Serendipity. That’s the moment I am living right now. That’s how it feels.
I am 41 and for the longest time have been waiting to know what I need to do with myself. You know, the big questions. What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? How do I want to live? Things most people like to have mapped out in their 20s.
The biggest question that hung over my head, that held me hostage and kept me in this purgatory kind of existence where I’m just waiting, waiting, waiting, and just waiting before I can move on, was what I want to do professionally?
It’s like I never left that when-I-grow-up-I-wanne-be phase.
FFS I am 41. There are people 20 years younger than me who have a flourishing career, already have a few startups under their belt and have backpacked around the world, twice! But don’t get me started on the Millennials, they’re another breed of humans altogether.
Back to serendipity…
In 2016, I think I finally got out of my rut slowly, like crawling out of a cave after two decades in a quarter-life crisis that started when I was 22. I could feel it, back in the recess of my subconscious… little niggling inklings trying to bubble up to my consciousness… after all the years I spent working on myself, searching for the meaning within myself, wondering where the fuck my life was going to lead me when I had no plan and all I really had was a life wish-list.
And this aimlessness shows in the life I’ve lived so far.
I have done two degrees, held three different jobs in three different industries (four if you count my current work), had a shotgun wedding, gave birth to two kids who were both unplanned pregnancies (thankfully to the same father hehe) and I still have no career to speak of.
I was considered an over-achiever as a child and excelled at everything I did before adulthood. So, my biggest fear in life was failure, naturally! Failure to live up to everyone’s expectations of me which in turn I’ve inadvertently adopted as my own.
It took me the better part of my 20s shedding this belief. And as my life got dominated by marriage and motherhood, my goals, dreams and ambitions took a back seat.
In my 20s and 30s, I’ve had many many projects in mind that I never followed through. Until now.
For some reason, last year, it all came together. It happened slowly but the thoughts were always in my consciousness, about running out of time to do the things I really want to do in life now that I’m in my 40s.
My daughter is turning four this year and will be going to school full-time in April … I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! The prospect of finally having more time alone made me turn the focus of my life back to me.
And what of failure? I’ll slap it in the face if I could! But if it knocks me over, like Poppy from the movie Trolls, I will get back up again. And I will either try again or move on to something else.. In fact, my personal theme song for the year is the one she sings – Get Back Up Again.
I realised that I don’t want to reach the end of my life failing because I never tried. I want to know, before I take my last breath, that I tried my hand at everything I wanted to do.
Failure is ok, as long as I actually failed from doing something, not from failing to do anything at all. At least with failure you can learn a lot of things.
Fear stopped me from living the life I could and I never want to pass this on to my children.
And as I explained it to my BFF, who’s seen me through this personal journey from the beginning, I didn’t do anything specific that finally lead me to this state of being, of flux. Basically, when the light bulb switched on at last, the floodgates opened. Everything creative within me is now busting to get out and I can no longer keep it in.
Without the fear of failure, I was able to open up a door within my consciousness. It’s a door that I’ve walked past a thousand times before but never allowed myself to think that what was inside could be a legitimate part of my life.
So yeah, I did mention serendipity…
We are now two weeks into 2017 and I have done more creative things this year so far than I have done in the past two years, maybe even more.
I started writing my novel, finally. The idea has been incubating since I was 28. The need to write also took me back to this blog and I have been writing in it regularly. Then I also took up watercolour drawing and painting for the very first time. And I LOVE IT! I can’t stop painting. And just this morning I’ve decided to do a personal project that requires me to paint more portraits. But first I need to take lessons…
There’s this energy I feel buzzing in me I can’t contain. And the last 24 hours has been strange…
Late last night (early this morning really), I worked on this website idea that I’ve had for the last 10 years. How I got to doing this was because the domain name I registered eight years ago needed renewal, so last night I renewed it. And it just got me going and before I knew it, I had the barebones sitemap for it on WordPress! I mean, I was planning to sit on the couch and get cosy with Netflix but instead I had a project started. Serendipity, right? If the domain name didn’t need renewal, I would never even have thought of that project at all.
Then this morning, I sent out a call for volunteers on Facebook for my portrait project. And a friend of mine who started a bar in the city where they hold art nights offered to let me have an exhibition of my finished project! Until that moment, I’ve never even thought of myself as an artist, let alone as someone who can hold an exhibit of their work! I think this is serendipitous.
And then another friend posted a passage from a book by Miranda Sawyer called ‘Out of time – midlife if you still think you’re young’ which is around the same theme as my painting project. So yeah, today is feeling serendipitous.
I like to think that the universe is conspiring to show me the path to take … because you know what, I STILL don’t have a plan.
What I am doing is taking Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice on how to live a creative life very seriously – to follow my curiosity.
In 2017, every creative thing I’ve done has started from having a strong urge to do something specific, then acting on it. Even when it calls me at 2am, which was when I did my first proper watercolour painting done with proper brushes, watercolour paints and watercolour paper!
At this point in time, I have no plans but to keep following my curiosity. Hopefully serendipity will help me along.