First, I want to just give a shout out to all of the wonderful people in my life who’ve encouraged and supported me through this first year – especially my boyfriend. Thank you all! And thank YOU, for actually reading this! I’m humbled and honored that you’d even want to read it. I hope it inspires you in your journey. 😀
I started this blog one year ago, today. I’ve been wracking my brain for days/weeks trying to figure out what to say, how to update you on this past year’s progress. I’d love to tell you that I’m now a best-selling author and I’m touring the world inspiring others. But of course, real life is so much more complex than that. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m decidedly not a best-selling author, yet. 😉
I’d like to share a story with you.
When I was 10 years old my family threw a party at our local water-park, Windsor WaterWorks. It was an uncharacteristically gloomy August day in Sonoma County. Gray clouds covered the sky and threatened rain with occasional random drops here and there.
“It’ll clear up,” my dad said, as we packed our car and piled in. It was a special occasion, a joint 6th birthday party for my cousin Vincent and my brother, Luke. We were not about to let a few clouds get in the way of the celebration.
The clouds began to dissipate a little as we arrived at the park. Before the adults could set down the bags of party supplies at the picnic tables under the oak trees, we kids started begging to go on the water slides. I was so excited. We had driven by this freeway-side water park so many times and now there we were, about to actually glide down the water slides into the pools below. Vincent, Luke, Aunt Victoria, my Mom and I headed toward the first tower of slides. At the bottom of the wooden staircase an attendant handed us flimsy, blue foam mats.
“Which slide do you want to go on first Andrea? Level 1 or Level 2?” my aunt Victoria asked, her hand on my shoulder. Mom stood just behind her, an inquisitive smile on her face.
“Let’s do Level 1 first and then I want to try all four slides!” I bubbled excitedly. I could picture myself sliding down, feeling the wind in my hair, the rush of the water splashing my cheeks. My mom and aunt followed close behind as my cousin and brother hurried up the stairs ahead of me. As we crisscrossed back and forth, going higher and higher, I looked down. My heart jumped up into my throat. Oh, god what had I gotten myself into? We were up so high. The wooden beams didn’t seem so strong now. As we walked under the blue fiberglass slide it would shake and sway a little as the shadow of a person slid quickly past. When we reached the top I could see the twists of the blue tube and the small pool below. It didn’t look nearly big enough to catch a person flying down the slide at those speeds.
At the top, my cousin and brother flung down their blue mats with ease; one after another sitting and scooting themselves off into the tube slide. It was my turn. I stepped into the little pool of water at the top of the slide. I could feel the water pulling, rushing past my legs and down the slide. The attendant waved for me to put my mat down. I looked back at my mom, eyes wide, face contorted with utter dread.
“It’s ok hunny, you wanted to do this, remember?” she attempted to reassure me, with a smile.
“It’s ok, Andrea, just sit on your mat, you’ll see it’s not that bad.” my aunt said. She stepped into the pool beside me. I laid my mat down on the platform carefully and held my aunt’s hand as I positioned myself on it.
“I can’t do it, I’m too scared,” I squirmed, realizing the error of my ways, as the water rushed past my hands.
“C’mon, Andrea, if Luke and Vince can do it, you can too. We’re coming down right after you.” Mom pleaded. The attendant grimaced at us and impatiently asserted for me to go. The line was backing up behind us. I looked down at the tube again.
Unbeknownst to me, Mom motioned to Aunt Victoria to just go ahead and push me, that’d I’d be fine.
“Trust me,” she whispered to my aunt. All of the sudden I felt a firm push on my back and I was sliding into the tube. I screamed, flung my legs out to the side and slowed down a little. I hung on to my little blue mat with a white-knuckled, abalone grip. Taking a breath, I realized I was actually having fun. I splashed into the little pool at the end of the slide. Surfacing, I blew the water out of my nose, and swam to the side.
“What took you so long?” my brother whined, hand on his hip, smile stretching across his face. His white-blond hair swept back by the water.
For the rest of the day I rode that slide, and only that slide, nearly non-stop. Mom knew best.
Last year I was able to push myself to start pursuing my dream before I was ready to. (Thanks for the lesson, Mom) It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I flailed about in the beginning, trying to get my bearings. But let me tell you, now, I am having such a good time! I am so excited and fulfilled, knowing I am actively participating in crafting my dream. I don’t have the guilt nagging away anymore. That “I really should start that book someday” feeling is gone because I started it, and I’m doing it, day by day, making my dream come true. Every day is not a cake-walk, but it’s so much better than before.
Here are just some of the things that have changed since I committed to following my dream, one year ago:
- The universe has aligned in ways I can’t be specific about yet, but I am blown away by how things have fit together and worked out this year. I feel like I have a new life.
- I left two jobs that were no longer right for me.
- I started going back to school –and I LOVE it!
- I did several personal writing challenges – writing every day for 30, 60 & 90 day increments
- I met some amazing new people who share the writing lifestyle
- I started reading and doing the exercises in The Artist’s Way, as well as other creativity-building activities.
- I write every day, except weekends. (But sometimes those too)
- I feel happier, more peaceful and more fulfilled.
- I have learned so much about writing, and how there is so much more to learn. Ha ha.
- My relationship with my children has deepened – no easy task with teenagers.
- My relationship with my boyfriend has deepened.
- My children are happier and more actively pursuing their dreams.
- I started actively writing the memoir I have wanted to write for the past decade.
- I can now see the vision of my dream coming to life in vivid lines and color. And boy, is that a good feeling.
So, I’m not telling you all of this to toot my own horn. Far from that — I want you to know that no matter who you are and where you are in life you can start making your dream come true – today. But the key is you have to START and fully COMMIT to it.
For some it might be baby steps and others may have tons of time to devote to it. But I share this with you to show you that it’s not necessarily going to happen in an instant. It’s a hard, fantastic road, and you may, like me, not make it all happen in the first year (or more). But that doesn’t matter. It will happen. When it is meant to. But know this, even if things aren’t going great, when you’re doing all you can to pursue your life’s purpose, there is a peace and happiness that transcends the fear.
If you haven’t started yet, consider this your push!
(Oh & hey, if you still aren’t sure what your dream is that’s ok, keep exploring, it took me years to finally realize what my dream was.)
[Curious how it started? See my first post.]