You never truly understand how big the world is and how much there is to do until you are out of school. Think about it. We grow up being told what to do, what to wear, where to go, what to eat, etc. for like 12 years! We grow up in a house with parents and siblings and are “chauffeured” to school every day. Nights were filled with practices, homework, dinner, and family time. Weekends were filled with games, tournaments, church, and slumber parties. Then in high school, we get to our Senior year and we have to make our first real and BIG decision – where do I want to go to college? For most, it’s a no-brainer. You were born and bred an Aggie and you already know the sorority you will be rushing in the fall. For many (like me) – it’s an opportunity to be my own person and make a decision that will be best for me. I chose Oklahoma State because I wanted a fresh start and because the day I toured campus, I had the strongest feeling that this was where I belonged. Luckily, I was right. However…
College goes by in a flash! It was filled with new friendships, roommate issues, trying new things, and luckily for me, falling in love. I worked on-campus all 4 years of college. I was a part of the Student Government Association for a bit. I tried out sorority life. I achieved my first ever 4.0! I loved almost every second of college, because it wasn’t all gold stars and rainbows. I learned a lot and got to experience college with the love-of-my-life, my brother, and friends that eventually became like others brothers to me. But my point is that – we are in school for so many years. We follow a daily routine. We take classes. We barely pass exams. We have fun, but make many mistakes along the way. We kind of live in a bubble.
My only regret in college is that I didn’t study abroad. I didn’t dream big enough. I told myself I would be too scared or it could be really unsafe. I was safe in my “school bubble” going to my classes and learning to be a teacher. I could have dreamed bigger.
I am a dreamer. I am also an avid day-dreamer. I tend to be in my own head a lot making up stories and adventures. Inside my head, I am brave. I have great comebacks in there. I’ve written multiple stories in there. I’m traveling the world in my head constantly. I dream big! Can anyone else relate? Then…
What is holding me back?
I know I’m not alone in this. Everyone has goals and dreams. We all have things we want to achieve in our lifetime because we only get one life! I think everyone by now understands that life really is too short. We want success. We want to be in love. We want to have the best Instagram photos. We want that promotion. We want to travel. We are the generation of wants. So how come some of us are brave enough to go and get it and some of us only dream about it? The truth is, we let a lot of things hold us back.
Money – Unless you are filthy rich, money really does hold us back on a majority of our decisions. If money wasn’t necessary, we would all be flying in our own private jets traveling to every country each week. I would be wearing the most cute and BEST clothes. I would have the most amazing house. Life would be good right? The fact is that money is a real thing. It is something that holds us back, but in more positive ways than we realize. If everyone had money to spend then travel, nice restaurants, and awesome clothes wouldn’t be a luxury. It would be the norm. It is also unrealistic to say that I can travel to EVERY place I desire to see before I die. Because for me, there is a lot! I want to see so many places and I want to enjoy them while I’m there. For now, I have to let money hold me back because I don’t have “money to throw” and take me to Ireland next month. Money shouldn’t keep you from having fun or taking a vacation. You should save up for something you’d really like to buy. You should take the money you’ve earned and treat yourself to a vacation. Go in knowing that you will be spending more money than if you weren’t on vacation, but it will be worth it. I promise. We can’t let money and debt hold us back from living out our adventures.
Fear – If you know me well, I have a lot of fears and phobias. It has become worse now that I’m older. I am absolutely, hands down terrified of wasps. I constantly think I have a health issue. And of course, I am still afraid of the dark…. The world also seems so crazy and everywhere seems so unsafe now. I have to remind myself that the world has always been crazy and can be very unsafe, but that social media is constantly telling us every negative detail of our world. I am scared to leave teaching, because I really don’t know what else I am capable of doing. I am scared to just back-pack through Europe on my own, because I am a woman. I am scared to try out my dreams because what if they don’t work out? What if I find out that I am a terrible writer? And to tie this back – what if my husband and I can’t pay our bills because I’m not making any money? Fear. It is constantly surrounding me every time I think about my dreams or come up with a new one. I am still working on this though. The best thing I have thought of is that I just need to go for it. I need to go for at least one of my dreams and see how it goes. It’s time to take a chance. I’ll work on being afraid as I go…but it’s a start. Any other tips?
Appearance – We live in a world of social media. I am very guilty of it too! I am on almost every social media app you can think of and I’m sure there are more that the younger kids know about. What do we want people to see on Facebook and Instagram? We want people to see that our life is amazing. Let’s be honest. We want people to look at our photos and go – WOW! She really has her life together. Or, he is so adventurous and always doing cool things. I don’t post a photo of me just waking up and say, “Just wanted to say ‘Good Morning’!” I don’t post about how teaching actually wears me out and that I did a terrible job teaching the math lesson that day. No! We post photos of the amazing meal we had at this really cool restaurant. We post about our vacation to the beach holding up a marg (GUILTY!) We post about buying a new house, getting engaged, trying a new hairstyle, etc. We post what we want people to see. I am terrified of actually posting things I write. I am scared as hell right now! I am putting myself out there and that’s a big step for me, but I am very afraid while doing it.
Yourself – Hands down, you hold yourself back. You tell yourself that you aren’t good enough. You tell yourself that you can’t. Other people’s opinions matter to us a lot, but ultimately it’s ourselves that hold us back. We are afraid. We are our own worst critic. We are too much in our head. Ultimately, I am the only one who can decide to try out my dreams or simply let them go. If I want to live adventurously and if I want to live a happy life, then why would I hold myself back? Why do I still let things hold me back from doing the things that would ultimately make me happy or at least be really fun? In my opinion, it’s a combination of the things I have already said, but it’s more than that. I think a lot of us don’t go for our dreams because we’ve already decided that it probably won’t happen or that we can’t do it. With that mindset, your dreams will definitely die. I also think it has to due with that fact that most of us our content. I am absolutely fine with teaching. I am fine with what I do each day. There’s nothing wrong with it. I am definitely not unhappy. I am actually very happy, but there is still more life I want to live! We have to stop holding ourselves back from dreams that we really want to come true!
I read somewhere about how if you already tell yourself that it’s going to happen, you will work harder and find more success. I am working on this mindset because I think it will really help me in a lot of areas. If I tell myself that I will become a great and successful teacher, then I will. If I tell myself that I will travel to Ireland, then I will. And if I tell myself that I will write and finish at least one book, then I will. I don’t want to be afraid of my dreams anymore. I don’t want to hold myself back anymore. I want my adventure to be mine. And so I can prove that I put my money where my mouth is, here are two things I am currently starting to achieve some of my dreams:
- I am reading more books, articles, and blogs on new teaching strategies and signed up for some professional development on new ways to teach math. If I can feel more successful and prepared as a teacher, then maybe it won’t scare me to stick it out longer.
- I am looking into an online course or a night class on writing. I am already looking into some classes on “Fiction Writing” and I am getting really excited! If I keep dreaming about being a writer, then I need to put in the work and see where it takes me.
What is holding you back?
Why are you letting it?
Let’s enjoy the lives that we have. Be happy for who is a part of it. Try new things because we can. Laugh often. Love harder. Dream bigger.
Until next time…