Lifestyle & Human Interest

Troy Amdahl: 'Invest in the Dreams of Those You Love, Even If Their Dreams Are Different Than Yours'


For years, a man in Chandler, Arizona, was always against decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving, much to the dismay of his Christmas-loving wife.

But when he decided to put his wife’s joy ahead of the “ambiguous social norm” to which he so tightly clung, he said his only regret was that he had not done it sooner.

Troy Amdahl and his wife, Kristen, have been in each other’s lives from the beginning; they went to kindergarten together and to senior prom.

“We’ve been together our whole life and she’s been super supportive of me pursuing all my dreams and just an amazing person to be with my whole life,” Amdahl told The Western Journal.

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She supported him when he decided to retire from his job when he was only 42 years old to pursue writing.

Amdahl is the author of several books about life balance, which he calls “Oola.” Through his research, his own perspectives have changed.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve just relooked at things and sometimes where I dig my heels in, I ask myself ‘Why? Is it that important?'” he told The Western Journal.

So as the holiday season approached, he knew that the annual debate of when the Christmas tree would be put up was coming, but this year he questioned his own stubbornness in the debate.

One incredibly important thing he says he’s learned in his life is “to invest in the dreams of those you love, even if their dreams are different than yours.”

He thought the perfect opportunity to bring his wife unexpected joy would be while they were out of town and their house was under renovation.

Amdahl contacted the people renovating their home and asked if they would be willing to help him “deck the halls,” before they came home.

In years past, he said they celebrated the season by decorating a 3-piece tree from Target, but to make the surprise more magical he wanted to step it up.

“This year, just because she’s so flippin’ sweet, I thought we’d surprise her with just going all out,” he said.

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So the people helping him with the surprise set up two trees: an undecorated “Charlie Brown-ish” tree reserved for the kids’ ornaments, and a large, “Pinterest” tree.

Amdahl said he and his son felt so much joy watching Kristen react to the Christmas trees.

He said when she walked in the door and saw the first tree, she started crying, but when she saw the other tree, “she just lost it.”

Thankfully their son was there to capture a photo of the magical moment.

Amdahl posted the photo on his Facebook page on Friday and it quickly went viral.

“By her reaction, my only disappointment is that I didn’t do this years ago,” he wrote. “Heck, if it makes someone I love this much, this happy, it can stay up all year as far as I’m concerned.”

Kristen replied in a comment, “Troy, you are the sweetest husband ever? This was definitely on the top ten list for surprises in my entire life! I love you???”

The post resonated with many people on social media, a large majority of whom, Amdahl noticed, tagged loved ones as if to say “Step it up.”

But Amdahl recognizes that his wife would’ve similarly tagged him just five years ago.

“I love the spirit behind it,” he told The Western Journal of his now-viral post. “Instead of looking at what they want, it’s causing people to look at the people they love and say ‘What can I do to bring joy into the people I love?'”

“That’s what I write about, that’s what I believe in and that’s what I practice in my own life: Let’s work on relationships and let’s work on investing in those we love. That’s how we build a community, a family community and a better world.”

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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