I was chatting with a dear old friend yesterday. We were talking about life in our early 40s vs life in our 20s and 30s. I was eager to say that while I loved my 20s I would never want to go back. I loved the freedom I had to come and go. I loved the fact that I had very few real responsibilities as I was not yet married and had no family to take care of. I loved the fact that I was able to travel and see new places and meet new people. I learned a lot in my twenties and I grew a lot in my twenties. I certainly had a lot of fun in my twenties. But what I did not know then, that I know now, was that I was still young and inexperienced and fairly insecure. I had many jobs in my twenties that I hoped would all pave the way to a successful writing career. One such job was working for a local best-selling author. I assisted her with her manuscript from conception to publication. And it was a most amazing experience. The greatest bit of advice she ever gave me was to wait until I was older to start writing books. "You need to live and experience life to write about it. You cannot write about what you do not know." Those words have remained with me, sometimes dormant, other times not, in the back of my head.
I got married just days after I turned 30 and spent that decade raising my family. Sometimes I wrote and sometimes I didn't. I tried to find other venues to be creative, but mostly I was focused on my family. Being a mother is a full time job. Yes, it is a career of sorts. After all, how you influence and raise your children will affect them and you for the rest of your lives. My 30s were all a very important part of my growing process. While I did not have the freedom and lack of responsibility that I had the decade before, I had one, then two, then three little beings who would teach me things and help me to see the world in a whole new light. What an amazing gift that is! Also, in my 30s, my feelings of self worth and my self confidence started to soar. More great gifts. As I gained in years I also gained in life lessons and experiences. I learned to be patient. I started to sweat the small stuff less and less. (I'm still working on that now!)
When I turned 40 I realized things I had never before realized. I started to hear what my friends were really telling me. I was smart and funny and creative and talented. I never claimed to be Supermom and know that I am not (despite what some friends say and think). Most importantly I have become strong and self confident and finally know that I have what it takes to thrive and succeed. I am working towards new goals -- same old dreams -- and know that this will not happen over night... it may take a year or two. But with the patience that is slowly becoming part of who I am, I know that's Ok. Most importantly, I am learning not to be afraid to take chances and afraid of failure. Failures are often the stepping stones to success. I tell my children this all the time and now it is time to keep reminding myself.
As a young child I was not an early walker and often I would simply avoid trying new things because of fear of failure. I see this so clearly in my youngest. This has been an issue my entire life. But no longer...
Life is about trying and learning and taking chances and living without regrets. And if I don't get to where I want to the first time I find another way to get there. But I will get there!
So to all my 20 and 30 year old friends... have faith, have fun, live, learn, be patient, be strong, make mistakes, and have a little faith in yourself. You can do it!