How Do You Know You Are Who You Are Supposed To Be?
Five Ways To Check If You Have “Arrived" in Your Life
Something a friend posted on my Facebook feed has had me thinking. In essence, she said, “When we reach a certain age we realize we are truly the person we were always meant to be.” Then I realized that I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I was eight years old. For the purpose of this quick essay, I wondered if I could categorize the ways I knew I had arrived at the threshold of being that person. Oddly enough, I can.
Did You Follow Your Childhood Bliss? My mother and stepfather could barely pay basic bills with six children, so I knew I had to do well in school to get into college on my own. I found my bliss in school. At eight, I knew that good grades would keep me in the race for scholarships and college entrance exams. Once I met that goal, my dreams were within reach. I did get my degrees and recently retired from a 36 year career in education at age 59. I never took my eyes off of the prize and I’m still young enough to realize new dreams.
Do You Remain True to Yourself ? There were so many temptations along my life’s journey that could have easily derailed my road to success. I could have partied more and studied less in college; I could have married during college; I could have eliminated one of my jobs because having to work two jobs to pay for college was just too difficult at times. I didn’t do any of the above and was teaching by the age of 23. For me, it took determination and the ability to delay immediate gratification, knowing my hard work would eventually pay off. (I worry that too many young people today aren’t capable of grasping this old-fashioned concept; and ultimately, may expect others to give them what they haven’t learned to give themselves, depriving them of independence and self-confidence.)
When Life Takes Bad Turns, How Do You Cope? There is not a person on this planet who hasn’t had tough times on his or her road to personal success. Our character is defined by how we weather storms, not how many umbrellas we’ve worn out along the way. My divorce could have knocked me flat for one year, the time it took me to get over it. However, getting up each day and driving to work gave me the strength to keep going. Being the best teacher I could be for my students kept me from drowning in sadness. We have to know that good things are always on the horizon. My second husband, the real love of my life, has proven that fact for me.
Are You Confident in Your Choices? I have never second guessed my choices because of one simple reason: I have earned everything in my life with my own blood, sweat and tears. I know how to reach my goals better than anyone else. The best advice I gave to my students, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, was that a person’s self-esteem and confidence to fail and get up again comes from his or her hard work. Period. There is nothing magical about life. You get what you put in. I pushed my students to push themselves. They left my classes with the knowledge that they could do whatever they truly wanted with a little honest, hard work.
Do You Know How to Play? Life is stressful for everyone. However, if I didn’t play throughout my life, I would have buckled under the pressures of being totally reliant upon myself. Everything I have pursued creatively is following me into my retirement and I feel like a kid again; one who lives joyously in the moment. All those acting classes and community plays; teaching aerobics; hosting a radio talk show for teens; writing classes and published works; snow ski competitions; and, loving my pets have rounded out my life. Success is not what you accomplish monetarily; rather, it’s the ability to say to yourself, “Am I living my life to the fullest?”