Be Who You Are Now
by Jo Macdonald
What were you like at 15? At 25 or 35? I bet you were different in so many ways to who you are now. I know I certainly was.
Actually, let me clarify that a little. I think the essence of who I am is basically the same...a creative soul who loves to laugh and has a preference for spontaneous behaviour over planning. But, in a million ways I am also incredibly different to that girl I once was. And that is how it should be.
We are all constantly growing, shifting, changing...so why is it then that we allow ourselves to be boxed in by old stories, or other people's opinions of us based upon who we once were? Why do we let these stories and opinions hold us back and keep us living our life according to an outdated version of ourselves?
Have you ever seen someone doing something and said 'Oh, that looks so fun, I'd love to try doing that' only to have the friend or family member sitting next to you laugh and say 'that is so not you! I'd be very suprised if you had a go at that'? I have, and honestly, it really sucks. If you're not careful it can easily make you shove that idea to the back of your mind and buy into the idea that it's not for you. But the older I get the more I'm beginning to say 'okay, be suprised then!' because I no longer want to live my life according to someone else's idea of who I am. Heck, just because I haven't done something before, doesn't mean I can't do it now!
Perhaps as a kid you hated any kind of sports but now, in your 40's, you have begun to think that running or martial arts look kind of fun. Or perhaps you went camping in your 20's with a group of friends and it totally sucked, you hated it, and ever since people have said you're 'not an outdoorsy person'. But, recently you've been thinking how much you'd like to climb a mountain or wild camp or swim in a waterfall. Or maybe you've never liked dresses or makeup but now feel that a bit more glamour would be cool to play around with.
We can hold onto those old versions of ourselves and keep living our life the same way we always have, bound by old rules we made for ourselves, and dismissing thoughts as not for us because of who we used to be...or, we can let them go and follow wherever our heart leads us and do as Rumi says 'Respond to every call that excites our soul'. I know which one sounds more fun to me!
And so what if you go wild camping and don't like it, or you go to a martial arts class and it's not for you...who cares, at least you gave it a go, which is more than that person sitting on the sofa judging and labeling others did.
So, if you've always been a jeans and t-shirt girl but now you find yourself lusting over dresses and heels, or you've always been shy but now want to give drama a go, or you have a sudden urge to take up driving having always walked everywhere, or you want to give up drinking (or take it up), move to the city after years living in the country, go backpacking, start a business, or anything else that calls to you...then go for it. And don't worry about what anyone else thinks
Be who you are now.
Listen to what excites your soul.
Re-design your life.
Expand the edges of your comfort zone.
Do what makes you happy...and then take the time to find more things that make you happy.
Don't hold yourself back just because you used to be a certain way, or because other people picked a label for you, and hey, don't do it to the people in your life either. Listen to the things that call to you right now, and be yourself. Your new, over 40 self. Because life is too short to pass up new experiences and adventures by living in an old story.
What is calling to you?