When driving around a winding back road the other night, a thought occurred to me. Do you remember the first time you drove a car? I began driving in the country where people drive 60 mph around small country roads without a problem. It's fun when you get the hang of it, but as a beginner, it was terrifying.
I can still remember driving painfully slow on the small roads that twisted around the tall mountains. A line of impatient drivers behind me honking and waving their hands at my embarrassingly slow crawl. Jagged rocks bulged out along the road on one side and a river on the other, making the road all the more treacherous. My mom demanded that I pull over and let everyone pass before returning to my humiliation. My sweaty palms gripped the steering wheel as I struggled to remember which pedal was the gas and which the brake.
My heart palpitated each time I got into the driver's seat for months, but I was determined to learn. It took time, a few minor accidents, and several speeding tickets before I got the hang of it. Now driving is a relaxing activity, if traffic is avoided. The biggest contributor to my comfort behind the wheel was simply practice and time.
It's interesting to me that with certain subject in life, it's okay to take the time to learn. In America we go to school for 13 years to receive the minimum diploma while some continue on for a total of 21 years toearn their doctorate. We believe that it takes 13 to 21 years of time, effort, and thousands of dollars to earn awarded a diploma, to master a certain craft or skill through education. For many people, the learning ends there. We did our time, it's over. We get a job in our chosen field and work until we retire.
With other things in life, we have this mentality that you either got it or ya don't. From our waistlines to our hobbies. If something doesn't work out instantly, we shrug and decide that it's not for us. I thought that way for a long time and still struggle to remember that everything is my choice. There is always something to do about our situation. It is our choice to stay stuck here or to work on developing the life that we dream about each night.
I'm reading a book about how to hone in my writing skills. I spent 7 years studying and working towards a career I didn't really want, I thought I could spend some money and time learning more about what I DO actually love. The book set out in the very first paragraph to put to rest that idea that great writers are born with their talent. The author writes time and time again that great authors are developed with time and continuous effort. The best way to become a great writer is to write every day. Even if that means tearing up the paper and starting over again.
It's so amazing, yet simple that this truth is often overlooked. We can have anything we want in this world if we work hard enough. Literally anything. Education has paved the way for a few choice careers, but for the more unique or creative, it requires some extra work. First we have to find the path to walk down it.
I've met so many wonderful and talented people during my time on earth. Most have a story of something that they really really wanted to achieve in life. For some it was running a marathon or hiking the Appalachian Trail. For others, their heart yearns for a completely different career or lifestyle.
In most stories of dreams forgotten, there is always a bump in the road that led that dreamer to give up, to throw their hands in the air and walk away. It's heartbreaking to watch the excitement and passion slowly fades out of their eyes when they finally explain why that dream is impossible. It doesn't have to be that way.
Life isn't always easy... in fact, it rarely is. Most good things a lot of take time and patience to come into our lives. I firmly believe that all of our dreams are out their waiting for us if we are willing to work hard and not give up. Remain a student in life and the rewards will be sweeter and sweeter.
So, whether if it's a perfect beach bod or a fulfilling career as an artist, don't give up so easily on yourself. The frustrations and bumps along the way shouldn't lead to a lifetime of regrets, but rather a lesson learned. Get up, brush yourself off, and handle that shit. After all, if you were willing to spend 13+ years earning a diploma, giving yourself some extra time working towards your goal won't be too hard.
See ya next week! Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend, friends.