see that country and go on a safari, a real one, where I was rich enough to stay in those cool hotels in the middle of the Okavango, have a personal tour guide who would take me around the countryside to view all the wildlife and then of course have enough money to hire porters who would carry me a la Queen Cleopatra up the mountain in Rwanda to view the last remaining mountain gorillas as Dian Fossey did in my favorite movie Gorillas in the Mist.

    Once that excursion was over, I’d come back home and purchase vast acres of land to build my own animal sanctuary for injured, abused, and unwanted animals. They would all have a forever home there and never again have to worry about food or shelter. But even if this seems out of reach, I think about real sanctuaries like Best Friends in Utah. That too started out as a dream.

    “Thirty years ago, a group of people made a leap of faith to realize a vision that they had long shared – to create a sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals. This was the logical extension of the rescue and advocacy work they had been doing for years. Little did they appreciate that their endeavor would catapult them to the forefront of a fledgling movement to end the killing of 17 million dogs and cats who were dying in our nation’s shelters at that time. With little money, no master plan, few construction skills and countless lives hanging in the balance, they set out to address a local aspect of a much larger problem. What they created instead was the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the world and a national movement to end the killing of companion animals.”

    So, when wondering of you could fulfill your dream, you can, You just have to start with the right ingredient, And no, it’s not money. It’s passion. If you have a strong enough passion for something, you will find a way to make it happen.

    I have always had a passion for animals, always. That was the easy part.

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