Part of growing up is learning yourself. It’s not only growing, but discovering who you really are. It’s trial and error, it’s loss and gain, it’s achieving something you thought you always wanted, and then sometimes questioning whether or not it was an authentic desire, or one that you simply adopted from someone else.
The truth is that you don’t change your mind about your career as you get older, you change your mind as you gain experience. You prioritize money, then you get it, then you realize it doesn’t fulfill you in the same way that having more time does. Or, sometimes, the opposite can be true.
Either way, the fact is that the more you try, the better you get, and the more you achieve, the more you are going to come to terms with what is and isn’t working, what you do and don’t want for the long-term.
Then, you have a decision to make. You don’t decide whether or not you’re going to have to let go, because the things that aren’t meant for us will slip away eventually. What you do decide is whether or not you’re going to take that step when you realize you should, or if you’re going to carry on for months, even years, holding onto something you don’t want because you’re too afraid of the alternative.
People coach you all the time on how to persevere, develop resilience, and to refuse to give up, no matter what. What they don’t coach you on is that, more of the time, you’re going to have to learn how to fail with grace. You’re going to have to understand that sometimes, we walk away from some things not because they’re completely wrong, but because something else is really, really right. Sometimes, we walk away not because we don’t care, but because we have run out of growth.
So if you have arrived at that place in your life, one in which you recognize that the path you are on is not viable, the dreams you have were built for a person you used to be, and that you’re being held in place not by a desire to blossom but out of a fear to unearth your roots, may this be the year you have enough courage to allow your dreams to change.
May this be the year you know that you don’t fail yourself when you choose to give up on the things that are wrong for you, you honor yourself. You prioritize what you want over how you imagine it will look to other people. You learn to care more about what’s going to make you feel good than what other people would perceive to be right.
All of this is part of becoming yourself.
The world teaches you to have dreams, to believe in them, to stand by them, to fight for them no matter what. It rarely tells you that, over time, some dreams will eclipse others, some will get replaced, others will fall into the recesses of your mind. You’ll realize that some aren’t realistic, others you don’t have the fight in you to keep going after. Sometimes, you’ll come to understand that what you thought you wanted was a salve for your past problems, not really the fuel for your future life.
The truth is that just as important as it is to persevere, it is likewise as crucial to know when to let go, to give up, to set one thing down so you can pick up another. If your dreams have not ever changed, it means you haven’t grown. Or worse, it means that you haven’t yet had the courage to let go, and begin again. You owe nothing to the person you used to be. You owe everything to the person you are now.