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As adults, we are told that in order to be authentically happy we should follow our passions, do what we love, and dare to not care about what other people think. I agree, but life is messy. It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives: work, family, friends, kids, school, after school activities, homework, baking, errands, exercise, paying bills, etc. It’s hard to find enough time or money to nurture our individual passions and dreams. We’re just trying to get everything done that needs doing. But, what if that’s not true? What if those reasons are just excuses?
I love this saying because it’s so true:
Sometimes we are afraid to start doing what we love for fear that it’s too late or that we won’t be good enough, even if we do try. Sometimes so much time has passed since we’ve nurtured our own dreams that we forget what our passions really are.
Does it sound absurd that we would forget? I don’t think so.
From a very young age, some of us are taught to follow rules, learn lessons, study, set realistic goals, accomplish goals, prepare for our future, and find our place in the mainstream. At some point in our late teens or early twenties, it is widely known that we are supposed to stop dillydallying and get more serious about making a living and being a successful adult.
What is a successful adult?
I don’t know for sure. I really don’t think it has much to do with making buckets of money or being famous, but that’s just my opinion. I think being successful has to do with lifelong learning, relationships, creating, playing, cherishing imperfect moments of happiness, and nurturing our passions.
I have always loved to write. I may not be an exceptional writer, and I become frustrated with myself at times, but I’ve found that writing nourishes my soul and sometimes leaves an impression on other people too. Last week, I received an amazing note from a stay-at-home mom, who was writing a book, (she had an editor and everything—that’s serious), but she fell victim to depression, so she stopped writing.
The women wrote to me and said, “I needed to read this post because it ignited that creative light within and gave me hope. Thank You.”
Oh my gosh–my words actually made a positive impact on someone. I’m so happy for that writer! Helping someone else made me feel wonderful and helped push me to keep writing too.
I have another passion that I have not given myself permission to pursue. I put it on a shelf and told myself it’s childs play. When I looked in my mom’s hope chests the other day, I was reminded of how much I love creating art. When I was a child, I loved drawing; painting; mixed media; and especially sketching patterns, dresses, and gowns. Even during college, when I worked in the school library, I would become so immersed in the art section that my boss would come looking for me. I would pretend to be putting the art books away.
I secretly sketched nature scenes and people too, and then I would hide my drawings or throw them away.
Why would I do that?
I was embarrassed and shy. Art didn’t seem like something that should be in my future.
I didn’t view it as something I was exceptional at, and therefore I didn’t see it as a viable or stable career (whatever that means). It also seemed sort of out there for me to be thinking about art because I grew up in a home where education, sports, work, and planning for a future were far more important and necessary things to think about and discuss. I understand that thought process; we all have to make a living. We should be responsible.
But, I should have opened myself up to the possibility of a creative life even if it wasn’t going to be as a career. I should have done it for this reason alone: I think creating is fun. It energizes me and makes me feel good. I feel the good “flow” when I’m creating.
It was silly of me not to pursue that passion, but it’s never too late.
Julia Child didn’t enter cooking school until she was 36, and she didn’t launch her show until she was 50. Harlan Sanders, the Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was 66 when he began to create his empire. Phyliss Diller became a comedian at the age of 37. Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, was 43 when he began drawing his legendary superheroes and his partner Jack Kirby was 44 when he created The Fantastic Four.
You don’t have to have a goal of becoming a super star to follow your dreams–whatever they may be.
In fact, I think I’d be pretty uncomfortable in that position.
I just want to create, even if I’m the only one who likes what I’ve created.
Dreams have no age limit and it’s never too late to start what could be.
“For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’” ~ John Greenleaf Whittier