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My first ski season in Colorado, I wanted to be in a Warren Miller movie. Well – maybe I didn’t actually want to be in one of his movies, but I at least wanted to feel like I was in one. I skied over 70 days that year, and I went from being a blue-black skier to “I’ll ski anything” over the course of a few months.

Me at Aspen Highlands in 2005

Many of those days were spent skiing by myself. The ipod was fairly new on the scene then, so I loaded mine up (I think it held like 100 songs – ha!) with music to create my own ski movie in my head. My playlist made me feel confident and energetic, and inspired me to make beautiful, flowing turns down the mountain. A lot of times I felt like I was dancing; playfully twirling and reveling in pillows of powder.

That ipod and playlist are long gone, but I still remember a lot of the songs on it since I listened to it so frequently. One of the songs which still conjures up vivid skiing memories is She’s On Fire by the band Train.

Having been brought up in a musical family, I often connect more emotionally with the musical elements than the lyrics of a song. However, She’s on Fire was one whose words resonated with me way more than usual. I mean, how could I not feel like I was on fire while flying down the mountain to this song?

She’s On Fire Lyrics

Well this is just between us but between us let’s get high
In pictures I have seen her and to see her is truly fine
She’s on fire
She’s on fire


Flowers in her evening set I get the feeling she won’t forget
And there’s times you’d long to be her but to be her is surely blinding
She’s on fire
She’s on fire
She’s on to me
And I’m over me
She’s on fire


And if I could be inside her light
I would steal enough to make my way into the night
And if I could be inside her light I might just find I’d be alright


Well it’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life
And this is not between us but between us let’s keep getting back to where it’s from
She’s on fire
She’s on fire
She’s on to me
And I’m over me
She’s on fire
She’s on to me
And I’m over me
She’s over me
And I’m on to her
She’s on fire
She’s on fire
She’s on fire

(As an aside, the first person who can tell me which ski movie this song was in will get a prize – I can’t for the life of me find it on Google!)

Here’s my favorite line of the song:

It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life

During that ski season, for the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like to take a deliberate step towards living my dream life.

Up until that point, I had mostly done what I was “supposed” to do. I had gotten good grades, gone to college, and even gotten my first “real” job as a graphic designer. I was beginning to check the boxes, make my parents happy, and travel down the path prescribed to me by society.

But early adulthood turned out not to be everything I dreamed it would be. I thought that in college I’d find the perfect career, make an amazing group of life-long friends, meet my future husband, and have a ton of fun doing all of it. With the exception of making 2 or 3 great friends with whom I still keep in touch, none of those things actually happened. I was disappointed and unfulfilled.

So for the first time ever, I listened to myself and what I really wanted to do. After several months of battling beltway traffic and sitting in a dark, uninspiring cubicle, I left it all behind to move to Colorado and be a ski bum for a season.

Transplanting myself 1700 miles across the country, to a place where I knew no one, was certainly scary. Switching time zones did not automatically change me from a shy, insecure 24 year old to a confident, bubbly extrovert (as much as I wanted it to).

But the mountains set me free. Skiing got me out of my head, and made me feel alive. I’d wake up every morning, look out the window and think, I can’t believe I get to live here. I was so filled with joy and gratitude all the time.

The Colorado sunshine was a welcome contrast to the dreary East Coast winters I was used to. As someone who had previously been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, suddenly winter felt magical, and I felt emotionally healthier than I ever had. I also effortlessly lost 26 pounds.

As much as I thrive when I get my dose of Vitamin D, I think that there was a lot more to my new found mental health than just more hours spent playing outside in the sun. I was suddenly empowered – if I can take this one step towards creating my dream life, then why can’t I take more?

As Patrick Monahan sings, I was literally making my life – deliberately taking my daydream and turning it into my reality. This felt so exciting, and I wanted more!

So when April rolled around and it was time to go “back to reality” (aka go get a “grown-up” job close to home), I changed my plan to listen again to what my heart wanted. I stayed for summer, and then for another ski season. I was the happiest I could remember feeling in a long time.

Sure, there continued to be “shoulds”. But I usually seemed able to find balance between being “responsible” and being authentic to myself. I eventually did find that grown-up job as a web designer at a company in the mountains, which was fun and creative for several years. I bought and remodeled a condo, and eventually met and married my husband.

I didn’t navigate it all perfectly. I wish I’d quit my job and followed my entrepreneurial dream way sooner. Sometimes I wish that I’d skipped buying the condo – turns out home ownership wasn’t nearly as rewarding as “they” say it’s going to be. There are a lot of things I could’ve spent my time and money on that would’ve given me more happiness and fulfillment.

But every “wrong” turn I took came with a lesson and provided me with growth. As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I’ve learned to let go of more and more of the shoulds. And certainly going through a life-threatening health diagnosis helped me gain clarity and perspective on my life’s priorities. Now every day I wake up and know that I am blessed with the opportunity to keep building a life more amazing than my wildest dreams, and that sets me on fire.

Me at Loveland Ski Area in 2019

I want you to be inspired to create your dream life. Whether you’re 24 and you want to move across the country (or halfway around the world!), you’re 45 and wondering what your purpose is, or you’re in your 60s and thinking about what would make you happy in retirement, I want you to know that you can absolutely create your dream life. No matter your age or what your past life experience looks life, you can build a life that makes you excited to leap out of bed every morning!

In fact, I believe it is our right and our responsibility to follow our joy. I believe that choosing joy not only makes us happier and healthier, but collectively makes our world happier and healthier.

If you’ve been waiting for someone to give you permission to chase your dreams, consider this to be your sign. But also know that you are 100% responsible for the life that you create – so grant yourself permission and choose a life that you are head over heels in love with!

What does your dream life look like? What are you doing now to move toward that life? What’s holding you back?

Anything you want to chat about? Anything I can help you with? Hit me up in the comments or shoot me a message!