(WIP ~ Circus illustration, as yet untitled)
I was one of those people who, when asked as a child what they wanted to be when they grew up, had no idea. Well, what I mean to say is that I knew deep down what I wanted to do, but I never dared to admit it out loud. I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to draw pictures for books.
I have to admit that I didn't have the courage to follow my heart back then and I wandered aimlessly through my teens without a clue of which career would substitute what I really wanted to do, and one which would please my family. There was a very strong feeling back then of having to make one single career choice that would span a lifetime. Somehow inside, I knew that this was not only an impossible decison to make at the age of 16, but also a ridiculous one.
All of my friends seemed to have Plans. They knew they wanted to be in Catering, or Beauty Therapy. They wanted to be Social Workers, Nurses, Engineers and Mechanics and they all enrolled on the appropriate courses whilst I took on three A-levels, two in subjects I didn't even really like.
And so I began to pretend. I pretended I wanted to have a career in art history and I applied to Sheffield Polytechnic for a course in the History of Art, Film and Theatre. I wasn't very excited by it, I just felt that I was pleasing a whole heap of people by doing this. Needless to say, when my grades weren't high enough to be accepted for the course, I wasn't too disappointed.
It seemed the next stage was to find some form of employment, and so continuing to ignore my deepest desires, I pretended I wanted to be a receptionist and I went out and got a job being a receptionist. It didn't fulfill me - and I hated wearing a suit (I'm absolutely not a suit person). The people who I worked with were great, but the job itself was dull and I turned into one of those people who become an automaton 5 days of the week and only came alive on a friday evening when it was time to go to the pub with my friends. I would get a tight knot in my belly on Sunday evening too - the party was over for another weekend; it was time to go back to work.
I knew I couldn't go on like that. I couldn't slumber away week in, week out, counting down the days of this precious life waiting for my retirement where I'd finally have the time to do what I wanted to do.
Following the path of convention and pleasing other people had led me right off track. I was in my mid thirties before I began to live the life I had always dreamed of living, and it's all happened with a million little baby steps too. My careers advisor would have had a fit because I had heaps of jobs before I got to this point ~ I was a chambermaid, waitress, shop assistant, tele-sales assistant (that one lasted half a day), payroll officer, sign maker...but they all helped to shape me in some way, and they all helped me identify the things that I didn't want to do in my life.
I wonder how many people in the world gave up on their dreams and desires because they weren't encouraged, they were scared, they didn't know how to begin or they were worried that their folks might not approve?
I wanted to write this post because I sometimes receive emails from people who tell me that they wish they had done with their lives what I am doing with mine; but that they've left it too late, that it's easy for people like me.
I wanted to write that age doesn't have to be an obstruction for following your desires. Even if you have spent your life doing Something Else, it's not too late and it can be easy for you too, you just have to take the first tiny step and give it a try.
As well as these kind of emails, I've also had some from people who are in their sixties and seventies and have just started taking dancing classes and painting lessons. I've had one from someone who has been too busy parenting for twenty years to create, and has just done their first drawing again after all that time.
I absolutely love to hear stories like these, of people taking a chance to rediscover their creative spirit and do what they love. You can start living the life you've always dreamed of, right now in tiny chunks wherever you are in life. Just think of one little thing that you could do today that would begin to make this real for you. I'm not telling you to hand in your notice at work, or turn your life upside down, but I am inviting you infuse a little bit of what you dream of doing into your life now. What about it? What are you waiting for?
If you'd like to start, a great place to begin is the Being Creative Project. It's a group where me and a whole heap of other people share art and support one another during the process. You can find out more by clicking the link above, and don't forget when you sign up to the mailing list, you receive a free copy of my mini e-book!
I'll be back, hopefully very soon with a bit of a CROCHET REVEAL...not wanting to give the game away too much, I am referring to a BLANKET that looks a bit like this...
Oh the excitement...it's only needing a couple of rows and it's done!! Oh, and lots of ends to be weaved in, but hey-ho it shall be completely worth it methinks!
I'll see you soon - have a gorgeous, sun~filled weekend!
Much love, and thank you for visiting and reading,