I’m 44 and I feel like my life has just begun. How is that possible? I have three children, I have been married for 20 years and I have had a fulfilling career however, the excitement, the desire and the drive that I find within feels more like it did in my twenties. What is this and where does this come from?
Allow me to reflect. I am a dreamer and I believe that, in the seemingly impossible, the possible can be found. I know that small steps will always lead to big steps and achievements. I’m a perpetual optimist and choose to dig deep and pull out the gold within, whether it be personally or in relation to others. I’m not afraid of hard work, nor rejection, for both are part of life and understanding that at an early age promises to rid one of burdens that can tend to hold us back. I choose to let challenging things like, rejection and hard work, fuel me rather than rule me.
So, as I look in the rear view mirror and I consider life, I have the unique perspective of being able to see where my dream life and my reality have conflicted. In and through this, I have had to come to terms with the fact that things don’t always happen when we want them to. Whether it be God, the Universe or Karma (for me it’s definitely God), timing simply isn’t always determined by us.
I remember back to my early years in the publishing world when I was a young girl blazing trails, travelling the globe and loving my job. Newly married, my husband’s career taking off and he too was travelling the globe. Unfortunately, our planes and travel plans didn’t always land us on similar soil or even the same continent, rather our plans tended to take us in opposite directions. Through this, I found myself at a critical point where big decisions had to be made. I was at a junction with one road leading to a healthy marriage and the the other a road that looked like it would end with a ‘what could have been’ story.
Not being able to predict the future, my dreams and reality had collided and I was faced with a major decision, or some would consider an easy choice. I needed to decide what I wanted and what really fuelled me. In this I realised that even within the dream hard decisions had to be made and there were times I had to trust beyond what I could see and I needed to step into the unknown, hopeful that once again, as I stepped out, the ground would meet me below.
Obviously, I chose the road that led towards what I hoped to be a healthy, happy marriage. Now, I wish I could tell you that because I chose that road, my married life has been all roses and sunshine. Alas, reality is what it is and we have pursued a strong marriage and worked really hard at it. Some 20 years later I can tell you that we have stories to tell, many highs, definite lows, three amazing children and a richness that only comes with many laughs and tears along the way.
In choosing the first road it meant stepping out on my own and starting my second business, but this time it was all alone. I pulled the papers together, and literally put my name out there and, to my surprise, business came my way. Strangely, when I took the leap of faith and departed from what I thought was the dream job and situation and made a choice that honoured a commitment I had made (my marriage being a pretty big commitment) my dream once again collided with my reality, but in a way that surprised me and even took the dream further. Yes, there were moments, days and weeks of fear, apprehension and uncertainty but the risk seemed to outweigh all the other concerns and as I look, in hindsight of course, I can see that the decision I made then has fuelled so many more over the past 20 years.
I think I needed to do it scared, stepping into the unknown and finding my feet because, had I not done so, I’m convinced I wouldn’t be living the life I am today.
I have a canvas in my bedroom that says ‘She designed the life she loved’. Through dreams colliding, conflicting and refining I believe that I have, and will continue to design such a life. This is something we can all do, one small step and one decision at a time. Imagine designing the life you love.
There are so many other stories that, in time, I will share. There have been seasons of dreams colliding with not just reality but with other dreams as well. I have learnt that slow and steady does, indeed, win the race and, where dreams are found, often great discipline is required. This is something I have learnt and I am ever so grateful as discipline is often the hardest for many of us. Additionally, I have learnt that some dreams are just that, dreams that are possibly placed in our mind and psyche to inspire, motivate and challenge us. Some dreams are meant to be shared and others meant to stay locked in the recesses of our mind. As well, I have learnt that, when sharing dreams, always be wise with who you share them with. Not everyone shares the same zest and zeal for life as you do.
As a working woman and mother I have discovered that conflict and guilt are two things that I deal with on a regular basis. Hence, the constant wrestle with work-life and family balance has been something that I have to tackle, often on a daily basis.
In regards to dreams conflicting I encourage you to take time to listen to your heart and engage your mind and take one small step at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed and if you find yourself sinking or getting stressed, press the pause button. Pause and be kind to yourself and quiet the noise around you so you can refocus, assess where you are and then take a brave step toward your future.
Why do I feel like my life has just begun at 44 years of age? I think because the first 40 years appear to have been the opening chapter, they are complete in themselves yet, as I journey through the next 40 years, I am excited about the opportunity to apply the wisdom I have learnt and to move forward with new confidence. The season ahead is filled with excitement, anticipation and an attitude of hope, trust and faith that will propel me forward.