If Not Now…

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In my sophomore year of college, I decided to drop out.  One day, I never returned to campus and just like that I was done!

I delivered the news to my parents, promised them I would get a job, and that I would pay for everything myself. I knew dropping out of school was risky, but I was miserable, and I needed to find my own way in the world — on my own terms.

I was always a straight “A” student and on the honor roll. A catholic school girl who never “pushed back” or “rebelled” in the typical teenage ways. Oh, perhaps a few feeble attempts to sneak and smoke my dad’s cigarettes, but no experimenting with drugs, ditching class, or breaking curfew.

It just wasn’t something I did.

So you can only imagine how my poor, unsuspecting parents were feeling as they both stared at me in shock and disbelief, as I expected them to “just deal with it”.

Clumsy without a doubt, yet in my own awkward way, I was just trying to establish my independence, be true to the inner spirit I didn’t quite yet understand, and take charge of my own life.

I came from the traditional blue collar family. My parents were good, hard working people— but during my teenage years, they represented a “way of life” that I wasn’t sure I wanted. They assumed, like most good kids, I would find a steady job, settle down, and… well, you know the rest of the white picket fence story.

But I was restless, and intuitively sensed there was more to life than what they had envisioned for me, their daughter.

I was angry at them, and perhaps even more so at myself, for not speaking up sooner and for being so spineless in my dare to be me.

When I finally mustered up the courage to stand my own ground and start behaving in a way that felt more authentic and real to me… let’s just say all hell broke loose!

Sometimes it’s like that; Deep inside, something unexpectedly shifts and the “real” you suddenly erupts out of nowhere. It can be very unsettling – even scary for the people who have only known the quiet and accommodating version of you. They’re confused. You really can’t blame them.

Often, it’s the people we love and who matter the most who will say things like, “I liked the way you used to be” or “What’s going on with you?” or “You’re different ever since you started [fill in the blank]”.

It’s easy to interpret these words as hurtful or insensitive. I know I did. Yet it’s really quite the compliment, because we are changing for the better, finding our feet and our own wayfinally!

Hopefully as we evolve, so do our family and friends and they will either adjust or they won’t.

Either way: Trust that you’re moving in the right direction.

In hindsight, there may be some things I would do differently (like maybe not drop an atom bomb on my parents), yet I am never sorry for the choices I’ve made, or for daring to be different… and neither should you, because it’s our courage – not our fear – that puts things into motion and leads us to our true self and our authentic life.

My personal revolution may have begun at 19, yet every day with every new choice I make, my personal evolution continues, perhaps a bit more gracefully than in the past.

I’m not sure about everything in my life, but what I am absolutely certain about is that it is never too late to stop hiding, grab the reins, take charge of your life, and start showing the world who you really are.