I’ve told a number of people about the changes I made in my life, and there’s one response that I’ve often heard, even now that I’ve returned from my trip. I feel drawn to share some of my thoughts regarding what I’ve heard people say: “You’re lucky, you can make these changes at your age.”
My initial response slash question to this statement is this: “Is there an age limit to following your heart?” I followed the path I did because my heart was beckoning me to get on a plane and shake up my life. My heart was saying “hey, your current situation is not filling me with joy anymore. Time to get going!” If I were 70 years old, should I have ignored my heart’s yearning? What if I were 55? How about 40? 25?
We all have a guiding light within our hearts, ushering us to something wonderful and enjoyable. Our hearts are with us from the first breath we take as a new-born baby and all the way to our last, when we leave the Earthly plane. Our hearts don’t have 10-year warranties, or best-before dates, or money-back guaranties, so why would we ever stop listening to them?
“Of course,” I hear you say, “you’re young, you can say all these things. I couldn’t make those kind of big changes at my age because…”
“… I’ve got my pension at XYZ Company.”
So what? You’re saying that you’re working at a job at XYZ Company — that you may or may not enjoy — because they’re promising you money in the future? You’re willing to be unhappy right now so that you can feel secure — and presumably happy — later? Well, the only thing you can control is “now”, so why not cultivate happiness now and see what magic grows into “later”?
The pursuit of happiness is a motto we have grown up hearing a lot. But, why do you have to pursue happiness? Is happiness far away? Can’t you be happy now? I think that sticking around for a company’s pension plan stems from this pursuit of happiness that many of us are living by.
“… I’ve built up my career at XYZ Company.”
So what? You’ve worked at a company for 25 years and you’re now Senior Vice-President of the Widgets Division. Are you ignoring your heart’s calls because you have a Title with Upper Case Letters after your name? If your heart tells you to leave your company, are you afraid of starting at the bottom? Why is starting at the bottom scary? Are the words in upper case after your name that important? If your current title (and your corresponding job) aren’t filling you with joy, your heart may be tugging at you, wanting to help you come up with a new title: Friend who Learned to Knit and Now Loves Selling Comfy Sweaters at Markets; Father who Reduced his Workload and Now Spends Afternoons Bonding with Daughter; Sister who Learned Natural Medicine and has Helped Hundreds of People.
I don’t mean to make fun of companies and people’s accomplishments there. I just want to offer a different point of view, and make you consider that something that could have seemed so important before (such as your name followed by a Title) may not be what you and your heart need anymore.
“…I’ve got a house, and a car, and …”
So what? Your heart is telling you that something awesome is just a little ways down a new path, but you’re choosing to stay anchored to bricks, plaster, plywood, or wheels, metal, glass? Sure, you might have a nice house, but if you follow the path presented to you, I’m certain life will bring you great surprises. You could even end up moving to a new home, next to Neighbour with a Passion for Gardening who Loves Sharing Fresh Veggies and Becomes a Very Dear Friend.
“… I’ve got children.”
So what? This issue is harder for me to relate to — my husband and I aren’t parents — but here’s something to keep in mind: when you follow the path your heart presents to you, the end result is always win-win for you and those around you. Yes, there may be short-term hurt — the end of a relationship, telling someone a difficult-to-hear truth, or spending three months in Europe shedding buckets of tears — but everyone will come out on top. If someone doesn’t have a positive outcome, it’s likely because they are not following their heart when a new path opened up.
Now, do you want to stay in a situation that you know is wrong for you, that drains you to the point that you and your family don’t enjoy each other’s company? Do you want your children to watch you stay stuck somewhere without following your dream, where they’ll likely learn that the house, car, career, pension is more important than the light in their heart? Or, do you want to be Mom who Followed Her Dream and Inspired Me to do the Same?
“… I’m too dumb, fat, clumsy…”
I don’t have the space to fully discuss this issue within this blog post, but these hurtful labels that you apply to yourself are only limiting your potential. Your heart would never call you dumb, fat, ugly, or anything else; these are labels that we’ve applied to ourselves and are often using to guide the direction of life.
We all have these hurtful labels that we need to shed, and in my case, my trip to Barcelona was to help me do that. Just know that if you have one voice saying “come this way, there’s a beautiful and wonderful adventure over here” and another saying “but you can’t really go there because you’re so stupid”, follow the voice promising you joy. That’s your heart calling to you, and you can’t go wrong.
What is your heart saying?
My heart urged me to quit my job and live in Europe for three months. It was (and still is) frightening, but it was also exciting. Your heart is surely pointing you in a direction that’s right for you.
Do you want to learn to play piano? Open a restaurant? Paint a canvas for your room? Build a school in Ghana? Come out of the closet? Learn carpentry? My journey and my changes may seem “big” compared to what your dream is, but forget about my dream. My dream was unique to me and my situation: I had been looking to clean out my upper chakras, and my trip was what helped remove stale qi and get my Kundalini energy moving. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, then your dream is just the right size for you. Even if you think your dream isn’t “big” like mine, that doesn’t mean it’s any less scary and exciting for you to undertake.
So, at your age, are you going to stay put, or will you follow the signpost that has your name on it?