“As you start to walk on the way, the way appears.” ~Rumi
My early life was challenging, to say the least. I grew up in a difficult home situation, which I hoped to escape through an early marriage. That marriage produced four beautiful children by the time I was twenty-one years old.
We were very poor and I hoped to get us out of poverty, but I wasn’t sure it was possible.
I’d been poor all my life. I didn’t really know what it was like to have abundance. I thought success was for “other people.” My only education was a GED and I couldn’t earn enough money to pay for childcare, much less improve our situation.
It seemed to be hopeless, but I looked at my kids and decided that I had to try.
It was my ambition to earn a bachelor’s degree, which I eventually did through grants, scholarships, and a lot of hard work.
It took me five years to get through college. I finally graduated at the age of twenty-nine. After that, I always had a job and was able to take care of my family. Poverty was a distant memory.
What does this mean for you?
You can do a lot more than you think. You may never be twenty-one years old again, but you can have the essence of what it is that you really want. If you have a dream, it’s because there’s a part of you that’s whispering “yes” into your ear. Listen to it.
Please don’t listen to the nay-sayers. There were so many people who never thought I’d make it. They told me to go on welfare, to tolerate abuse for myself and my children, to give up.
If I’d listened to them, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. I did what needed to be done in order to achieve my dream, and so can you.
Yes, it will be hard. There were many nights that I sat up crying in bed. There were the two weeks that I went hungry so that my children could eat while I waited for the food stamp application to be approved.
When I enrolled in a junior college, I had a major meltdown on the very first day. I thought I’d lost my mind by signing up for all those classes. Who was I, trying to go to college in my mid-twenties with four children? I did it though.
If you set a big goal for yourself, it’s okay if it’s hard. It’s not fun, but it’s okay. Anything you really want that you haven’t done yet is going to be hard. Expect it to be hard.
If you’ve wanted something for this long, there’s a reason. Don’t betray yourself by not going for it. It will be hard. Do it anyway.
It’s not too late to have what you want in life. Would it have been great to have everything you wanted by the time you were twenty-five? Sure, but most of us don’t. We all have struggles and challenges. We all know someone we think had it easier.
In our culture, we’re bombarded with images of people living the dream. We feel like we are missing out if we don’t have it all.
It’s helpful to remember that gorgeous twenty-somethings with money, fulfilling relationships, and successful careers are simply not the norm. We’re all human and we all have our struggles. Life is not a commercial.
You’ll be much happier if you get over the myth that life should always be fun and easy. Start creating the life you want to have today. It’s only too late if you believe that it is. Thinking that it’s too late is an insidious myth in our youth-obsessed culture. Don’t fall for it.
You can still earn your degree, find the relationship you want, get in shape, whatever it is that you want to have. Start now. In five years, you will be five years older whether or not you did anything with your life.
The difference between those who achieve what they want in life and those who don’t is determination and tenacity, not luck, looks, or youth. I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in life, but the truth is, I’ve made the most of them and they only showed up when I did.
Show up for yourself and the opportunities will appear. Maybe they won’t appear immediately, but if you stick with it, they will show up.
The universe is an abundant place and there’s always a chance for us. Set your course today for the life you want to have and remember that you can do more than you think. The way will find you when you step up, believe in your own dream, and work toward it.
Once you achieve your big dream, remember to pay it forward and encourage someone else who needs a reminder of what’s possible.
Follow your dreams image via Shutterstock