Embrace creativity. Live purposefully.
I don’t think there’s a single person anywhere who has ever not wanted to be like someone else at least once in their lifetime.
We grow up being asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and the only point of reference we have is other people.
I never knew what I wanted to be as a kid so I copied the answers of other kids I liked, which was mostly to become a veterinarian.
Now if you knew my track record with pet care you’d know this was not the most viable career path for me. But that was my answer for a while, and it was acceptable.
Growing up, we’re exposed to the message, ‘Be yourself,’ which is an awesome message because you can’t be someone else as well as they can, they’ll always have the distinct advantage of already being that person. But as we make mistakes and fail to fit into boxes set out for us by others (which, might I add, is a vital part of growing up) we begin to experience the disappointment of others. So we start to mold our polite reactions, our jobs, our whole lives to what’s acceptable to other people. In doing this we begin to lose sight of our true selves.
We may secretly hold onto our dreams but we put it off for after marriage, and our careers, and kids, and maybe when we retire people would stop being so concerned with our lives because we’ve ticked all the acceptable life boxes already. We put off our heart’s desire to satisfy the desires of others for our own lives.
I’m re-reading The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, a fable about a young shepherd boy who sells his sheep to go in search of his treasure, and one quote that stands out for me is this:
He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.
This quote is an observation made about a baker who dreamed of travelling as a young man but decided to buy a bakery and put some money aside to spend a month in Africa when he’s an old man.
Is that not just the saddest thing?
This past weekend I heard Mary Lambert’s, Secrets, playing on the radio, and the lyrics stuck with me.
The pre-chorus goes like this:
They tell us from the time we’re young
To hide the things we don’t like about ourselves
I know I’m not the only one who spent so long attempting to be someone else
Well I’m over it.
The song goes on to say how she really doesn’t care if the world knows what her secrets are. And I like that, because our secrets shape us, our secret dreams should be our only dreams, and you should never want to be a vet when it’s really reading you enjoy, and freedom. Then maybe you should write, because you’ll never find your purpose on someone else’s path.