One of the things we see more and more is people chasing after their passion. Like it’s lost or something and they have to find it. Here’s a little secret: it’s not lost, you already have it within you and you already have everything you need within you as well to bring it into fruition. We instinctively move in the direction towards it, especially when we’re young and encouraged to follow our heart’s desires. Why don’t you have it now if we already have it? Maybe you gotta get yourself a little unstuck – I’ll remind you, you aren’t a tree, you are not rooted in your current circumstances. You can move, you can grow, and you will, but for anything in your life to change, there needs to be some changes, consistent changes. You don’t need a map, just a general direction and vision of what you want and who you want to be.
Start with getting a hobby. Could be something you used to do but have fallen away from over the years or something you’ve always wanted to do or learn. Maybe it’s that thing that’s been hiding in the back on your mind but you’ve never given yourself permission to do it or to really go for it. Maybe you have an idea or even a few, but you’ve told yourself something like, “It’s isn’t practical.” “You can’t make any money let alone a good living doing this.” Or, “Yea there’s people out there doing it. they just got lucky or had a silver spoon up their ass.”
Or maybe you’re like me and have a handful of solid potential hobbies to be explored. After much reflection on who I use to be and how I changed over the years, and remembering the things I enjoyed and just did because I enjoyed them, I’ve found some clarity. I wrote – like a lot. I journaled consistently, and wrote poems, songs, and even a few short stories. Senior year of high school, I took a creative writing class, just for fun because it sounded neat and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. I was a band nerd and I mean NERD. I started in elementary school playing the bells with the little mallets – my parents were champs letting me pick a percussion instrument. I came back in high school and started with Color Guard (flag spinning) my first marching season, but the girls were gossipy and catty and I just didn’t fit in, so I switched to percussion for concert season and I just stayed because it was a better fit. I still enjoyed throwing the flags around, so I did Winterguard for the next 2 years. The next marching season, I was made pit captain *think xylophone cymbals and all those other instruments played with your hands that aren’t a drum* and was also part of the Drumline. I also did Winter Percussion, Concert and Marching seasons the duration of high school, so it was basically my whole life. Also did choir one semester, and really loved it. I was always singing when I was alone and with my best friends.
From a young age, I got a camera, one of those with actual film you had to crank to get to the next picture to take, and then take it to the drug store and wait 2 weeks for it to develop. I was always taking pictures – around the yard, at the zoo, and about everywhere else. Now, here I am a few decades later and I still love taking pictures. After messing around with it and keeping it hobby-zoned forever, I’m finally realizing there could be something there. Plenty of people make good livings with a camera, why not me? Because I never gave myself permission to go for it; I never envisioned that could be me. I would tear myself down and think, “You don’t know what you’re actually doing”, “You don’t understand all the technique behind it like shooting in manual.” And I would compare myself to every other person out there already doing it and to their work – this is the absolute worst thing you can do to yourself. Alter this a bit and instead if you must compare, compare yourself to yourself – be in competition with yourself. Think, “So I accomplished or worked on this yesterday, what can I do today to move me closer to my goals?” And if you don’t have any goals, get some! Otherwise, chances are you’re just floating around through life, like a bobber in water, not really getting anywhere or doing anything, while life just passes you by. Now, I’m going out shooting with my friends, doing photo shoots with friends that volunteer to model, I’m connecting with and learning from other friends who are pretty into it, I’m posting photos, going out on adventures, and basically living the life I dreamed of. Through the journey, you will make discoveries about yourself, opportunities will present themselves, connect with like minds, and by living in your truth, you will attract people on that same level.
To be clear, I’m not saying to choose a career field, I’m saying give yourself permission to in a way, be a child again: to be a beginner at something, to ask questions, to learn, to grow, to play and have fun. Pick something, or even a couple things you enjoy, and get busy. Don’t expect to just pick something up and be at the intermediate level, build the proper foundation. Fill up your planner with it. Learn to properly mix the colors, learn the major 12 scales, watch youtube videos to learn whatever it is your thing is. We are blessed to have access to so much knowledge, and so much of it is free! There are also lots of super affordable options too. Ever heard of Skillshare? Have you ever signed up for an online e-course? I’m a big fan of these. Allow the wander and pure joy to fill you up. Generally, big discoveries about yourself and your passions don’t come to you from mulling them around all the time. It comes from trying something out, taking action and learning if you really enjoy it
Redefine what success means to you. So many of us fell into the societal rewiring trap along the way, where we are taught through various media forms, societal standards and norms, schools and even family that success means you get good grades in high school to get in a good college. Study hard, show off your leadership and organizational skills by taking on a role or 4 in various school organizations and clubs. Land the job (with a 401k and all that jazz), buy a house, have some kids and boom! One American dream complete with success, wealth, love, and happiness. *Insert eye roll emoji* How many miserable people do you know you have stuck to the plan? Now they feel trapped in their current circumstance, completely clueless about why they are struggling so hard. Wanna know why? They never allowed themselves to be themselves – to follow their dreams, to pursue what lit their eyes up when they talked about it, what lights a firein their soul, and what makes them unique. It doesn’t have to make you money, you don’t have to be good at it, no one else needs to even like it for you to be successful. Just the fact that you’re doing the thing, making art, writing, baking, creating, dancing… is enough. Don’t give anyone the power to take what it means to you away. Don’t make it contingent upon making a living on it (if it works out that way, great!), other people approving of it, or upon anything else. It is worthy and enough because you are doing it. It’s that simple.
Something interesting I noticed as I’ve gone through the unlearning process of shedding layers that are not me and rediscovering who I am, I’m finding I’m that same exact person I use to be, just much happier, healthier and joyful. I’ve come home again; come back to who I am. I finally gave myself permission to be her – permission to be that girl. The one that lights that lights up a room, her laughter is contagious, her smile is genuine, she commands respect, she’s confident, sassy, cute, kind, fun, outgoing, adventurous, fit, outdoorsy, and looks dope in a ball cap at the gym. I’m quickly becoming her. The more I step into who I am and fully live it – let it fill up my schedule, the more it fills me up. I start feeling more whole, more alive, happier, grounded, authentically connecting with others. Abundance and prosperity have started pouring into my life where there was a lot of lack before. Connections that are no longer aligned with who I am now, who I’m working on being, or what I’d like my life to look like naturally unravel and have fallen away. Don’t be discouraged when this happens – it’s not happening TO you, it’s happening FOR you, to create space for new, higher-frequency connections to develop, that are in better alignment with this empowered new you! There will most likely be deep commonalities or similarities there. New opportunities will present themselves, sometimes masked as the end of something, like a job, relationship, friendship, travel, experiences, etc. This bittersweet ending is really a new beginning. You know that saying, when one door closes, another… opens! Be mentally open and available to new doors opening and new opportunities, don’t turn them down because you don’t feel ready, skilled enough, or worthy.
You have all the control and probably don’t even know it. Your life rests in your hands. Your happiness rests in your capable hands, and it is your responsibility, and yours alone – not your parents, your partner, friends, or even your therapist’s job to make you happy, you must do the work. Give yourself permission to be selfish for a while as you rediscover who you are. Make it your mission to unlearn and shed everything you are not, all the social norms and expectations, reflect on what you were taught makes you successful or happy, and learn what actually does make you happy, what you really want and connect with who you truly are – your soul. This doesn’t include your thoughts, feelings, your job title, income, size or other physical features, marriage status, or your ego. Find what remains after you remove all of that. Attach your identify around things that aren’t contingent upon anything, anyone or what others think of you and things that won’t go away. Consider how success can be measured. You’re less likely to have a mid-life crisis if your job that is a big defining factor in who you believe you are is suddenly gone. Or like when mothers who have no other identity for themselves is now an empty nester. Again, you gotta start from the beginning, and that can feel overwhelming and even scary. You gotta get out of your comfort zone, out of the rut, off of the couch, away from the tv. You have to start making different decisions about your schedule and priorities.
Create some clear goals that fire you up – have a reward written down that you would love and would make you smile, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. I like to do solo wine and fancy cheese night with a good chic flick. For smaller, less time consuming wins, I’ll reward myself with a chocolatey mocha, or as Tara Schuster says in her book, “Buy Yourself the Fucking Lilies”, which is also the name of the book, which I highly recommend. For something bigger I might go out to eat somewhere new, get something online I’ve had my eye on, or get a massage. As you get your feet wet, step into the water, and dive in, you will get a better understanding of what you want, so don’t fret if you have no idea right now. Just get started, don’t put any pressure on yourself, and have fun!
All my love,
Let me know where you struggle with this. Drop your questions in the comments below.