The A Words: Ambition, Age, & Accomplishments

I will be 35 in less than 6 months, and I don’t have my life together. At least, not according to what I once thought it would be.
I have a good job and am a single mother to an amazing little boy. I have the best circle of family and friends one could ever hope to have. Most of all, I have goals and dreams, and ideas on how to achieve them, and I’m working towards them every day; but, is my life all figured out? Is it everything I pictured when I was younger? No way – and that is OKAY. This used to scare me; I imagined an invisible clock, ticking away, reminding me that my time had passed, and that I should forget about any big dreams I may have, because I’m just ‘too old’ to make them come true now. These thoughts have plagued me since my 30th birthday (okay, maybe since I turned 25 – hello, quarter-life crisis!), but I have recently realized – it’s perfectly fine to not have it all figured out. The truth is, most people don’t. Not everyone fits into a perfect square box, and that is what makes this world we live in so amazing. Our diversity and uniqueness is nothing to be ashamed of – it is to be celebrated and cherished.

Where did these thoughts, or rather – FEARS - come from? Society, media, friends, and most of all: myself. In the end, sometimes we are our own worst enemies, because we internalize every rejection, every failure, and replay it like an ugly highlight reel in our head.
Even in 2015, there are still societal expectations of how your life will pan out, and by what age range you can or should achieve certain things, and sometimes we unconsciously pressure ourselves to meet those milestones. If we don’t, we are left feeling like we failed.  We reason that it just wouldn’t make sense to try now, or we give up prematurely. Fear and rejection can be a crippling, debilitating liar that blurs your vision from reality; or it can be the driving force to propel you forward on your path. It’s all about how you utilize the adrenaline rush.

I recently attended Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life Event, and it was an amazing day jam-packed with speakers that made me feel like I was not only on the right path personally and professionally, but I am definitely not alone in my quest. So many women (and men!) from different industries and age groups were present, and shared in a day full of inspiration. I really felt like this event helped empower me to keep moving forward, and I feel grateful that I was able to attend and soak all of the positivity and knowledge in. Funny thing is, I almost missed out on this opportunity.
When I first discovered that Cosmo was holding this conference, I was excited.  I am all about personal and professional growth, and this seemed geared toward everything I am interested in. Then I saw the mention of “millennials” and I felt insecurity creep in. I had of course heard the term, and have been hearing it more and more frequently, but I couldn’t remember if the term applied to me.  I literally Googled the definition to see if it was acceptable for me to attend – after all, who wants to be the old lady at the party?

The definition of a Millennial is an individual born within the early 1980’s to the early 2000’s; Wikipedia advises there is technically no set range of years. The previous generation, referred to as Gen X, was classified as any person born between the years of 1961 and 1981. I was born in 1981; I find it ironic that even between these two definitions, I don’t really have a clear classification of where I fit in (rolling my eyes, I thought, “isn’t that just a metaphor for my life?!”). I’m at the point in my life where I can’t exactly shop at Forever 21 anymore, but I can relate to almost everything a 20-something does. Talk about awkward; it’s like being a teenager all over again!
In the end, I decided to attend with the usual reasoning I turn to when I’m not sure what the right choice is: I said fuck it, I’m doing it anyway. Ironically, it is my thirties that have given me the confidence to realize that the worst thing that can happen is you try and something may not turn out as you had hoped, but that it is okay – you just try again, and learn from the experience.  I was so glad I made that choice, because I would have missed out. Every speaker and performer had a strong, inspiring message to share, but it was Rachel Platten (singer/songwriter) that perhaps resonated with me most of all. She is 34 years old, and an amazingly talented performer who has been chasing her dream for over 10 years. Rachel was told that she would never make it at this point, due to her age. Well, she sure showed them, didn’t she? My eyes welled up when she told her story and performed her current hit, the ever-appropriate “Fight Song.”

We have nothing but time; it is only the limits that we place on ourselves that stop us from achieving goals or progressing in life. Don’t let fear or rejections prevent you from chasing what you want; use it as your fuel.  I spent the last 5 years worrying that my time had passed, and all I accomplished was that I allowed my own insecurities to deter me from starting sooner. Time still passed, and it will either way. So no matter your age - get up, get out there, and do something – feed your passion. Make your dreams come true!


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