I remember how, in middle school, there were guidance counselors. They were the people we could go to for, well, guidance. There were also these tests we had to take to see what kind of career was the right fit for us. And I remember after taking one such test, I was told that the best career choice for me was “Counselor.” And I remember thinking, Counselor? No way! I’m going to be a famous author one day!
Well, that was my plan. I wrote like there was no tomorrow. And it was my goal to become one of those authors whose books flew off the shelves and earned a lot of money. Yes, I was in it for financial gain.
But that did not happen. I DID become an author, yes, but I did not become a money-making author. Alas! My books do sell – every once in a while, that is – but not in a way I had hoped they would.
Now, as I was doing this, I was also doing something else. Or, rather, trying to BE something else. Not just a writer. I spent a lot of time during my teen years trying to be this person. And every time I tried, I would go to my dad with what I’d put together to see if he thought it had any merit. I got two kinds of responses from him: “Impossible!” and “No, you can’t do that.”
No matter how often I tried and went to my father for validation, I always, ALWAYS, got that kind of reaction from him.
Now, I am not trying to badmouth my dad. You should never speak evil of the dead! I am only sharing what had happened.
Those responses to my ideas pretty much shot me down. I deep-sixed that idea and went back to trying to be this amazing author.
I didn’t have my dad’s support for that person I tried to be. The only thing my dad was willing to get behind was the possibility that I’d be an author making serious dinero. But when that didn’t happen after my first book, he jumped ship. I, however, stuck with it longer. For 10 years, in fact. I worked hard to try to make that happen and did everything that I thought I was supposed to do. But it just did not pan out. (And some of my so-called “friends” I made in the author community distanced themselves from me when they realized I was not an author making huge amounts of money. I became a joke to them.) (Screw them!)
So I decided that after 10 years, the writing thing would NOT be something I focused on for financial success. I would continue to write, yes, but only when the time and energy were there.
But what else was I going to do with my life now? Where would I go from here? What am I going to invest the next 10 years of my life in in order to achieve that financial success?
I had hoped to figure that out when I turned 40, because that was the 10-year mark. But I didn’t figure it out. I was ready for something new in life but had not yet decided on what path to take.
Three months into turning 40, I was all, “It’s time for something new!”
Six months into it: “It’s time for something new!”
After nine months: “It’s REALLY time for something new!”
And after a year, I was asking myself, “Do I have something new yet???”
And believe me, I TRIED to figure out that something new. I turned over a ton of ideas in my head. The film industry? Nah. The food industry? Nope. Science? Eh, not me. Teaching? Nope. Mentoring? Uh-uh.
I spent time on the Internet reading several job-related articles, career profiles and employment possibilities. I wanted something that could ACTUALLY work as financially rewarding. I want to have that financial security. That’s important.
But none of my online research helped me figure that out, either.
So, last night, sometime after deciding I would take on a whole new me, I spent some time brainstorming for ideas. Not too long ago, I got together with my husband, daughter and my sister via text to do some brainstorming. But the idea we all eventually agreed on was still iffy for me. I wanted something I was willing to get behind. Something that sparked a fire within.
And last night’s brainstorming did just that. (Thank goodness I don’t have carpet in my kitchen, because I was pacing like crazy!) I actually had a “Eureka!” moment. I figured out what I was going to do next and, a bonus, realized I could take it to the next level and specialize it to where it would be a help to the deaf. Because, you know what, that particular need for the deaf is there. And it's not being met. I am deaf, and I could make this work FOR the deaf! Yes! I could do it! (One of the secrets for success: “Find a need and fill it.”)
Happily satisfied and encouraged by this, I went about the rest of my evening set on this new life goal.
Then I had a dream.
Last night, I dreamed about something related to that person that I tried to be a long time ago. And in my dream, I was a success with it. It had actually WORKED!
I woke up from that dream feeling inspired. And I asked myself, “Why did I let that person die? Why did I allow it to get shot down so easily?”
I guess I had really needed that validation from my dad before I could continue on that path. But I let his discouragement put a blot in that dream.
But, you know, I am at a point in life where I don’t really need his validation anymore. Not like I’d get it if he was still around. But I’m confident in myself enough to believe in myself. And that’s okay. I don’t need ANYONE to get behind me on anything. I do my own thing! And if this is what I want to try to do in life, then I’m going to go for it. I give myself permission to try that path again. To try again. I am going to bring that person back to life and tell her, “You can do anything.”
I am going to stick with my original plan that I conceived last night. I will continue with that journey. But I will also bring back this person I tried to be once upon a time and allow her to have free reign in my life. I’ll let that person be alive again, thinking up those ideas again, and just maybe it will lead to something, too. Like I tell my kids, “You don’t HAVE to do just one thing in life.” It’s time to let that girl I once was all those years ago out of the grave and live again. To let her dream again. And believe.