When I was a little girl I never dreamed about my wedding day and I never wrote down what my fictional children’s names would be. I didn’t even know if I would have children, actually. Instead I’d imagine my long, perfectly slender (I am always skinny in my imagination) frame in a black pencil skirt and expensive high heels. I’d walk from my private office down the modern hallway to the conference room. The conference room has wall to wall windows and it’s on the 32nd floor.
I’m not sure what my job is, but it is a fast paced, white collar job. I am very important at this job and I type quickly into my laptop while phones buzz all around. I am not the boss, but I am a high powered executive and I have an assistant. I leave for the day when my work is done. Sometimes that’s around 7 and sometimes that’s around 9, but I don’t mind either way. I live in New York so I hail a cab to my (beautifully decorated) studio apartment. I pour a glass of delicious red wine and listen to soft instrumental music as I eat take-out alone. The next day I do it all over again and I absolutely love every second of it.
I remember in my high school newspaper (the one I helped to create my senior year: toot toot) underneath the picture of me it read “In 5 years I’ll be living in New York.” That was what I wanted. It is not lost on me how different that is from my current reality. Five years after my high school graduation I was married, with one baby and living in Louisiana. Louisiana is very much not New York City, FYI. I had a Journalism degree that I wasn’t using and I was a stay at home mom. My real life looked nothing like the life I felt I was meant to live.
I Love My Life
This is where I reassure you that I do, in fact, love all five of my kids immensely. Immensely. But being a mom wasn’t easy for me. I was exhausted and I spent big chunks of time depressed and feeling really lonely. At some point I realized that just because I live in Louisiana and have 5 kids (and wear sweatpants everyday and own zero pencil skirts) doesn’t mean I can’t start leading the sort of life I want to live. So, I started to put myself out there. I typed really honest words into social media platforms and shared my heart and my opinion and my beliefs.
I read books on marketing and success and business and I asked the women who were where I wanted to be questions and I listened to their answers. One of those people was Jen Fulwiler. Jen knew I was mildly obsessed with her and she was kind enough to offer to chat with me at a conference where we were both speaking.
I jumped at this opportunity and asked alot of questions. The most important thing I learned from Jen was this: the opinions of others should never stop me from working towards my goal. She even said she still worries about what people think, but the difference is she shows up anyway. She tucks the doubts and anxiety into her very long (she’s crazy tall) jeans’ pocket and keeps moving forward. Keeps making goals and reaching them.
I had been wasting so much time holding myself back. I kept thinking when I got holy enough or when I hit age 50 or when enough people liked my stuff I could finally stop caring what people thought and then I would be free to make my dreams come true. I thought I would do what I was meant to do later when I didn’t care so much. Jen said there is no later. You always care. You just move forward anyway.
I am proud of myself. I do not work in New York. My job, in fact, does not even regularly bring in money. (Sorry boutcha, Marvin.) Instead me and my messy bun type words into my laptop while the baby sleeps. And I do that now because I am blooming where I’ve chosen to be planted.
So, today, let me be your Jen Fulwiler. If you didn’t have to worry about other people’s opinions what would you do? Cool. Now go and do it because people’s opinions will never be important enough to keep you from your dreams. You’ll probably never feel 100% confident about anything, but you are confident enough as soon as you decide you are.