“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t” – Jerry Rice.
We’ve all seen this quote, or something like it and as boss babes, we totally get it. You gotta demolish those boundaries to live that extraordinary boss life, right? Yet even in our all-out, go-getting, boss-mode… There will be a line that we don’t cross, or an action that we decide to put off, just for a little while. It begs the question, how far would you really go to follow your dreams?
The other day I had the pleasure of meeting a babe that went all in on her dream life and I knew I had to share her story. But although this story is hella inspiring on allll the levels, there’s something else that seriously made me sit back and think about how I looked at life. I’d love to see if you’re struck by the same thing.
Tracy Bonin’s Story
6 years ago, Tracy Bonin sold her house (herself) and the majority of her possessions before driving to Mexico with nothing more than a vague plan of staying in a hotel for 30 days while she “figured things out”.
From there onwards, she lived the dream that she had meditated on for years. She found a beautiful home that inspired her creativity and had a studio to work on her art that she sells. She found a community of people that she could be 100% herself around and who celebrated her dreams and aspirations
11 months into the dream came the earth-shattering news…
During a short trip back to Canada to visit loved ones, Tracy was diagnosed with breast cancer.
The treatment could be started straight away, but it would take a year. There. In Canada. The place where Tracy had experienced one of the darkest periods of her life.
Instead of staying for free treatment there, she opted to return to Mexico and pay for treatment there. Friends and family from her “old life” – a phrase that she used throughout our conversation – told her that she was crazy. She should stay. It was safer. It made more sense. It was logical.
Tracy refused and went back to her new life to start treatment there with the support of her new friends. Friends that were there every step of the way, even through the dark times, when Tracy was angry with the world, God, and the Universe (understandably).
Today, Tracy is on the brink of being cancer free. She sells her art online, and in galleries. And despite all adversity, she has held on to her dream.
The Intriguing Bits
Now we can all agree that this lady is a total boss for overcoming obstacles that might have left others broken.
But there are several things that stood out to me more than the triumph itself.
#1 – Control
Early on in our conversation, Tracy had mentioned that she had always loved to have complete control over situations, yet two of the biggest ‘events’ of her life saw her using control in completely opposite ways.
When she moved to Mexico, she gave up her control.
Surrendered to the flow.
Followed her heart without the smallest consideration for the “how”.
All she knew at that time was that she could no longer stay in a situation that was toxic to her soul.
The second time was when she was diagnosed with cancer. Later on somebody would tell her that she couldn’t control everything that happened in life, only how she dealt with it.
I think even Tracy was slightly surprised when I pointed out that she had already done that the day she refused free treatment in Canada. Even though she couldn’t control what was happening to her body, she could deal with it in a way that made her happy. By being in the place that made her happy. The place that “felt more like home than anywhere I’ve ever been”.
I guess that goes to show that sometimes we need to let go of control, and other times, we need to remind ourselves that we always have control over certain things and we don’t have to give in to circumstance.
Following your dreams isn’t the same as walking the path you’ve mapped out for yourself.
#2 – The Difference
I asked Tracy to describe herself now. Her answer, which spilled out of her with such life, and energy, was beautiful:
When I asked her to think back to her “old life” and describe herself, there was a pause.
The next time she spoke, her voice sounded far away. And heavy. The words were clipped, with laden spaces between each word:
Now it would be quite easy to say that this drastic change was due to living somewhere tropical and following her dream.
To a certain extent, I think that’s true. But I believe with all my heart that the difference came because Tracy finally felt like she could express herself.
In Mexico, she was an artist, a free spirit. She didn’t care what people thought, not because she didn’t care about people, but because she was putting her own needs first.
Sidenote: I found it incredible that nobody in her old life even knew that this lady was an artist until she moved thousands of miles away and posted it on Facebook. To be clear, this was not her friends’ fault – Tracy simply never told anyone.
#3 – New Habits
We laughed at this, because Tracy had mentioned that she was overweight in her old life. But when she moved to Mexico, she started to shed pound after pound.
When her old friends asked her what she’d done to lose the weight, she told them she’d mainly been sitting on the beach, drinking beer!
The “diet” was pure happiness. The lack of need to turn to food for comfort.
Now, because of the cancer, and because of her appreciation for herself, Tracy puts her health above everything.
When I asked what other habits she had adopted, she told me she meditated (although she had always done this), and she regularly did things that placed herslef outside of her comfort zone, like walking off the street into a gallery to talk about her work.
Fight or Flight
I asked Tracy what pushed her that day to finally take the plunge. To stop waiting for retirement to live her dream.
Enough was enough. It was fight or flight time. And then the next words that left her mouth shook me to the core and set my soul on fire:
“Staying there was killing me”.
Gary Vee says that one of the most motivating things is to remember that one day we’re going to die. Pretty morbid, but absolutely right.
Tracy, somehow amongst a mist of darkness, managed to remember that we are not here forever. We have a choice. We have control.
She chose to fight.
She chose to take back her happiness.
She chose to live her truth.
And I, for one, am awe-inspired by her.
This is the perfect example of choosing to live life to the fullest. No matter how scary it is, and with faith alone sometimes.
A final word from Tracy
I told Tracy that I would be writing this article, and asked her what she would like to say to anyone who was reading this that might be stuck, scared, or confused. This is what she had to say:
“Never listen to the haters. Don’t give up on your dreams. If I can pack up my life and move to Mexico to follow my dreams, then anyone can achieve theirs. Feeling happy is fun. I’d like to keep that.”
You should know…
There is so much more to this story but I just can’t fit it all into one article! Tracy shares her story through her (beautiful!) art though, and you can find her on Instagram at @tracyboninart
I’m sure if you send her a DM, she’d be more than happy to share her experiences with you herself too. <3