I've been thinking quite a bit about my life this past month. Alas, probably due to the fact I am two years shy of 50. Nothing like 'middle-age' to get you on the path of re-evaluation. And I've realized something. Much of my life has been spent running the gerbil wheel. Oh I've been busy, busy, busy doing "practical" things, always in motion but I never got even close to living the life I wanted.
Don't get me wrong, I've had a pretty decent half-life: worked in a professional theatre in Chicago; helped rescue abused and neglected exotic animals in California; director of a non-profit providing mental health services for abused kids; met and befriended interesting people; traveled and lived overseas several times; established close ties to family members; and maintained good health.
But there was always something nagging at me. A tiny voice telling me this is not where you belong. I think my main problem is that I am a people-pleaser and I hate disappointing them, particularly those closest to me. I've made some incredibly important decisions based on what I thought others wanted me to do, expected of me and sometimes for the plan and simple fact I didn't listen to my gut.
How did that pan out? Well instead of pursuing a life in the creative arts I opted for what my dad wanted me to do, something practical, like International Relations and Business Management. I would carry on that charade for several years, but then something would happen and I'd chuck everything and find myself back in the world of theatre or design. Then I'd get scared and a good paying job would come along and I'd chuck the design and go back into administrative work! And the entire cycle would begin again. That's what I mean by the gerbil wheel...constantly moving and doing but never getting anywhere.
So this year I am opting for something different, the heart path. MY heart path. And that involves creating and designing. It's going to be tough, I have to give up on job security (mind-numbing and soul-killing as it is) and jump. Intellectually I know the net is there, I've always provided for myself, but it's scarey as shit. The one thing I know for certain, if I don't do this, it will be the one regret of my life. It takes great courage to do what you want to do and ignore all those people and internal voices telling you to do otherwise. But I think I've got it in me. So, wish me luck!
What about you? What path have you been traveling?
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." e e cummings