Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

You Can be Abnormal Too! (In 3 Easy Steps)

Last night, as we lay in bed, my wife rolled over and said, “We aren’t normal. I think we’re crazy.”

We are in the throes of jetlag with three small children, having just arrived back to the U.S. after three years abroad. The first night, our son turned up his radio to full-blast at 3 AM, waking the baby. This morning the kids were up at 4 AM, running through the house and playing.

Perhaps we are crazy.

Photo Credit Pedro Klien (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit Pedro Klien (Creative Commons)

But who says crazy is all that bad. Perhaps the world could use a few more abnormal people.

Why waste your energy being normal when billions of people are already filling that role? (you can tweet that)

If you are tired of the normal life and would like to try something new, just follow this fool-proof plan towards abnormality and craziness.

Dream a Big Dream

Don’t settle for a small vision—an average existence—go big.

Seven years ago, we decided to move to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. I first visited in 1999, three years after the longest siege in modern warfare ripped the city, and its half million residents, to pieces. The weather was cold. The people were warm. The scars of war were unforgettable.

I returned three more times.

The first summer, my girlfriend came along and I asked her to marry me. She said, “Yes.”
The second summer, we stayed in a cramped basement apartment—a young, happy, newly married couple.
The third summer, we brought our two small children. Our son took his first steps in our Bosnian apartment.

Then we decided to move there full-time.

We believed that university students in Sarajevo deserve the same opportunities as students in the States.  We noticed we were uniquely prepared to live cross-culturally. We decided to dream big.

That one dream—a community of students in Sarajevo—has consumed us since then. We left our home, sold many of our possessions, learned a new language, made new friends, dragged luggage around the world, battled rude landlords, and even welcomed a new child in a foreign country.

Why? Because of a big dream.

What would you dream if you didn’t limit yourself?

Go For It

Dreaming is not enough—you have to make a move. Everyone dreams, but few take steps to make their dreams a reality. It’s abnormal.

So . . .
Start the first draft.
Buy a plane ticket.
Hire an instructor.
Develop a plan.

I am not suggesting you walk into your boss’ office tomorrow and turn in your resignation. You might want to make a plan first. Dreams are not fulfilled over night. However, journeys begin with one step.

I remember exactly where we standing when we decided to move to Bosnia. “So, are we really going to do this?” I asked. My stomach lurched and spun. “I guess so,” we agreed with a flash of fear in our eyes. The words sounded strange coming out of our mouths. We knew our adventure had begun.

We did not arrive in Bosnia for three more years, but that moment started our journey towards abnormality.  We made plans. We prepared to leave. We received proper training. Then, we moved.

Hang On for the Ride

The abnormal life gets crazy. You have to hang on.

There is a reason why most people choose a normal life—it is easier. We did not move overseas because we love jetlag and language barriers. We moved for the dream; we put up with the consequences.

This is the roller coaster of the abnormal life—a potpourri of joy, agony, exhilaration, suffering, purpose, and pain. You sit down, strap yourself in, and hang on until the car comes to a complete stop.

I know that one day our adventure in Sarajevo will come to an end. That transition will be just as difficult as the beginning. My desire is to hold on for the whole ride.

Join the Crazies

The abnormal life is not for everyone. It’s for those who want to leave an abnormal mark on the world. Sure, it involves some sleepless nights. But is that too high a price to pay?

Your dream is yours to choose. Maybe, like us, you should go. Maybe you should stay. Just follow these three steps and you will never be normal again.

What step do you want to take this week towards your dream? Share in the comments below (or, subscribers, just reply to this email).

About Josh