discover your passion and find a purpose

by gilda rêvasseur on October 5, 2008

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“hi gilda!

i have never left a comment on your site before, but i check it every few days! i love that you are so open with your life, and share with you are doing with us. i think it is so awesome that you are making your dreams come true and so strong about it. i think it is inspiring because i am in law school now doing something that i don’t really like. my parents and older siblings are all lawyers, and i felt like i had to become one too. i don’t know how to tell my parents that i really have no interest in it.

the problem is, that i don’t really know what i want to do in life. i have been brought up with the mindset that i am supposed to be a lawyer, so i don’t really know what else i can be. i’m sorry if i sound confusing. i’m just at a loss and don’t know what to do. it’s refreshing to read your blog and know that someone out there is following their dreams and doing something they love. i wish i knew what else i could do!!”

dear don’t-worry-i-won’t-reveal-your-name,

your email made me really sad. this entry is for you and any other lost souls who might chance upon this post.

are you satisfied with your job or your path in life? are you happy doing what you’re doing? would you be happy if you had to do it the rest of your life?

i can’t count how many times i’ve heard friends or overheard strangers complain and whine at how much they hate their jobs. you hear it on the subway, while sitting in a cafe, basically, just about everywhere. my own friends complain constantly about their jobs and how much they hate what they are doing. “why the hell did i chose to go into this line?” they say.

are you in the same boat?

here’s my story

(and i’m sorry if i’ve already repeated myself 2000 times. but i’m a firm believer in creating your own path in life!)

i think i’ve been lucky because i’ve always known what i wanted to do. my dreams and goals have changed from when i was a kid, but at least i always had a goal in life. when i was 5 i wanted to be a princess (who didn’t?). then i wanted to be a vet and specialise in horses and dogs. i got my parents to bring me to the national library every week and i can promise you that i read every book there was about horses and dogs and could name every different breed. then i wanted to be a dog trainer and i even read all the books that were available at the library on dog training!

soon after i was devouring magazines instead of dog books, and getting frustrated when i wanted certain clothing that i couldn’t find in stores and didn’t know how to make. i would cut my own clothes up and randomly sew them in techniques i didn’t know how, just to re-make them in a way i liked. i tried to sketch out my ideas but i didn’t know how to draw so they all turned out looking like mashed potatoes. so i kept all my ideas in my head.

that was when i knew i wanted to become a fashion designer or stylist. the problem is, that i have a rather different sense of style and my market might be small. but hey, i am my main customer. and i design for me. if someone out there shares similar aesthetics, then i’ll only be glad to share my clothes with them.

some of you might remember me talking about a very sad time of my life when i was 18-20. it was 2 very dark years for me, and i spend many days crying. i asked god time and again, why i had to go through all this. why i had to be so sad. why everything was falling apart. i remember telling him over and over again, “all i want is to be happy.”

i didn’t want my family to fall apart. i didn’t want my parents to argue anymore. i didn’t want us kids to fight with them. i didn’t want to feel so angry with my parents. on top of that, i had suddenly developed a bad bout of full blown acne, and one of my dogs had died and i was overwhelmed with guilt. i would come home everyday and kneel in front of her little grave and literally just sob. i couldn’t take it. i was very hurt and i was really dying inside. the pain was killing me and i had to escape to another place. i had to leave home. i had to do what i liked and i couldn’t let anything stop me. it might sound like i am exaggerating but i promise you that even typing this now, i remember the pain i felt then, and a part of me still hurts so bad that i’m crying.

it was hard to tell my parents that i’d changed my mind and instead of going to vet school, i wanted to go to fashion school. please be reminded that i come from the typical asian family where you are supposed to go to university and it would be quite a shame to the family name if you didn’t. plus, although singapore is slowly (very very slowly) changing and trying to promote the arts now, the general opinion is still that “smart” kids did sciences and “the kids who couldn’t” did arts. sad, but that’s the way it was. society had already laid a path down for me and i was supposed to take that road.

all hell broke loose when i told my parents that i had made up my mind to be a designer. and horrors of horrors, it was almost blasphemy that i wanted to do fashion. it wasn’t something that someone “from a good school” did.

it took two years for me to convince my parents that this was really what i wanted to do. but when i finally convinced them that this was my dream, they were fully supportive.

i flew off to japan after that. i gave up everything i had to go there. my family whom i loved dearly but had to get away from, my friends, my other dog, a comfortable life, to go to a place i knew nothing of and had no friends, and couldn’t even speak the language. so of course, before i could even enter fashion school, i had the learn japanese. another year and a half later, i finally finally finally got into fashion school. it took me many years to get to where i am now. and although i complain so much (mostly about how badly run parsons is), i love what i am doing and i want to do this forever. i cannot imagine myself doing anything else. all this hard work is worth it because it fulfills me. i might have other interests, but i know that this is it. fashion is the one. fashion is my mister right.

why do you think i gave up all socialising in new york for? it ain’t fun getting stressed out at parsons. the school tries to make you fail and kick people out after taking their money. but there is nothing else i’d rather be doing. i wrote about living your dream, about a year ago, on the night i left singapore for new york.

in it, i shared two quotes with you that i love, and want to share with you again:

“how do you put a price on your dream? is it worth one month’s salary? is it worth dying for? i don’t have an answer. but i believe it is different for every person. for me, i was ready, and still am, to give my life for my dream.

- iranian-american anousheh ansari, 40, the world’s first female space tourist

“the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

- eleanor roosevelt

are you following your dreams? doing what you love?

what did you want to be when you were growing up? what did you dream of becoming when you were an adult? how near or far are you from your dreams? did you let society and your surroundings (friends/family/etc) convince you to walk a different path? are you doing what you are doing, because you love it? or because it is something that someone else wants you to be?

we are all different and not one of us are the same. and i strongly believe that we each have god-given talents. there is some things that each of us are good at. and some things we might not be great at, but we love doing anyway. it takes some time to discover our gifts, our talents and what gives us joy.

but it is an exciting discovery and one worth spending time slowly finding, soul-searching.

but how do you know? what if i really don’t have a talent? how do i find one?

deep down inside, we all know what we love doing. yet, some of us ignore the signs. stop doing that to yourself! you might just be your biggest enemy if you ignore your own passion.

imagine that you are a designer. a life designer.

the most important customer that you have to satisfy, is yourself.

don’t rush the process. take your time to feel and find yourself.

start paying attention to you!

what are your hobbies? what do you like to do in your free time? what kind of activities make you happy? what puts a smile on your face? what can’t you stop once you start doing? what makes you concentrate so hard, you forget to eat and realise 5 hours later that you’re really hungry and time has passed so fast?

make a list! list everything! hold a little notebook as you go about your day, and write little flashes of inspiration whenever it hits. write down whatever makes you smile.

create an inspiration board

spend time making it nice and beautiful. go through magazines and cut out pictures and inspiring words that jump out of the pages and appeal to you. if you want to do this collage digitally, make sure you print it out. it has to be something you can see, feel and hold! display your inspiration board some place prominent in your house or bedroom, in a spot that you can see everyday!

play the word game

get a pen and paper, and sit yourself down. then answer this question: “what do i want to be?

don’t think! just write! write until your paper is filled up with words! you don’t have to write full-sentences. short phrases work just fine. write anything and everything that comes naturally to you. you might write words that aren’t true to yourself too. it’s that voice inside of your head, the voice that speaks on behalf of society, that tells you should be annoyed instead of smiling, stressed instead of at peace, a lawyer instead of a painter. just write it down, and write down whatever those voices tell you too. but once those voices have exhausted themselves, you will surely write a few words that are truely coming from you and you alone. you will write something down that speaks to your soul. you will realise it and it will be the one that makes you say, “this is it. i know it is!”

circle/highlight/bold that special word(s) on your paper, and pin that to your inspiration board too!

ask the people who want the best for you

no one knows you better than your friends and family. but sometimes, they are also the ones who prevent you from being who you really want to be. ask people whom you know cares for you, people who genuinely want the best for you, people who have never pushed their own dreams onto you, people who want you to succeed. ask them what your best qualities are, what they think you’re good at, what they notice makes you smile.

get rid of the “no”s and the “can’t”s

rid yourself of barriers and pests. often, these obstacles are the ones closest to you! they might not even be aware that they are stopping you from achieving what you want. worse, sometimes, some people live in misery and they want to drag you down with them. because even if your dream was just to be happy, they aren’t, so they are never ever happy for you. these people tell you that you can’t possibly reach your goal, because you are too stupid, too poor, too young, too old, too smart (to want to do something that is simple and carefree), etc.

they are the ones who constantly make you feel bad for yourself. they are the ones who make you sigh with despair and failure, every time they make a negative comment about even the tiniest of your accomplishments.

have a heart-to-heart talk with those people, and explain to them how you feel, how their negativity is getting you down and making you feel like you can’t do anything. tell them how much it would mean to you, if they encouraged you more.

but waitaminute. is this negative person you? are you another culprit who tells yourself, “but i can’t!”? life is too short to spend it being negative. life is too short not to love yourself. learn to love yourself first, and your purpose in life will surely follow!

still confused?

your purpose in life isn’t just a job. it isn’t just a hobby. it is a way of life.

i want to somehow be involved in fashion, and because i just love it so much, it doesn’t really matter to me how i get involved with it. it would be mind boggling if i eventually become a designer and have my own little shop. but even if i created my own clothes on the side and work elsewhere full-time, i think it still fulfills my purpose in life.

have you ever met with actors and painters who have about 2 waitering jobs just to help pay the rent? they do anything they can just to support their passion. and yet they are some of the happiest, most self-fulfilled people i know.

your goal in life might be to be happy. your dream might be to live life to the fullest.

what would you do if you could turn back time? what would you do with your life if you won the lottery? what is that one thing you keep putting off, that thing you say you will accomplish “one day”? what makes you excited, that you can’t stop doing, that you forget to sleep, that you go to bed thinking, “oooh i can’t wait to wake up again!”? what are you willing to give up to achieve that dream?

it’s not going to come overnight. it might take you a day, a week, a month, or perhaps, years. you can’t force yourself to discover your goals. it has to happen naturally. we all have times when we just feel crappy about ourselves. but whenever that happens to me, i play my favourite music and watch my favourite tv shows that make me laugh. i go out for a walk alone, or lie in bed staring out of the window. (that last one sounds pathetic but it’s really quite fun. heh heh.) doing this helps quieten me down and makes me focus on the important things.

that excitement will come to you. you’ll know it when it hits. you are a strong person! there is never a wrong moment. it is never too late.

the moment is now. live in it!

your dreams are worth achieving, and the rest of your life is worth fulfilling. once you find that special something, i promise you there will never be another dull and grey day. although there might be many sleepless nights! (in a good way).

hug yourself! enjoy the journey.

.

please do share your story! i’m sure plenty of you have amazing stories to tell about your accomplishments now, or what you are aiming for. what did you always want to become? an astronaut? or the most amazing mom in the world?

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara October 5, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Great post, Gilda :) I just started my on my journey to do what I love–which also happens to be fashion design, and it is really good for me to read things like this, because I do question myself a lot.

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Julie October 5, 2008 at 12:49 pm

This is great advice Gilda. It’s people like you that makes other people thrive for their dreams.

My story is quite a simple one. When I was a kid I got introduced to computers by my dad. I was like four and already knew how to connect and disconnect hard drives and enter UNIX commands (basic ones) so that I could play Space Invaders which we only had on Unix at the time.

After that first computer crashed, I left it. Yes, I still knew how to operate one to perfection (I was 6), but I wasn’t so into it as I was before. By this time I wanted to be a vet, a lawyer, an architect and a doctor.

There were many classes that I excelled at but I was (and still am) pretty lazy so I didn’t blow up my full potential. Maybe it was because I wasn’t interested in anything. I always excelled at my Computer class, whether it was in English or in Spanish. I also excelled in English because the language was really easy for me.

Then the internet came along and dad got the internet service and a dial-up modem. This modem would stay with us until my junior year of high school. It was really slow but I was the first one in the family to get an email, ICQ and napster running on the computer. I also got a gateway program so that two computers could use the connection at once (so that my sister and I didn’t fight about it).

I was in 8th grade when I decided that I wanted to be an engineer. Maths and Physics were easy for me while the more artsy stuff was really difficult. That same year I almost failed my Spanish class (I always did terrible at Spanish, I speak the language and everything but literature and writing have always come easier for me when it was all in English) and I decided that I wanted to study somewhere they spoke English.

When I was in High School I learned to program in Pascal. It was an outdated programming language and I hated doing flowcharts but I noticed that I was the only one that wasn’t whining about it because I loved it a lot. During this time I learned to make web pages in Dreamweaver and I learned to use Flash and Photoshop. My friends as I got chosen to go to a national competition held for Legion of Christ schools. We ended up in last place because the other schools had programs made by other people. Our project was made by ourselves during the course of a week, it was a web page about the brain. I’m proud to say that we were the only female group there.

During High School I was forced (school policy) to take an ESL teaching course. I did pretty badly when it came to giving the actual class but I got my degree because of my essays and knowledge of the language. My dad also informed me that he had lost all the bonuses that he got at work and that he won’t be able to pay for my studying abroad. I was fine with this and I started looking for Mexican Colleges I liked.

I ended up in my actual college because I liked the Animation Specialty. Anyone who studies or is keen on studying engineering knows that the first two years of study are all about Mathematics and Physics. During my third semester I almost failed Calculus. I cried and cried and cried because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. My professor was an asshole and the other professor made the exams extremely hard. I almost end up quitting and changing my major for something “easier”. I held on and remembered that all these Maths and Physics were not why I wanted to study this, I wanted t study this for what was beyond those first two years. I needed to stay on the race to get where I wanted.

Now I’m in my fifth semester. I’m learning loads of programming languages and even though I hate my Networks class, I’m learning a lot about networks. I’m happy that I’ve always known my path in life. I have other interests like fashion and make up and stuffed ponies but engineering is the one that I know is the right for me. Besides, it totally fits my personality and I love being in my cave (the computer lab, where I take all of my classes).

OMG I overdid it again. Sorry n_n.

Kisses.

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Loulou October 5, 2008 at 2:48 pm

Brilliant article girl! very inspiring, it’s lovely to read other peoples stories! xxx

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Scribbles October 5, 2008 at 3:11 pm

I’m so one of those people who followed the “recommended” path rather than what I should have done. I did a commerce degree, it was such a struggle the entire way through and after two years doing the job I knew I was just wasting my time and going through the motions. I realised the only fun part of my job was educating the other staff and I decided to go back to one of my dreams of being an English and drama teacher. There have been obstacles – my boyfriend broke up with me because he didn’t support my ambition and many of my friends don’t understand why I am choosing now to follow these dreams- but on the whole life has fallen much more neatly into place; this is clearly what I’m meant to do. You’ve got to love it when God/Allah/The Universe shows you that no matter what the difficulties you are experiencing, you are in exactly the right place at the right time following your destiny!

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Cheray Natalie October 5, 2008 at 4:55 pm

I love it Gilda! Such a wonderful post!
I actually bumped into a childhood friend yesterday, and she had just purchased a book that was exactly along the lines of this post!
I started at 5 wanting to be a vet – but after I watched a documentary on vets (and realized helping animals meant surgery) I changed my mind and decided I wanted to be an author!
I wrote everyday and everywhere – you would never find me without my notebook! But over the past few (possibly 4?!!) years I began writing less and less…I found it completely frustrating and felt helpless and lost!
I guess i’m still unsure of my “path”, but I know that writing and travel bring me complete happiness, so I figure i’m on the way to finding my purpose!
xxx

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star October 5, 2008 at 5:48 pm

wonderful.

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Amber October 5, 2008 at 9:17 pm

This is a lovely post Gilda, thank you for sharing your story. It really reflects the thought processes I’m going through now – quarter life crisis type thinking – what do I want to do when I grow up? Who do I want to be? I think it’s fashion writing for me, more and more every day. Thanks again! x

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Miss Karen October 5, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Oh this is such a fantastic post. I’m exactly the same position as the person who emailed. I hate my job and everything I’ve done since I left high school has just took me further and further into the opposite direction. Now I’ve lost any dream or passion I once had so I’m now in the process of remembering what gave me the most joy. Your post is definitely inspirational!

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Leanne October 6, 2008 at 8:58 am

Oh wow Gilda. I was hoping for a post like this for some time.

I haven’t had the chance to read all of it yet and I have to head off to bed, but I glanced over two over 2 of your suggestions, which i hope i’ll be able to do soon: the word game and asking the people who want the best for you. i don’t think i’ve ever sat down and asked my friends what they think im good at and what makes me smile.

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Leah October 6, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Fabulous post Glida!

I resonate completely with the “smart kids do science, ones who can’t do arts” because my school is like that completely. Okay, that may be because it has a special “science college status” but students who want to do other things should be able to get the same input!

I’m lucky in that I’ve known since I was around 10 that I want to be a fashion designer (or in some kind of design field) and my family have been completely and utterly supportive of everything (despite being almost all doctors) so I’m slowly working toward that goal. And with a LOT of hard work and possibly a little luck, it’ll be possible!

I still always feel really conscious telling people that’s what I want to do though…

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Leanne October 6, 2008 at 10:24 pm

As a child I wanted to be a lawyer than an optometrist. As I entered highschool, I wanted to be an artist, a graphic designer, a writer, a photographer. Now I’m a medical student. I know you’ve heard my story a tonne of times too Gilda. I did Med because I could, my parents wanted me to, I was too scared to dwell into arts because all my life my school and my culture held the belief (like yours), science are for the good students and arts are for other students. my highschool did not let me do art and they even lied to me!

when i was reading about the dark 2 years of your life, it kind of gave me hope.. because in many ways i’m experiencing one of the darkest years of my life right now. it’s funny how it won’t go away. no matter if you have “better days” but then it comes back to haunt you. but seeing you, made me see that it WILL get better. i hope it does.

thanks for the post, gilda<3

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claire johnson October 9, 2008 at 4:57 am

this was a wonderful post Gilda. thankyou!
Im going through a huge ‘What do I want to do with my life?’ phase..
I’ve always felt a huge passion for design, especially interior design. Or even event organizing, yet it seems I may not be able to do it as all the courses require you to be good at painting etc. I am good at the technical drawings that are essential for the course, but do not enjoy painting flowers and whatnot, so feel like I don’t really have a chance. I am not wanting to be an artist, but a designer. *sigh*

So now I’ve been looking into marketing/PR & am interested in such careers as Fashion Marketing and Fashion Coordinators, as I too love fashion (not so good at fashion designs though haha) Yet Im not sure what my skills are, & whether or not I would be suited to this career.
Ive been told by my boss, in my part time cafe job, that my specialty is with the customers, chatting to them and my communication skills.

I am at a loss for what to do. so I’m booking an appointment with a local careers adviser to see if they could help me possibly. I cant wait for your next article :D

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YY October 10, 2008 at 8:33 am

*hug* this post really picked me up today and gave me a little hope that I *can* still find something that I enjoy doing that wont make me have to live on the streets.

I have my own story too..but I’m a bit shy to post the whole thing here!

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gilda October 10, 2008 at 9:11 am

hello my darling readers. i’ve been reading your comments and feel like i need to give a proper reply to all of you, even though i’m really busy! some of you have really touched me. so i will sit down tonight after i get home and re-read all your comments, and post my follow-up entry!

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Ana October 11, 2008 at 1:05 am

This is a really, really inspirational piece–made all the more with your own story. This will give a lot of people hope and the point about knowing “your purpose ” is right on. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box and go in another direction in order to reach your dream(s). Or as I like to say, “be improv!”.

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gilda October 12, 2008 at 3:47 am

+sara+
fashion design!! really? that sounds exciting. i hope to hear more about your fashion adventures soon then! :) i think in fashion, everyone questions themselves from time to time. not about our abilities… we all have different talents and i’m sure we know what we’re good at. but sometimes it’s more like, “oh my god it this all worth it?” etc. you do have to sacrifice a lot for your craft! but i know it’s worth it. it just has to be!

+julie+
wow, how amazing!!! you obviously love what you’re doing because i’ve never heard anyone speak with so much passion about it! it’s true that the world you live in is mainly male-dominated, but hey, you’ll be the cool chick in the middle of all these geeks. you’re always talking about your tests and exams for some subject that i’ve never even heard of, and i’m sure you’re doing great at it!

+loulou+
i get inspired reading about everyone’s stories too! it’s so interesting.

+scribbles+
it must have been so hard for you after investing so much time and effort into it, to break away! and emotionally draining since your friends and then-boyfriend didn’t support your path either. but well, at least you have the rest of your life to enjoy this road you’ve taken! “you are in exactly the right place at the right time following your destiny!” that’s great! i love that.

+cheray natalie+
too bad i wouldn’t know how to write a book. hahaha ;) well you and i are so alike! i couldn’t become a vet because i could never really do even mini-operations on animals… and if someone brought in a badly cared for dog or cat with wounds and maggots, i might puke and then beat that person up. maybe you should consider being a traveling writer. :D joining the best of both worlds. haha! i really admire writers because i don’t write well. hence i don’t update this blog as often as i would like to, since i don’t have the time too, and ideas/words don’t come to me easily. since you love it, you should really pursue it in some way! maybe i’ll be reading a book of yours one day. :)

+star+
yay!

+amber+
quarter-life crisis! haha. i think gala wrote about that a little while ago. but yes, you should definitely explore that option more and more! i think you’re great at it!

+miss karen+
ohhh~~ i’m sorry to hear that. but i’m happy that you’re taking steps towards your dream. i think, like what my hockey coach always, you have to go back to your roots and remember what is really fundamentally important. i always remembered that. and perhaps it might help you too. :) good luck!!

+leah+
oh you’re a lucky lucky girl that you know that you want, and your family is totally behind you! not everyone has such fortune. i know exactly what you mean when you said that sometimes you’re uncomfortable telling people what you do. but i think i’ve grown up now, and tokyo and new york has toughened me up a little and given me pride in what i do. i hope one day you’ll be proud too and have a slight, “i’m a fashion designer yeah yeah yeah so what?” kind of attitude. hahahaha ok not really, but just slightly. :D

+leanne+
the school lied to you!??! wtf! some institutions are really all political and should be burned down. i hate them. anyway. i do know you love art and drawing and it’s a shame that you can’t pursue it as much as you like, but at least you’re going to dr sketchy’s now! and see, you even won! :) i really respect that you are doing medicine now for your parents. i know i read on your blog before that you really didn’t want to, and yet when you went around on attachments, it gave you a real sense of achievement and fulfillment to be able to help all these people. i think that’s great! i think it’s weird sometimes to explain to other people how as asians, we do a lot of things for our parents because it’s just what we were brought up to do. and i don’t think it’s a bad thing. i just hope that after you finish medical school that you might take some time to do something that is really for you and you alone! i guess it’s hard for an artist to survive and we’re not living in some fantasy land. but you know, so many of my parents’ doctor friends all paint and do art. so why not try that route (try it, you just might like it. haha!) and see if it works out? you can be a doctor, help save the world, and go home and paint, have exhibitions etc. you’ll be able to afford reality and afford painting, and really have the best of both worlds. just a suggestion. :)

+claire johnson+
i don’t get it, why do you need to be able to paint flowers? you mean like flowers as interiors? don’t designers now use computers or markers? you know, i could hardly draw before i started fashion school, and it was one of my biggest worries. but after all that practice, i really got better at it. at first, it was really embarrassing when i had to hand in work or show my work to fellow students who really have a talent in it. but, you know, i had to bite my lip, suck it up and really have a thick skin. i don’t believe you have to be a good artist/illustrator/painter to be a good designer. designing is about taste and an eye for creation. drawing is drawing. you really don’t need to be the best at drawing to be a great designer! you can also get better at drawing with practice. i’m a firm believer because i’m getting better at it myself. it seems you have so many interests, and since you are a people person, (and not many people are great at interaction), i think it’ll be great if you can use this trait of yours in your career too. i hope a professional will be able to help you, but don’t listen to one person, i think you should talk to a few people, and really talk to yourself too! ultimately, you have to choose your own path. what you want to do shouldn’t be stopped and halted just because you think you can’t do something (like drawing) when you haven’t really tried and practiced at it yet! i would love to hear how everything goes! keep in touch. :)

+yy+
wow,thanks for emailing! i didn’t know that contact form box could hold so many words either. hahaha! i will reply you on emails then. :)

+ana+
improv is certainly right!!

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Mrs F October 15, 2008 at 9:11 am

Hi Gilda – I loved your post.
I have a very different angle. I am looking back, to my present and to the future. Things are a little different for me.
I’m 37.
When I was young, my (English) parents had hopes for me as I did for myself, to be a doctor. In my heart I knew it was ABSOLUTLEY the wrong decision. That was 20 years ago. Half way through my A levels, I broke down on the summer holiday and said I wanted to change from ahem Biology, chemistry and maths (nightmare – obvious failure ahead) to English drama and french (total dream, where my talents lay).
we decided I would stick on the science route and I would complete – OF COURSE I DIDN’T MAKE THE GRADE!
I read this story and only wish that I had been as tenacious and strong as you have been. I went on to get a very unhappy and very mediocre degree in psychology and biology and continued on a path of dissatisfaction and mediocrity since then.
There is some semblance of a happy ending to this story, I live in Tokyo and married to a wonderful Japanese man but am persistently haunted by feelings of dissatisfaction. I hate my job right now, even though there are elements of it I enjoy I am utterly stuck. If I had just stuck to my guns aged 17, really followed my heart torn it up and been brave I wonder what wouyld have been different. There aren’t many things I regret in life, but that, hugely pivotal mistake – a paradigm mistake if you like, is one of them. I am at a crossroads now. My priorities are different to those of my 20s and teens now I am in my late 30s. I desperately want to make a change – I have set myself a goal, it is so scary especially not making decisions for myself.

So my question to you is this sweet Gilda, transport yourself into the future.
What would you say to a girl who is desperate to make a change, who admires you and people like you, who have made huge personal advances on the back of brave decisions?
What do you say?
I will listen humbly and openly.
Thanks Gilda – and any readers who have a bit of advice – how should I start my new year???

(I am posting this anonymously – please understand)

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Bongos November 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm

This post has really hit home for me. I can relate to it so well. I’m currently in a job that I hate, and day after day I hate waking up to face it. Even though the job can potentially make me lots and lots of money, I can’t stand it. My true passion in life is music! I live and breathe music. And all day at my job I think about music and what I’d rather be doing instead. And I know that I might not make a lot of money with music, but I’d rather make no money doing what I love than make a lot of money doing what I hate. Great post! It has honestly made me consider changing lifestyles. Thanks. -M

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Shaina January 25, 2009 at 10:33 pm

Hi, my names Shaina. I just happened to come across your blog from another blog called “Doo Deere blogazine.” Your blog was mentioned as one of the rising personality blogs amongst a few others, so I wanted to check it out, and am so glad I did! After skimming through your blog I came across this post, which was really ironic, because I just had a
conversation with my mom on the way home earlier, about that topic. I don’t want to get into too much details, so I’ll try keeping this really short, but basically I’m 19 and am having that time in my life where I feel hopeless and am constantly depressed. I feel as if my life is over and am only 19! I think a lot of it comes from me realizing that life isn’t easy and nothing is handed to you on a silver platter unless your extremely lucky (lol!). The ideas I had, the goals I had, are a lot much harder to achieve than I thought. I can’t find a job and I’ve been trying to get into community college but keep registering late. Also my dad he’s very miserable. When I say miserable, I mean “miserable” to the point where he drinks until he’s drunk, likes to argue a lot and has physically gotten violent and I know this is because his “American Dream” didn’t come true so instead of being content with what he has now he’s taking his anger and misery around others…I just feel my spirit is literally destroyed whenever I’m around him. He’s also crushed my dreams of becoming a fashion designer saying its not realistic, not reality and won’t keep bread on the table. On the other hand I have a very supportive mother who really believes in me and really believes I should pursue a career in fashion but most of the time I feel she’s pushing too hard to the point where I get really defensive and want to tell her to shut the f**k up! Also, I guess I’ve become my own worst enemy. I get critical and am always fearful. I’m scared because I don’t want to fail. I cry a lot physically and emotionally and I’ve thought about suicide but never wanted to carry through plus now I don’t think its a way to solve a problem. Aside from that, reading this post has shed some light and helped me realized that my life is what I make of it. What I’m going through now is a phase, I hope…

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y February 13, 2009 at 11:04 am

Hey again Gilda

Don’t know where you’ve disappeared to but I just dropped by to read this post again as I was feeling a bit down about my life!!

Thanks again for writing it!

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Lea a. April 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Dear gilda. I want to laugh when i read all these peoples comments because there so true. Im a sophmore in highschool and allready my mom is starting to put alot of pressure on me about what im going to do when im out of highschool. I thought i wanted to be a vet too when i was younger, and the same as one of the comments on this website i realized i couldn’t because of the blood n stuff. So now my mom thinks i should do something in biology like work at a national park or something. Although it seems like a lot of fun because i would get to travel alot and stuff it origanally wasn’t my dream. Im starting to like it more and more because i have always had a love for nature but theres other things that i like more. I love art (drawing and painting,) i love writing (although i can never seem to finish any of my stories),traveling,singing and i like fashion. I have never really dreamed about things like jobs except for the vet one. I have always been a dreamer of love. I feel like i should have been a princess who gets swept away by her prince in another era. Sometimes i think i might want to open my own art store and sell my things for a living one day. I know i would love it but i probably wouldn’t make enough money to travel and another one of my crazy dreams is to travel the world. Or to be famous i think being a famous singer or actor would be amazing and i have had countless dreams of being on stage or going on american idol. I know im not a bad singer, people say this all the time but im not tone deaf or off tune. Except im a little bit stage fright. I dont think my mom cares for any of these things. She says ill never make any money doing something with art or fashion because you have to become famous to do that. She doesn’t hate my writing but she frowns on it like its a useless hobby that i could do part time to bring in money. Obviously you cant travel the world without money unless i marry someone rich, which i would have to love him. But what about the singing or acting? Well she frowns on it too. Because i would have to be famous and we dont have the time to go to casting calls or try out for any singing auditions. I know im going to college. I really want to go to fidm, which is a fashion college. I have three main choices, do something with science like biology, go to fidm or follow one of my crazy dreams, like singing, acting, traveling, or art. When i really narrow it down its between fidm and biology. My mom says if i went to fidm i would have to pay for it myself because she wont pay 4 me to go to fashion college if i did go what would be my chances of being suggcesssful? Even though being a park ranger or a wildlife biologist would be fun, i cant see myself doing it for the rest of my life and i strangely feel like shes forcing it on me because thats my only real “smart” area. I might be ok with doing it if i knew i wouldn’t regret it later for one of my other passions.But if i did fashion and never went anywhere my mom would say i told you so and it could be too late for the biology one. She says i could take a fashion and art class while in college but im horribly confused. Sometimes i can’t even sleep at night thinking about it. I will remind you that im still a sophmore in highschool so i have some time to decide but i feel if i don’t make my descision soon i never will. And i ll be stuck doig something lousy so i can support myself. It sounds crazy dont it. Well maybe im just overthinking it.

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Lea a. April 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Oh btw, i like your military look designs and your teachers probably dont like them because they couldn’t come up with something like that themselves. Its good that your designs are different or it wouldn’t be fashion.If designs are all the same their boring and their copying someone else. Besides isn’t fashion based on the idea of creating something new and bringing it to the table? I was taught that there’s no right or wrong way to do art. Fashion is a form of art. I wish you luck.

Your confuzeled amiga lea!

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Erica June 17, 2011 at 4:13 am

Hi, i just happened across your site and when i found this blog on this particular topic. I believe its never to late to follow your dreams or become the person you are meant to be. I myself am going through this having decided that at 40 years of age when my kids are just leaving home that fashion design is what I want to do with my life, I live, breathe and adore creating and designing and fashion and have made the decision to follow my dream and become the real me. I am about to give up a high paying office management job to leap into the unknow. I cant wait, I know its going to be hard but to wake up each morning and know that im going to be doing what i love to do is worth it, you only have one life so take the bull by the horns and just do it.

Everyone else out there who has been lost or still lost there is a way out of this maze eventually, you just have to believe in your dreams.

:)

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