Nothing is in your life that you aren’t allowing in.
That was a pretty cool thing to realize.
That you, and only you, have the power to include, exclude, add, subtract, move, change, stay the same - you have the power to do all the things to your life.
As I’ve grown into an “adult,” I’ve become more and more wrapped up in what others want. In fact, I’ve probably spent the majority of my adult life doing things for others. Now, I wish that meant what it sounds like, in that I’ve been giving to others - but unfortunately that’s not the case.
I’ve spent the majority of my adult life doing things for others. What I mean, is I’ve spent the majority of my life making decisions, going after goals, changing my personal brand, buying clothes, going on diets, changing my hair - for others.
Okay, not all the time obviously because that would be insanely sad / untrue.
But a lot of the time, this is the case.
As I’ve grown into an “adult,” I’ve lost track of which is which.
Which dream is truly a dream, and which dream is a dream so that I can shout it from the rooftops and be seen.
The difference between what I want and what I want for others has becomed blurred. The difference between if I actually want something or if I want something so I can tell others I have something has become harder to grasp.
And I guess it’s weird, because as you grow older, you’re supposed to become more secure in doing things for you and not for anyone else - or so they say in the section for self-help. But what I’ve realized more than anything, is this mid-twenties time is weird. You’re confused about a bunch of stuff - from your finances, to what cleaning product to use, to your career - you’re pretty damn confused.
And for me, unfortunately, what I’m the most confused about, is what actually makes me, me.
I remember on a car ride home in college from a (very fun) spring break in San Diego, we were all an absolute mess and insanely tired, so my friend asked us all a question to keep the conversation going.
As you do on long road trips - we went deep.
“What is your biggest regret?”
I immediately knew my answer.
“Not pursuing ballet as a career and moving for high school to train.”
You see back in the day, I was really good at ballet. So good, that I was considering going to a performing arts high school to train and become a professional dancer by trade.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t go.
I think about this a lot. I wonder what life would be like had I chosen a different path. Because I do miss dance, I did love dance - and I was good at dance.
But dance, oddly enough, it wasn’t the life for me.
Today I realized that I make lots of decisions for others. I make them so that I can post on social media that I got promoted, took an awesome job, finished a professional program. I make them so I can dream about when I go to my 10 year high school reunion and tell everyone what I’ve been up to.
And in doing so, I realized that my biggest regret - was maybe, actually - the one time in my life I actually did something for me.
For what I wanted.
Because the truth is, I would have been praised. I would have been talked about as the girl that moved to train. I would have had all those things.
Instead, I chose to stay in Montana, go to normal public high school, and enjoy my friends.
And then again I made the same decision, because, that didn’t have to be the end. I could have trained at home and then gone to dance after high school.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t go.
Instead, I chose to go to an out-of-state college and have a normal collegiant experience which was something I knew I wanted to do. I danced a bit, but it wasn’t my focus.
And while I struggle, probably weekly, with my decisions with ballet and if I made the right one or if, somehow, I could still go back to be a star - I know now that I did what was right.
Because I made a choice for me.
I did what I wanted.
Not for the praise, the recognition - for others.
I did it for me.
Ever since I was 14, I wanted to move to Boston. I had trained there for, you guessed it, ballet, and it then became the dream. I, once I graduated college, would move to Boston to live and work and be free and do great things for the sake of doing great things.
And it is what I wanted. I remember once before I got my job - I thought another offer had come through. I was so happy I was nearly throwing up - I was literally physically ill with happiness. So, I mean, it definitely is what I wanted to do.
But again, as I grew into an “adult,” as the days, months and years went on in my career - I started becoming obsessed with my image and personal brand. Obsessed with doing things for others. The Boston dream became more about being able to put “Boston” in my Instagram bio than about moving and living and working and being free and doing great things for the sake of doing great things.
It became a countdown. When could I post about it? When could I tell everyone? They’re going to think I’m so cool. This is what I have to do. This is my destiny.
The line became blurred. Looking back, I know that I lost track of what I wanted and what I wanted for them. I know this because as soon as I got here I was scheming up the next big thing that I could tell. I was dreaming up how to be better - to be great.
I forgot to live and work and be free and do great things for the sake of doing great things.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting (shocker). I’ve been working through some of my mental blocks and self-destructive habits. I’ve been failing often, but I’ve been getting back up each and every time. I’ve been thinking about what I want and where I want to go.
I’ve been in Boston a year. A year is what I always said I had to do. I had to do it a year, and then I had to see what I wanted next. I had to think about if I wanted to move back to Nevada or Montana or go to NYC or stay put. I had to.
Why did I have to?
Nothing is in your life that you aren’t allowing in.
You, and only you, have the power to include, exclude, add, subtract, move, change, stay the same - you have the power to do all the things to your life.
I guess I never realized that. I guess I thought I had to do certain things because I had to look a certain way to other people.
What would they think if I left to go home before a year was up? What would they think if I settled down in a Massachusetts suburb and stayed forever? What would they think if all I ever did was be a Social Media specialist?
What would they think?
That’s the stupidest part of this whole thing.
No one in my life has ever made me feel like I had to do anything. I’ve gotten encouragement, sure. I’ve had people believe in me, absolutely. But I’ve never been anything less than 100 percent supported by my network / tribe.
This notion that I “have” to do certain things with my clothes, my location, my brand, my body, my hair, my career - my life - that all comes from me.
That all comes from me, and me alone.
The truth is, Boston was the dream - is the dream. A lot of the clothes I buy and haircuts I do are what I actually want. My job is actually what I want to be doing. My goal of blogging and speaking and writing a book and eventually teaching and having a family are actually what I want to do.
But I don’t want to wake up in 15 years realizing that while I did accomplish my dreams and goals - I wasn’t fully present to see them.
Where was I?
I was thinking about how I can tell people about it. I was thinking about the recognition I could get. I was worried that it was never going to be enough. I was thinking about the next thing. I was focusing on what I needed to do. I was focusing on what I had to do.
I was focusing on what I should do.
I was focusing on lies.
I don’t want that for myself, and I sure as hell don’t want that for any of you.
Regardless of what your dreams are, what you want your life to look like, or what you do or don’t want out of your time on this Earth - it all becomes really cool when you realize that you can change those at any time.
It all becomes really cool when you realize that you are in charge of what is in your life. You’re in charge of your job, you’re in charge of your spending habits, you’re in charge of the food you eat, the way you move, where you choose to focus. You’re in charge of the clothes you wear and the way you do your hair. You’re in charge of the people in your life and who you converse with. You’re in charge of where you live, how you live, what books you read. You’re in charge of deciding if you want to build a family now or later or never. You’re in charge of if you want to drink or you don’t want to drink. If you want to practice yoga or if you don’t.
You’re in charge of changing it today. You’re in charge of looking around and realizing you might not want to change a damn thing at all.
I’m sorry, but how cool is that?
I think as we grow up we feel set in the path we have chosen. And don’t get me wrong, I get it that finances, and your degree, and your experience, and your family, and your health, and a million other things come into play here. I’m not saying we can all jump on a plane to Thailand to live for a year because that’s what we want now (I sure as hell cannot).
But we can change. We can pivot. We can be anything we damn well please. We can make small shifts - we can work toward things. We can change the way we are or the way we feel, think, and believe.
And we can not. We can realize that maybe, just maybe, the lives we’ve built are actually exactly what we want. We can realize that while we spend so much time thinking about ways to be better - thinking about ways to change - we can realize that maybe there’s a reason we are the way we are, and maybe nothing needs to be done.
Because maybe we’re happy, and maybe we don’t need to do things so that we look a certain way to other people.
I was walking with my friend yesterday, and we were talking about others. We were talking about how our friends have kids, are married, are in committed relationships, live near their families, have roots set down, have cars, own businesses, have graduate degrees, own homes, have the self-control to own an alcohol collection that doesn’t get emptied after one weekend with friends.
We were talking about how we’re almost 27, are single, are living in a city far from home with a very small network of new friends, are often confused about our paths, and also just spent the last of our spending budget for the month on mimosas because we were locked out of the house.
We were talking about all of this - and then I realized something.
I mean, obviously there are things I’d like to change and grow in in my life such as my faith, my self-talk, my spending, my ability to drink a few glasses of wine and call it a night (or lack there of ability), my cooking abilities, my relationship with food and fitness - the list goes on.
But why do I sit here and constantly think I’m in the wrong place? Why do I constantly think I need to do XYZ because so and so is doing it and I need to do it and I have to do it and I should do it because I need to tell them I did it and I have to tell them I did it and I should tell them I did it because I need recognition that I did it and I have to get recognition that I did it and I should get recognition that I did it.
Because you know what? Maybe I am almost 27 and spend my budget on mimosas. Maybe I do live in a city away from loved ones because I’m exploring and learning and growing. Maybe I do want to party and meet people and be dumb and not settle down yet. Maybe I do have a lot to work on but maybe I do have the time in my life to do it. Maybe I do love social media and being a manager and working a lot and writing and sharing things. Maybe I do like that I love people and prioritize social things over a lot else.
Maybe I’m just fine where I’m at.
Because maybe I’m happy.
So maybe I won’t have a big social media update coming up where I announce the next big thing. Maybe I won’t be able to go back home and tell everyone all the cool things I did or am doing (though now I realize that what I’m doing is pretty cool, too). Maybe I won’t need to scheme up the next big thing or FEEL THE NEED TO DO THINGS BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I SHOULD DO. Or maybe I will make a change. Maybe I will do whatever I want.
Maybe that’s where I’m at.
Maybe that’s where you should be at too.
I set a lot of restrictions for myself in my life in an attempt to fulfill what I think I “should” do in the eyes of others. From my schedule, to what I’m going to do with my career, to where I’m going to live, to the food I eat, to what I’m “supposed to do” with my freetime - it’s insanely planned out and boxed in. This leads me to self-destruct - to defy the boundaries I have set for myself.
So now I’m giving myself permission.
I’m giving myself permission to go be a hermit in Maine if that’s what I want to do. I’m giving myself permission to eat a pizza because I want to eat a pizza. I’m giving myself permission to become a singer if I want to become a singer. I’m giving myself permission to be okay and, dare I say it, proud of who I am and what I’ve built for myself today.
And maybe, I’m giving myself permission to love myself. Because maybe if I practice that enough, maybe one day I won’t feel the need to be recognized or approved by others.
Because maybe I’ll have enough self-love and belief in myself that that part of me is no longer void.
I’ll leave you with this. You’re in charge. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing as long as you’re happy (and are a contributing member of society okay). You don’t need to do things for others’ approval - you need to do things for your approval - your happiness. You want to keep the difference between doing things because you want to do them and doing things because you think other people will think it’s cool INSANELY clear. You’ve got to realize that your life is created by you. You’ve got to realize that if you want to move, you can. If you want to give up, you can. If you want to start going to church, you can. If you want to go vegan, you can. If you want to keep your life exactly the way it is, you can.
You’ve got to realize that you have the permission slips in your pocket - and you’re the one signing off.