When I was little, I had an idea in my head of who I wanted to be when I grew up. We all did. Except, my vision was always so much different than my friend’s. I can remember hearing them talk about where they wanted to get married, how may children they would have, what their names would be… I had names, too. Only they were the names of the countries I wanted to see. Names of the designers I would work for. And the names of the labels my closet would contain.
Fast forward to now.
Many of my friends would go on to bring their dreams to life. Most are happily married now, with the children they had wished for. And while their names may have changed (Cinderella seems like a good idea when your 8…), the overall vision of their future is pretty much what they had hoped for. And even if it wasn’t the path I chose for myself, I could not be any happier for them, and the beautiful families they have now brought to a warm and loving reality.
And then there’s me…
Now before you start to think this is a pity post about missing out, I regret to inform you that I have absolutely no intention of doing any such thing, as I harbor no disappointment with myself, or my life. Quite the opposite, actually. I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished, especially within the last few years. I’m proud of the chances I took, and the decisions I have made.
Above all, I’m proud of who I am as a person.
But nevertheless, there has always been one specific area within my life that had room for drastic improvement. Or, rather, the strength and bravery to completely change it. And that area was my career. And trust me- I’m being kind by even using the word “career” to describe it. Because it was never a career to being with. What started out as simple desire to make some money fresh out of college turned into a 10 year journey of… absolutely nothing. Those of you who have been involved with retail can relate to my pain. You can relate to the brutal hours. You’re familiar with the sacrifice of your social life. And for one reason or another, its a life that seems impossible to escape.
Here are just a few reasons I can personally give you.
You see, most of us grew up with parents who told you that if you wanted to be something in life, you needed to work hard. Really hard. Or, you needed to work hard now so you could play hard later. But what they don’t tell you though is that there IS a difference between working hard to fulfill your own dreams, and working hard to simply build someone else’s.
And that’s exactly what I was doing.
Sure, I’ve made a good living. I’ve been able to support myself, even when it seemed unlikely. But while I was making that very living… I wasn’t actually living. I would often joke to people and tell them I had two jobs- one that paid the bills, and one that paid for the experiences.
Retail was my paycheck.
And being a stylist was my escape.
It was being a stylist that kept my original dream alive. It was modeling that offered me the occasional escape. And it was through writing that I was able to stay inspired and focused on what I wanted to be.
On WHO I wanted to be.
And so… I quit. I walked away once and for all from the “career” that in reality had become my prison. I walked away from the “career” that kept me from the family and friends that I love. And above all, I walked away from the “career” that kept MY dream so far from reach.
And its scary as hell.
BUT, I think that’s a good thing. Because its only through fear that I think we become capable of truly knowing ourselves, and achieving extraordinary things. And I realized that in my 10 years of retail, there wasn’t one position I had where I didn’t feel there was someone who could do my job just as good, if not better. From Sales Associate to Assistant Manager to Store Manager. And that’s no longer good enough for me. Its simply not what I’m here for.
I’m here to be indispensable.
Because that was MY dream. To be special. Unique. Unconventional. To do something no one else can do, and then build a career from it.
So I might be 10 years behind, but I’d rather be 10 years behind then not ever being brave enough to even try. Because you need to know your happiness is worth more than your paycheck, and you need to believe your dreams are worth more than title.
And while I have no idea whats going to happen, or where I’ll end up, I can admit that at the same time, and for the first time, my heart could not be happier about the possibilities that lie ahead. Because maybe… just maybe… I’ll get to finally live the life I had envisioned for myself. And do something no one else can do.
I have to.