It’s your time to shine. Yes, you read me right. Your time. To shine. Think about it. You are a frail human in a tumultuous world. You can’t count on tomorrow. And you can’t afford to defer your dreams to some far-off future that may never come. It is time now to start living your life the way you want to live it. The time to shine – is now.
Many of us think we’re living a good and ethical life when we martyr ourselves for others. We are happy when we give to others, and that’s fine, but we shouldn’t forget to give to ourselves. We think, “I have to make mom and dad happy and go into medicine as they expect.” We think, “My husband wants to live in this expensive neighborhood, but I’d rather live a simpler life.” We think, “I have to do everything for everybody but save no time to do things for myself.” When we bury our own desires and dreams for a better life, we’re robbing our own authenticity.
We even fall prey to caring what the Jones’ think when we consider following our dreams. We think, “I have to drive a certain car, and live a certain lifestyle, and dress a certain way, or they won’t respect me.”
Well, you know what? The Jones’ are the most uninspired people in the Universe, and probably the least happy. Their opinions are absolutely to be ignored.
Listen to me. You are the creator of your life. You and only you. So, what do you want? Life is short and your days are numbered. So get to work thinking about what will make you truly happy. It’s your time to shine.
Let me tell you my story. I was living the American dream: big house in the ‘right’ neighborhood, two cars, husband, kids, and a dog. I had the degrees to prove I was intelligent and well-heeled, as did my husband. We took care of our property well, making certain the windows gleamed and the grass was green. I dolled the kids up for church on Sundays and sat in the front row. But this was all like painting our toenails when we had broken feet. Or, as my husband likes to say, “putting lipstick on a pig.” Everything was perfect, and yet something was missing. We were living the dream. But it wasn’t necessarily our dream.
Then both my mom and my father-in-law died of cancer in 2010, throwing us out of stride. As we stood at the sides of two hospital beds and watched our beloved parents fade from this world, we faced our own mortality. This game doesn’t last forever. We better get on with living while we’re still on this side of our manicured grass.
After my mother died, I faced a lot of personal fears. I was afraid to admit what I wanted, afraid to say who I really was, afraid to try, and afraid to fail. I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of what people would think, afraid of standing out, and even worse, afraid of blending in. I was deathly afraid of fading into a depressing, gray life with no spark. I was afraid to die without really ever having lived.
I began to slowly face these fears and conquer them, one by one. I allowed myself to have time to decide what I truly want from this life. If it was my turn to die, what would I want to say I’d accomplished? I wanted to be a great mom and wife, spends all kinds of time being inspired by people and experiences, write books, write articles, write my blog at renaissancehousewife.com, and travel.
My mother gave me life 37 years ago. By dying, she brought a second life for me. The day she took her last breath was the day I reevaluated what this life is all about. Through the grief and pain of losing her, a sharp and insistent thought began appearing in my mind, “If you don’t follow your dreams now, you never will. Live the life of your dreams. Screw convention. Live true to yourself.”
That was the beginning of the new me. Today, I am writing and getting published. I’m spending hours and hours of simple, joy-filled time with my husband and family. And we’re traveling. We’re now living for six months in an off-the-grid home, on the sea, in Belize, with more dreams on the way.
Life is good. But this life didn’t just happen to me. I made it happen for myself. There is no dream fairy, folks. If you’re waiting for a tap on the shoulder to get started, this is it.
Following your dreams is not the simple path. It’s certainly not the easiest path. You very likely will disappoint others that you’re not doing things their way. Be kind to them. Be loving. But be firm in your resolve to make your own way. Because the path you choose for yourself is the only one on which you’ll find true joy.
Whose dream are you living? Your own, or someone else’s? Now is your time to shine. So get out there and make your dreams happen.
Guest Article By: Domini Hedderman
Domini Hedderman is a blogger and travel writer. For more tips, advice, and lessons learned on the road, follow her story at renaissancehousewife.com.