Being 18 years old, I know I still have a whole life ahead of me: lots of opportunities to encounter, decisions to make, people to meet, and tons of personal growth to experience.
I dropped out of college after the first semester to pursue my passion for health and fitness. I realized that the safety net of school was delaying the process of creating my desired lifestyle. This was a sporadic idea that just felt right. It still does, but that doesn’t make anything easier.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone to become an entrepreneur prompted me to cut off all other things that don’t serve me. Now, I’m in a position where I have no other choice, but to face the intimidation of my wild goals and dreams. It’s funny how we tend to distract ourselves with a false sense of “busyness” that serves as an excuse to stay within the known.
The logical side of me trusts that I’ll gain clarity and immense satisfaction in life. I’ve always had a stubborn nature that refuses to give up on that idea. Being an emotionally-driven person, however, it’s difficult for that “logical” side of me to predominate.
My current self yearns for “future Julia” to be able to look back at my present worries, frustrations, doubts, and anxiety with relief that I decided to keep pushing forward. I wish I could hear her say, “You’re so smart, beautiful, and capable. It’s a shame that you don’t believe in yourself. It’s a shame that you would rather pick apart your imperfections than celebrate your efforts. It’s a shame how you consider life a blessing, yet don’t feel deserving enough to receive its gifts.”
We all just want the reassurance of everything being okay in the end.
In the midst of all my goals, dreams, and aspirations, I strive every day to be this “future Julia.” This type of growth occurs so gradually on a daily basis that it’s easily neglected…until we realize that we’re finally living the life we once dreamed of. Until we wake up one day full of exhilaration instead of dread at the thought of facing the self in the mirror. Until we find ourselves reflecting on nights drowned in tears and doubts as we tried to navigate our confusion.
What do you need your future, successful self to tell you right now? What’s the reassurance you need to console yourself with as you ache and crumble under the weight of your own expectations?
No matter how old we are, we carry an inner child within us that seeks safety, kindness, and understanding. Be your own parent. Choose to love and accept yourself even when you’d much rather…not. Trust that each decision will guide you towards a lesson that’s essential to your growth. Each mistake will be a marker of redirection and prove to you that you’re not bound to any given reality.
I’m slowly internalizing the fact that there’s no “right” way to live; only social standards and expectations that offer such a perception. This life has always been your canvas and you’re its designated artist. Each stroke will contribute to the overall masterpiece that you create, meaning that each choice you make has significance.
I hope, from the bottom of my heart, that you remain patient and trust your process. It may not be easy, but it will sure be worth it.
Julia Nadolski, CPT