I have a note posted to my frig that reads ‘If not now, when?” I put it there to motivate me every morning of every day to get my ass in gear to do whatever it takes to live the life that I choose to live.
Like most people, I suppose, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my life trying to please others—to do the so-called right thing whatever that looks like for others—because like most people I want to be accepted. I want to belong. And then I woke up and realized “this is it, baby! You’ve got one life to live and you can either live and enjoy it on your terms, or be filled with regrets at the end of it for all the things you wish that you had done, said or experienced but didn’t." And who would be at fault? ME!
No matter what stories we tell ourselves, the only person stopping us from living the life we imagine, having the things we desire, experiencing all that we would like to, is US! The blame is not with our parents, teachers, bosses, partners, children, spouses, friends, dogs or cats. We can either go after what we want—full-on, no excuses, make or break—or we can play it safe and settle for what we think we’re supposed to have based on other people's opinions, fears, and idiosyncrasies. (Did you ever consider that sometimes when people are advising you to do what's safe, it's because it feels safe for them.)
Growing up, I never wanted to be ordinary and yet somehow I managed to settle into being just that, not willing to take a chance on myself to stand out and be great. So afraid of being ostracized, ridiculed, disowned, or rejected, I settled. I let my dreams of making a huge impact in the world fall away, and fell in step with the expectations of family, friends and society. I learned to color inside the lines. Only a little at first, then a little more, and then a lot.
Again and again, until it was 20 years later and looking in the mirror I realized that I didn’t recognize myself. I had no idea who I was. But, it’s never too late as long as you’re breathing to turn things around.
That’s what I’m doing now—turning things around. And it began with a choice, rather, a series of choices. I am now choosing what I want and going for it, whatever it takes, starting with a change in mindset that it really IS okay to be uniquely me. It's okay to be different. It’s okay to stand out. It’s okay to have my own mind and opinions that don’t agree with those of family, community, political leaders, or clergy. It's okay for you, too. It’s okay to bend the rules or, hell, make up your own!
I’ve decided now is the time to take a chance on me. What about you? If not now, when?
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