0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

Photographs via the Girls & Dreams series from She Hit Pause Studios (love the name)

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I want to be when I grow up.  I have a pretty fabulous job working for myself designing homes, writing this blog, penning a column in a local magazine and doing some fashion styling on the side as well. I know I have it pretty good. Yet, there are days when it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. Or that its right. Or that there might be more for me- more depth, more meaning, more something. I think constantly about all the things I want to try and do and be and it’s dizzying to say the least.  I remember when I was little and all I wanted out of life was a hatchback Ford Escort and a job as a checkout lady at the grocery store (and to be Mrs. Luke Perry, of course). Oh how far I’ve come in my desires from life. I don’t feel cursed by the urge to expand my horizons, but I do feel pressure and the head spinning speed of passing time as I hurdle into my thirties. As if the universe wanted to make sure I felt understood in some small way, I was suggested to read an article in O Magazine by my favorite author Elizabeth Gilbert.  “You might cry it’s so good” my friend said. And I almost did, and I don’t cry easily.  Like her book “Eat, Pray, Love” I felt like she was speaking to me personally and it was a great relief. I urge you to read it and then sit with it for a minute or two and read it again.

Gilbert’s point that we all feel this insane pressure to be all things and compare ourselves to others who SEEM to be doing all those things we aren’t is a tale I know all too well.  While I get emails from readers- successful lawyers, doctors, financial executives, mothers, teachers- all who ask me how I was able to craft this dream job of mine and admit that they are unhappy and want to do what I do- I sometimes feel the same about their lives and the importance of what they do.  I am a classic “grass is greener” type of person and am always imagining what it’s like walking in other womens’ stilettos (or Crocs as the case may be).  I wonder about doing other things with my life; other things that interest me greatly like writing a book, focusing on painting again, opening a store, opening a bakery, teaching yoga, teaching art or giving into the rumored bliss of motherhood.  I dream about moving into the city (check), moving far, far away from the city, moving out of this country, vacationing in a jungle, or on a deserted island (watching too much Lost perhaps?) or taking a vacation alone.  The thing is, I know in my heart I can try all these things, and some of them might be failures.  But something I am learning very quickly in my adulthood is that at least trying feels really good because you know something positive will come of it no matter what- you either succeed or you fail and know that you gave it a shot and it wasn’t meant to be.   As I’ve heard a million times over- people far more often regret what they didn’t do than what they did do so I’m going to make a commitment to DO more without thinking it through and picking it apart until there isn’t much left.

All these new adventures in my life make me recognize the growth they are bringing me mentally and spiritually. Failure is something I historically feared more intensely than anything else in this world and I’m starting to find I am less and less afraid of it.  All I have to do is ask myself “whats the WORST that can happen?”– and more often than not, the true answer is not as scary as the bloodbath I conjure up in my head. But it is hard to let go of old habits.  My worst one is trying to be what everyone else wants me to be (or what I think everyone else wants me to be).  Being yourself and owning it- the good and the bad- is a really tough thing to do, but so worth the fight.  I have accepted that I will never be (and probably shouldn’t be) a doctor (despite my penchant for self-diagnosing on WebMD), a business exec, a talk show host, a lawyer, a shrink, a “save the world” type, a vegetarian, an actress, a blonde.  Other people were born to be those things, I wasn’t. Following your passion and bliss won’t always bring you fame and fortune, but it might just bring you a little peace of mind.  And once you stop feeling passionate about that thing you are doing, you can switch it up and try something else that does get your juices flowing.  The second I get up in the morning and don’t feel the immediate urge to write this blog, I’ll stop.  I’ll move onto something else that I do feel excited about.  But I won’t think of it as a failure, bur rather a recreation of who I am.  People are constantly changing (look at Madonna!) and what once made you delighted may now annoy the crap out of you. Go with it. Make changes. Try new things. Take a few risks. But most importantly, relax a little and be a smidge kinder to yourself and your path (discovered or yet to be).

Sorry for the digression into my inner monologue, but I felt that sharing this article which you might have missed if you don’t read O (which I don’t typically) was really important. Now, back to the shallow stuff…. :)


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