Do you ever feel like you’ve landed in the wrong life?
I don’t mean the I hate my life, I wish I had her life!!! kind of landing. But this kind—– This is not where I planned to be when I was a little person dreaming about being a big one!!!
My first dream was to be a customer in a store. My mother always taught me, AIM FOR THE STARS!! I thought it would be fun to go shopping and buy broccoli and carrots and potatoes and go home and make soup!?!?!? SO MUCH FUN that I go grocery shopping only when I am starving and the cupboards are bare…thankfully, Mr P does groceries!!! Then I thought it would be fun to get married and have kids. Yup TONS OF FUN that was! Fun plus laundry and dishes. TONS of laundry and dishes!!!
Finally, I settled on my big dream …. I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables! I had an imagination as big as hers plus I was an accident waiting to happen! I even tried to dye my hair red with beet juice….ended up with a purple face and purple hands for a few days but still the same blonde hair!
As I got older I realized it was actually Lucy Maud Montgomery that I wanted to be – the person who created the Annes of the world … A writer who dreamed up all these fantastic stories that made people laugh and cry and dream!
I’m tempted to say life got in the way, but truthfully that’s just an excuse. Fear got in the way. I’ve learned an awful lot about fear in my psychology classes and it all sounds pretty technical, but let me put it in simple terms.
I WAS AFRAID THAT I WASN’T A GOOD ENOUGH WRITER AND THAT OTHERS WOULD THINK I’M DUMB AND THEY’D TELL THEIR FRIENDS I’M DUMB SO I DIDN’T WANT TO CHANCE THAT!!!!
well how dumb was that?!
Cause, you see, all those haters would have secretly bought my book because they would have been so curious to see if I actually was dumb, and then I’d be a writer! And I’d be a writer because I decided to write NOT because they bought my book!
here’s the dumbest part….others probably didn’t even think I was dumb!!
It all goes back to that writing contest in seventh grade which I didn’t win. My very first post (60 stories ago!) was all about that!
Here’s the thing people! You know what feels better than writing a story?! Overcoming fear. And so many of us are restricted by fear.
I know a skater who isn’t skating and a model who isn’t modelling and a doctor who isn’t doctoring and an artist who isn’t painting.
Here’s how I’ve learned to handle fear:
- Do it for you …. not for your mother or your brother or cause you’ll be the fifth generation lawyer in the McTusson household!!! Whatever you’re striving for must be YOUR heart’s desire. Then you have no-one to impress but yourself and no-one to follow but your very own beautiful heart.
- Remember the others … okayyyy this sounds strange after #1!!! THE OTHERS WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE!!! Like J.K. Rowling who received 8 rejections before someone took a look at H.P…. Like Morgan Freman who made his acting debut at age 9 but didn’t get a big role until age 52…. Like Vincent Van Gogh who sold only ONE painting in his lifetime but continued to paint until the day he died…Like Michael Jordan who was cut from his high school basketball team….This list goes on and on….I’ve read all their stories, and when I’m afraid I remember them.
- Wear a pantyliner. This is just a general rule for me….in case I sneeze, in case I cough, in case I need to hurry, in case I get excited….you get the picture…
- Think of the alternatives. There’s a couple. You could be dead and have zero opportunities left. You could sit on the couch and eat chips and watch reruns. You could be bitter that life didn’t work out the way you had planned. You could be that person reminiscing in old age, I wonder what could have happened if……?
- Have a Plan B. So this one goes something like this: You want to go back to school at age 48, and you know that everyone is many decades younger than you, and you also have no idea if your mind is sharp enough to remember anything especially since you often find yourself at WalMart and no idea why you went there in the first place….Soooooo…..you tell yourself if it’s too hard or embarrassing or everyone points at you and says in unison You’re too dumb and old – like in the horror movies, you smile, probably dampen your pantyliner a little, get through the next hour, then get the hell out of there never to return!!! Here’s the good news- this is not how the story ever ends! Every time I’ve ever stepped out of my comfort zone, my heart grows, and I end up feeling 27 feet tall!
That first day I stepped into university and I was felling pretty good pantyliner and all , I sent my kids a text Guess who’s 27 feet tall?! I also sent them that text the first time I got an oil change on my own after my divorce at age 47! It’s our thing…when we know we’ve conquered fear because dear god I never feel as tall and strong and wonderful as when I face fear and take it down!
Stop being disappointed because you don’t have the life you anticipated. You have the power. And this world needs some very tall skaters and models and doctors and artists.
And wear a pantyliner. Always wear a pantyliner.