The pandemic woke up a Sleeping Beauty/Beast inside some people. Through social media, we know that many have picked up new skills (like knitting, baking, or playing guitar) due to having more time and fewer things to spend it on. A few writers penned fresh book drafts or edited their existing manuscripts. If you are one of the above-mentioned people, I am so proud of you and I hope you are extremely satisfied with yourself as well. While I have been somewhat productive, I feel like I have not maximized on the full potential. At least I keep trying!
While some folks were able to use the coronavirus and quarantine to their advantage, others have been reminded of how difficult life can be. During this past weekend, I spoke with someone who is currently unemployed due to the whole COVID-19 situation. I know this person in real life and am aware of their drive to succeed in life. It pains me to not be able to directly remedy their situation. There are also some people I know through the blogging network that are considering re-branding themselves due to recent/impending job loss.
Cliches and platitudes like: “It will be alright” or “You can do anything” can only take you so far before you realize that the reality is much harsher than the imagination in our heads. While I do believe that things will “work out” in the end, I also believe in putting in the effort instead of laying down and waiting for good things to just come to you.
Even though my friend claims that social interactions drain them, they are always chatting up strangers and making acquaintances. The other day, they struck up a conversation with someone who claimed to have a successful business of their own. Coincidentally, the field they were in, was one my friend was rather familiar with. They were a consultant for a while, however, due to certain circumstances, they never pursued a career in that line of work.
The light I saw appear in their eyes during that conversation with a stranger was impactful. I have witnessed the re-ignition of hope. How exactly did that happen? Well, the stranger shared their life experience with my friend, showcasing that you do not have to be straight out of college to start a new career. You can begin fresh at any time of your life. The stranger did not sugarcoat anything. They did not say: “You can do anything.” Instead, they said: “It took a lot of work, but this is what I did, and here I am now.” This is what we in the writing world refer to as “showing not telling.”
Once we were on our own again, my friend told me why they never pursued a career that they discussed with the stranger. Even though they were handed a great opportunity years ago, apparently, there was someone in their life that stopped them from pursuing it.
Finding out that someone could have been following their dreams but they did not due to someone else’s disapproval really hurt me. I could see the pain in my friend’s eyes. I could see them mourn all these years they have lost because they put someone else before their own self.
Before you all decide to crucify me, please know that I believe in putting others first in certain circumstances. That would be the ideal thing to do. If were all selfless, life would be so much easier. However, I know personal experience that taking other people into consideration when certain, potentially life-altering choices are being made might not be the best route. Often times the other person will either demand more or simply will not be satisfied with you anyway. Or both…
Personally, it would be difficult for me to forgive myself if I had someone tell me: “For you, I chose path A. I was miserable. I really wish I chose path B instead. And now it is too late.”
“I told you that you could do anything,” I said to my friend. “If you only wanted to,” I added. Of course, the “anything” is a bit of a hyperbole. Sometimes things are just out of our reach. However, I find that many people are capable of grand things. The problem occurs when they do not focus on achieving it. When they truly want something and put in the effort, results can be seen, but if they just talk about wanting something, they have nothing to show for.
“What about you?” my friend retorted.
“What about me?” I asked myself.
I am not all words and no action. During recent years and months, I have been trying different things. Exploring. Researching. I am not a fan of overnight change. I much rather prefer the slow but lasting kind. I am constantly working on my writing while trying to advance in the field I currently work in. Things are moving in the right direction but they are taking a minute.
You have all heard about VIPs being “normal people” until they were not. Colonel Sanders (KFC) did not franchise his restaurant until he was in his sixties. Anna Mary Robertson Moses did not start to paint until her seventies. Some artists did not make a name for themselves until they were dead. You will not know if it will work out until you TRY!
With this post, I wanted to remind you of a couple of things:
1. Reach for the stars.
2. While you work on building a tall enough ladder to reach the stars, do what you have to do (dreams will not pay your bills).
3. It is never too late to try something new.
4. Do NOT give up your dreams for anyone, or:
a) You might regret it.
b) You might become bitter.
c) A and B.
- What are you most proud of to have achieved during quarantine?
- Have you been in the same line of work since you became an adult or have you switched things up?
- Have you ever asked someone to base their important decisions on your input?
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