“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~C.S. Lewis
Growing up, people always saw me as the over-achiever and said, “That girl is really going to make something of herself one day.”
I often felt the pressure of having to live up to these expectations.
I recently turned 30 and it was a day of reflection for me. I always had this idea that by the time I turned 30, I'd be one of the top celebrities in South Africa, living the life of a talented singer, a self-made millionaire, driving a fancy car, living in a big mansion—the works!
I realized I was merely living up to an idea I had in my head of what success meant to me.
Perhaps what I wanted was a tad unrealistic.
I've always been told to dream big and have gone through many ups and downs working toward these goals, but at some point I decided to change my direction.
I had to grow up and realize that perhaps these things I wanted just weren't in the cards for me, and that maybe, in realizing my true potential, I first had to be content with that notion.
When I did this, I realized what I definitely wanted in my life, and it couldn't have happened at a more perfect time.
I have my day job (of course); I work in the web industry as a developer and I love it. I enjoy the people I work with and I’m excited to come to work every day.
It's just that lately, I’ve started thinking about where my life is headed and how I want contribute to this world and do my part to make it a better place.
I love helping others with their personal problems. People have always told me I'm an excellent listener and advice-giver, and that I am wise beyond my years.
It took me a while to get to the point in my life where I feel content with myself as a person. With all my past experiences, I am able to help others, but I always felt I should be doing this on a professional level too.
I wanted to study psychology but never really did anything about it because, when I was younger, I felt I didn't want to become a financial burden for my folks. I had this terrible excuse that I just couldn't afford to go to college, and never even plucked up the courage to ask my folks about it for fear of rejection. In retrospect, I see that was a blessing.
I have all this life experience now—something I wouldn't have had if I’d decided to do it sooner.
I have reached an age where I am starting to really value the importance of quality in my life and I believe that everything happens for a reason—that things happen at the time they are meant to.
I may be a little “late” at experiencing certain events considered to be the expected norm, but who are others to judge me, right? All that matters is that I am at peace and content with where I am in my life, that I am taking steps to working toward my future, and on my way to making my dream a reality.
I have also made peace with the fact that it's okay to take the long way around.
Why should I feel I have to flourish overnight on a new direction when I could first take the time to grow my roots and cover all the groundwork? Then, when I eventually have the things I've always dreamed of, I'll not only be ready, but strong enough to handle it!
So, with 2013 in full swing, I have made the decision to pursue my dream of being a professional psychologist, and even get my PHD.
I contacted a university in my area and will be applying to do a part-time course. It's going to take me so much longer to finish, I know, but that way I still get to do the job I currently have and slowly work toward my future with consistent persistence.
Below are some of my favorite personal affirmations. If you’re also working toward a new goal, you may find these helpful:
1. Consistent persistence is key.
Sometimes my dreams don't make sense in the beginning, but if I keep working toward them with consistent persistence, soon enough I’ll see the big picture and it will be worth it. I am constantly evolving; so will my dreams. No matter what happens, I must keep believing, keep working at it, and keep dreaming.
2. Success is a matter of perception.
I realize that sometimes I have an idea of what success should be. I will not let this idea make me feel like I'm not good enough or can never do what I want to do. I will take the time to reflect on my past accomplishments, knowing that this will provide the fuel I need in order to take my dreams to the next level.
3. I only have one life.
The next time I feel like it may be too late to make my dreams come true, I will remember that I only have one life, one chance to make it happen. I believe it is never too late to change my direction. Even if my dream requires me to work harder than ever before, I will always remember that the important thing is to embrace it and remember the real reason I am doing it.
I hope these will inspire you to take that next step too—to make things happen for yourself. Regardless of which stage in your life you are right now, it is never too late to pursue and live your dream, it is never too late to make a difference –whether it is in your own life, or others' lives.
It may be hard, but embrace the struggles knowing that with time, patience, and consistent persistence, you will eventually reap the rewards!
“The key to happiness is having dreams; The key to success is making them come true.” ~James Allen
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