A couple of times in the last few months, I’ve posted links to websites and pages that belong to the daughters of friends of mine. Teenagers who have a special sort of talent in two separate fields—one writing and one fashion. Under the last post, I typed the words, “I will always support young people who are pursuing their dreams…” Within minutes I got a request to share someone else’s page—someone I didn’t know—so I edited the post, taking away the word, “always.”
Words are important to me. Saying what I mean the first time is important to me. So I hated deleting that word. I’m a passionate person. I’m a big believer in lifting up others, even when I don’t accomplish it all that well. And even though I can’t necessarily share everything and sometimes have to edit myself to make that clear—I will always support anyone chasing a dream.
Whether I know you, whether I don’t know you, whether you’re a teenager, whether you’re a great-grandparent, I will support your vision, your dreams, your path toward chasing them. If it doesn’t harm or purposely offend or isolate others, I will support. Loudly. Silently. Somewhere in between. Whatever the occasion calls for.
It takes a lot of courage to step out and be different, especially when you’re young. When you’re young, there’s so much judgment, so much analyzing by your peers, so much who does he/she think she is? surrounding every decision you make, so much opposition when you’re already painfully aware that you don’t quite fit in. Often, that desire to fit in supersedes everything. And so when you’re young, that overwhelming type of pressure often prevents people from taking risks, from saying—screw it, I’m going to try anyway. It kept me from chasing my dreams for so many years. Coupled with my own self-doubt and insecurity, those negative voices were frustrating, crushing, paralyzing.
So paralyzing that it was just easier not to try.
(A side note: that never actually goes away. There will never be a time when your pathway is paved with nothing but pom-poms, confetti, and high fives. Even at my age, there’s criticism. Even at my age, there’s opposition. I just eventually grew fed up enough with my own insecurity to decide to ignore it. It’s easier when you get older to say, screw it, I’m doing it anyway, because when you’re older you realize that the only person who has to be happy with your life…is you).
So the way I see things is this: You’ve got one life. Go live it. You’ve got your dreams. Go chase them. You’ll hear negative voices—your own often being the one to scream the loudest. Silence them.
Whether you’re 10 or 25 or 60, get to it.
I’m cheering for you. And when I’m able, I’ll tell anyone who wants to listen all about how awesome I think you are.