I recently celebrated my 39th birthday.
A few years ago, I found myself lost. I was miserable in my job and yet scared to take the leap – from the security and outwardly great life – to find something else. Was there something out there I would love doing and feel proud of? Could I enjoy the day to day and also feel proud of the work I was accomplishing? I had already held many jobs trying to find ‘The One’ and failing.
After years of wavering (I’m going to leap, no, I’m going to keep this security…back and forth), I did leap. I left a stable full-time job. And I floundered. I held other jobs I didn’t love. I explored other avenues. I was lost and unsure of what was next. I wanted to start my own business, but could I? Did I know what it took? What would I do? How/when would I support myself? Was this another whim or was this the ‘right’ path for me?
My last few birthdays I have felt 40 approaching with some dread. I felt like I had squandered prime years and I told myself that I wanted to feel I had actually accomplished something by 40 (but I worried there wasn’t enough time). Perhaps an arbitrary date, but it felt very important to me and I know I’m not alone in feeling the weight of these milestones.
I started my own business about two years ago now, and at the beginning I continued to flounder. I have been happy since day one – I think I knew I was on the right path – but I had no evidence that “it was going to work.”
But, after all those years of feeling like a lost flounder…I can truly say that today, with one year to go, I am not worried that I will feel I have accomplished something by 40. I already have. I am on the path. It is working and I know I have found a journey that I love and that I am proud of.
It is a journey. But I now do love my day to day, and I have a vision for the future that brings me life and joy. It feels right, like I have found ‘my thing’.
I know I am incredibly fortunate to have the luxury of squandering years to move from the wrong path to the right one. Nonetheless, most of us can take steps even if it isn’t the full leap. Plus, what’s the alternative? Is the cost really worth it?