I turned 26 on Saturday.
When you’re little, you just want to get older, to be a big kid. When you’re a teenager, you just want to be eighteen. Then you just want to be 21 so you can legally drink. But something happened to me after that. I started dreading every birthday, wishing time could roll backwards.
It’s not aging or wrinkles or death that freaks me out about turning 26. What scares me the most is that another year has passed where I’m trying to make my dream of being a real, money-earning author a reality. One year older. How old will I be when I make it? How old will I be if I don’t? When I turn 30, will I have to get a real job?
How old is too old to be a dream chaser?
Optimists and do-gooders will say YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD! But in reality, there are bills and mortgages and marriages. At some point, I will be too old. I’ll have to say, I’m 30 now and I’m not making enough money to pay those bills or help my husband out with a mortgage or car payment. We’ve been blessed so far. I could quit my job and be a full time dream chaser.
You might be reading this and saying, I have a full time job, three kids, AND I still manage to stay up till 3 am writing so that I can pay the bills AND follow my dream. If you are, I admire you and I also hate you. You’re so much better than I am. You’re stronger, more determined, just…better. because the truth is that I’m terrified of a real job. Of a job where I don’t live in Wonderland all day. Pursuing this full time from the start has made me weak, and if I ever have to cut back and get a desk job, I’ll crumble.
See? It’s humiliating. But it’s my truth. And it terrifies me, because I’m one year closer to 30. And 30 feels like an age where I should be fighting the good adult fight.
So what does this mean? How do we slow down time enough that our dreams can catch up? I wish I knew. But I had an eye opening moment tonight as I sit here editing. (I am ALWAYS editing)
I used to row in high school. In case you’ve never rowed before, it sucks. It’s hard and demanding and you get calluses and man muscles. But I wanted to be a great rower. How do you be great? It’s not over night for sure. It takes time to build those man muscles. So I took it day by day, doing the best I could that day because that was all I could do. Eventually, I got pretty decent, when all those days started adding up.
So when I applied this to my career, to writing, a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. If I stop dreading the time passing me by, and start taking it day by day, I can build a career based on an accumulation of days where I didn’t stress or cry or freak out, but where I did the best I could on THAT single day.
So maybe your 26 or 36 or 86. And maybe you’re building your dream or maybe you’re just dreaming about a dream. I can’t give you answers, but I can say that you’ll save yourself a lot of wrinkles by taking it day by day, moment to moment, breath to breath.
That’s what I’m gonna start doing.