When I was 3, I wanted to be a singer. Same when I was 10, 15, a little confused for a few years, then back again at 23, and so on. By 23, though, I felt like I’d missed the boat. Like I would’ve had to start auditioning for American Idol at 16 and maybe get a record deal by 20 and then have some kind of shot.
The stories we tell ourselves.
I would then proceed to spend the next 7 years chasing some bullshit, like wrong relationships, “maybe I should do this” ideas, and a never-ending state of confusion, settling, and trying to be someone I wasn’t. All because I was trying desperately to avoid the one thing I wanted to do. I told myself I was too old, not good enough, not experienced, and did I mention too old? Stories.
The avoidance became so bad, that just over a year ago today, I was sitting in a Wal-Mart parking lot, crying hysterically because I had just bought dinner to cook for someone I was dating.
There were several reasons for this breakdown:
1. I was just in a Wal-Mart buying food, which is reason enough
2. I hate cooking, nor do I enjoy being in kitchens, and I certainly never thought myself one to make dinner for someone else
3. The realization finally hit me that I had given up on myself, my dreams, and was living the exact opposite of the life I had envisioned for myself. The. Exact. Opposite.
I am not opposed to those who want to live in the suburbs and cook dinner for their significant others and rack up the deals at Wal-Mart. There is nothing wrong with that. But that was not my jam, and I never wanted it. I was living my, “Well nothing else worked out, so I guess this will do” version of life.
Fortunately, I found out that the person I was dating had a few other girls running to Wal-Mart for him, and I took it as a universal sign that if you keep pushing away the things you really want, the universe will give you what you don’t want – multiplied by 100.
I was forcing myself to settle for a life that I thought I should want – a house in the suburbs, maybe a family, and working a 9-5. Again, nothing wrong with this – just not for me.
When I got this very dramatic, yet incredibly needed, message from the universe, I made a lot of scary decisions. I went part-time at my job to focus on finishing my master’s degree in creative writing; I began teaching yoga classes, something I’d been thinking about doing for years; and lastly, I admitted to the universe that I wanted to sing in a band, and I wanted that to be my career. I put an ad on Craigslist, looking for potential musician suitors, and would literally say out loud while driving in my car, “I want to sing in a band,” because I was done caring about how insane I might feel or look. I realized that I gave up on myself for a very long time, and I was over it.
This decision, to live as myself, and not through shoulds, maybes, and settling, can be described as living authentically. It was through this decision that I did end up joining a band, and singing every weekend; that I teach yoga almost everyday, a practice that has changed my life; that I am working with a coach to develop a holistic wellness business; that I am in a relationship with a someone who I thought couldn’t possibly exist.
This isn’t meant to be some happy ending post, either – because really, life has just started for me – at 30 years old. I let fear of wrong decisions and what other people thought run my life for over a decade. Our stories, our limiting thoughts and beliefs, are what hold us back. When we start to let go of this dead weight, we’re left with a blank slate, and the endless opportunities to create our lives.
You didn’t miss your shot; you’re not too old; you’re not unworthy. You’re more than enough to live the life you want to create.