How are are you treating yourself? Is this life what you’ve made it, or is this life making you? I know the feeling of both, so I know how to help you with your insight.
It all started back when I was in my twenties. I was optimistic, ambitious, but then found myself suddenly lost. Yeah, I just knew I was going to be in the field of psychology. One way or another. I cringed at the thought of enduring a master’s program just to become one, but that’s mainly because my professor in undergrad unintentionally made it sound so daunting, but he was being truthful. I didn’t want to hear about math. Are you kidding me? See, this is why authoring and I go hand in hand. I just apply math to count my coins. 😂😂😂
Okay, so really, let’s just say that I got off track when I lost my brother. No real direction or motivation, just forced to trudge along and to get excited about the future. I didn’t know it, but inside, I was dying.
The girl who was hopeful growing up, assertive, positive, self-assured, had become a shadow of herself. What would it take to get back to who I needed to be? I mean, my twenties felt silly. I was all over the place while touching nothing. It was me and teaching. I was effective at that and if you wanna know how to raise a successful child and how to parent with ease, I got you. I can sell a book on that, and I probably will. But in my twenties, I did so much soul searching, my soul ended up running from me just to get away from my flashlight. You understand what I’m saying? Sometimes, we look so deep, too deep, in fact, that there’s nothing to see. Nothing to find.
That’s because, your flashlight turns black. Even a new pack of batteries won’t turn it back on. What to do now but to look stupid in the dark in your own life?
Boo! Turn the lights back on, silly? Did I scare you! Ha! Calm down. I’m alive!!!
In my twenties, I was the most dead. I was beaming with life up until twenty-three. Bear with me: My brother was diagnosed in April 2003, I turned 23 in May 2003, so not knowing exactly how the cancer would change things, that steals who you are bit by bit. Would I lose my brother who felt more like a twin? That kills the spirit. The ups and the downs of the sickness. He’s in remission, he’s not. The chemo’s taking. It’s not! So by May 2004, he passed on Memorial Day, a week and a day after my birthday/college graduation. I died that day, too.
With eyes wide open and air in my lungs, I still died. Now, this is not to make you sad. This is to recount the day I knew my life was no longer going to plan. And that kills a person’s soul. Soul searching can be liberating after a divorce, after you lose friends, a job—whatever. But it’s always scary!!! Who will you meet inside of you? But after a death, it’s indescribable.
I mean, I thought I was alive. I smiled, laughed, cried, prayed, ate. I did everything like others. But my light was dim. And it was fading with each year. Do you think anyone could tell? Nope. I’m not that kind of person to show that. I had a person to be. I wasn’t necessarily faking it. I just knew that this was a showdown that God and I had to battle together because these mere mortals couldn’t do anything about my pain. Not my mom, not my other brother, not my man, not my friends. Just God and me.
I didn’t know what to do for a living. And that was a problem! I made money, bought car after car, went clothes shopping, but I was still poor. I was poor, because I wasn’t planning. I was poor, because I wasn’t climbing. I was poor, because I had too many aspirations but no affirmations. I didn’t have a clear vision. I was poor, because I didn’t know what dream I was waking up to accomplish per day. I was just waking up and reporting to work. I was reading self-help books. I devoured them! From beauty, finances, business-starting, vegetarian lifestyle, to love, I was devouring these books. At one point, I even enrolled in cosmetology school after seeing those commercials one too many times. Darn those ads! Guess how long that lasted after convincing myself that standing over someone’s head was my passion. Cue the eye roll here. But in America, you’re taught to be someone! Doesn’t matter if you don’t own that person, just be her! She’s gotta be successful and employed! Be. Someone. America doesn’t care how you get there, or how much money you spend educating yourself. Your parents and the school counselors throw you into college out of fear of you losing momentum to learn. You gotta hurry up! Know who you want to be by 18! Those kids will be born and you won’t have time for college! Gooooo!
Well, yes, and no.
It’s got to be a collaborative effort. Parents need to pay attention to their children’s natural interest when they’re in preschool. Too many times, parents try to reroute kids back to “what pays.” You know what pays, parents? Passion! So when they get to high school, the counselor can feel like they’re ready for college. Do you really want your child to spend thousands in a program that may not work? Remember those young adults who attend Mom and Dad’s house for dinner, and over mashed potatoes and steak, they gotta tell their parents that they’re not gonna attend law school because they realized how much they love blah, blah, blah? Yeah. True, we “find” our passion late in life, but remember you are your most truest as a kid. Were you steered from the arts and craft section of class and redirected back to science? Did your parents cringe when they found out you loved to play more than recite numbers? You were probably more blunt until a loved one told you to hold back your tongue. You saw the world from a view of possibilities and yesses before people started to spill a bunch of ‘no’s’ into your pool of possibilities. You saw things logically, cut and dried. Remember as teen spitting this advice? If someone doesn’t love you, leave them. But you see adults crying to make a choice that they see is clear, because hearts get in the way and we try to glue things without any adhesion. Yeahhhhh. Try gluing Saran Wrap against a sheet of paper using tomato sauce. Does that work? No. Kids are simple. Adults are complicated. We overthink. We develop fear as something natural. I remember one author in my self-help book write that babies fall over and over and keep getting up because the idea of ‘can’t’ doesn’t occur. They eventually learn how to walk! It’s the adults who seep negativity in. How right he is!
Maybe I blogged about this before, but when I was three, I taught myself to read and write. When I was growing up, I devoured Anne M. Martin books and R.L. Stine and then Harlequin novels as a young adult. I aced English my whole life (till one course in community college showed me how awful I was at writing a formal paper. She didn’t knock my butt into shape though) and by 18, I decided to write short stories because a book seemed impossible. I’d make it no more past 10 but when on to college anyway to major in English to become an author. See where I’d be today had I not chickened out and went to psychology? I was AFRAID of not having money as an author. I chose money over passion, and I would never do that again. But do you see how childhood shaped me for my adulthood? I didn’t ask to be great with vocab or to pick up writing, spelling, and reading with little effort? I didn’t ask to love devouring books like a hungry man does food after work. This was all innate, and I say my purpose from God. And when we feed the purpose, we feed our souls. Needless to say, I don’t need no flashlight, I am my own light.
So many headaches could be avoided if we just do what comes naturally and leave out the equation of money. Yes. Life requires money. You gotta pay rent, mortgage, car note, and all that goodness. But at some point and to a certain degree, money as an incentive has to take a backseat. Your happiness has to be the driver so you don’t crash. Is there a way to let your happiness make you money so that they become inseparable like my brother and me?
I’m rich now! I wake up with a purpose. We writers have a rule that if something doesn’t push your plot forward, it must go. Well, my life is like that and yours should be, too. My choices are intentional, and if they don’t push my life forward, I don’t engage. It’s as simple as that. I breathe better, I now pray more for others even when I need it for myself. I give more ‘thanks’ to God than before and without following it with a need. Don’t waste time with a constant focus on money. I have people in my inner circle with great salaries, but they’re tired. They want something else. Can you blame them? We’re put here to fuel our dreams and when you forget about your passion for the sake of money, you forget to dream and you’ve already fallen asleep! Some people say, “My dream is to make money!” I shake my head. At least say sales is your dream. Usually people in some sort of pyramid setup or sales say this. Money is the result of some kind of work performed which means that it’s always gonna come anyway. That’s conditional. If we work, then we’ll get paid.
Now, let me clarify, that this is not to bash anyone’s choices or to make anyone feel bad. And this is not to say that I don’t have my days. I still feel like my hope is as deep as the pockets in my jeans some day. Had it been anything but my passion, I would’ve quit by now. Being an author is around the clock work with many tasks that NEVER end. There is no clocking out. You stop to eat, sleep, take time for loved ones. However, if we’re intentional and passionate, it doesn’t feel like work, but play. No one will have to convince you to do anything. You won’t believe that you get paid to do something that brings happiness! You’ll eat, drink, and sleep this. Even the headaches of it all won’t convince you to quit. When things look bleak, you’ll refuse to give up on yourself. It doesn’t matter if you work for someone or for yourself.
If you can relate to those points, then congratulations, you know your purpose in life. And if you don’t know what that passion is, look toward your childhood and think of what you gravitated to most. Ask those who witnessed your development. What do you gravitate toward now? Don’t overthink it or I swear I’ll beat you down! Forget about then concerns and don’t block your brain. Don’t say, “Ohhh, if I didn’t have kids or well, when this is not a factor”—stop! Just reflect without worry of elements. Think. Connect. Be honest. What would you love to do without caring what it took to get there? What don’t you tire of? What do you do well?
When you realize your purpose, you get passionionate. When you work with passion, you’ll have focus. When you have focus, you’ll have happiness!
**Stop by tomorrow, and I’ll share my view of aging from the eyes of a thirty year old.
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