So what are you thinking now? Maybe it was only a few years ago, and you remember every detail. Or maybe it was decades ago, and you’re still wondering why you ever thought a side pony tail and those huge earrings were a good fashion choice. (We’d love to hear about your “how could I have ever worn that??!!” fashion nighmares, by the way!)
But no matter when you left those, er, um “hallowed halls” of high school, you probably can remember a few other things.
The uncertainty about where life would take you. The excitement of knowing your “real” life was just around the corner. A time of coming into your own, even if you weren’t really sure what that would look like. Seeing your whole life stretched out in front of you.
Then, one day, everything changed.
You graduated and headed off to college or a job or to start a family. And somehow, all that sense of possibility vanished. You chose a major, or you focused on your job or the babies who kept you up all night. Or all of those. And the further you got into “real life” (you know, the kind with bills!), dreaming big dreams or seeing something incredibly different and exciting down the road became harder.
Even without that “world at my feet” feeling, maybe there’s still an itch somewhere. A whisper of an idea that you could do more or be more. Maybe it surfaces briefly when you have a few down seconds, and you think about old dreams. Or maybe a TV show or a movie reminds you of who you used to be…or thought you would be. And sometimes, it’s not something old…it’s something new. A new interest or new idea that won’t go away.
So now what? It’s easy to push your dreams and ideas away if you don’t know what to do next. Is your idea do-able? How do you start on a new career or launch a business or create a website that works? And then….the “later” mentality kicks in. As in “I’ll think about this later, after my kids are grown.” Or later, “after the mortgage is paid off.”
I have news for you, ladies. Later is a REALLY BIG PLACE! And it’s hard to find your way out…unless you do one thing. Ready? Go back to high school.
No, I don’t mean going back and enrolling in a real high school! That would be kinda awkaward…and besides, the backpacks are WAY too heavy!
What I mean is going back to the high school mind. Going back in your mind to the idea that you have your whole life in front of you, and a million choices you can make.
It’s about being mentally 16 and thinking about your life as full of possibilities and excitement. And it’s about learning, with a fresh mind, what’s out there. And how what’s out there,and your dreams, can meet.
Just like when you were thinking about careers and college in high school, you need to learn. Learn what businesses or careers match your dreams. Learn what other people are doing to get into, and succeed in those jobs. Talk to people who have followed new dreams years after the high school and college classes ended. Find meetings and groups that support building new paths. Attend conferences (like MomCom — okay, yeah, I’m biased!) where you can learn from other women who are in various stages of looking for, rediscovering, following and living their dreams.
Jump in. Just like a little kid faced with a gigantic ball pit, just pick a spot and jump in. And keep learning. Find mentors, find friends, find people who believe in your dreams. Be willing to flounder (consider it play!), be willing to look silly, be willing to change your mind a hundred times if you find a better way. Be 16 or 6, if need be. Just see that big, wide open world in front of you.
So what are you waiting for?
Your dreams are out there…and the 4th Period bell is just about to ring!