A Prelude to a New Beginning
Choosing our path in life, such as deciding to become a doctor or the next president, is our right, a gift. Yet for some of us, unfortunately, this privilege slips from our hands. Sometimes with confidence and sometimes without, we let other people choose our path for us. More often than not, this leads to an unsatisfactory life. Sometimes, luckily, while trudging the path chosen by others we discover what it is that we really want. We discover our dream.
Kudos if we choose to pursue our own! But what happens when we don't? As we continue on the path we didn't choose, our dream is put inside a shell and stowed away in some unnamed place inside us, never to be seen and heard from again. However, there's a catch. While the dream inside the shell vanishes from our eyes and ears, it can still be felt. It never truly goes away. It's like loving someone. We may not see them or hear from them for days but our love for them remains. And so the rest of our lives carries on, the dream remains in the shell sending out some reminders every now and then. Every time it does, we are confronted with two choices: ignore the imprisoned dream or bestow it freedom. Ignore the dream inside the shell and we're stuck in a loop. Every now and then, it sends some reminders again. We're given two options again. The cycle never ends.
What if we let the dream out of the shell instead? Then we better get ready for a new beginning.
A Beautiful Beginning
What a beautiful sight - the human body setting free and embracing its own spirit. It ceases to being only just a human body, in its place are both body and spirit intertwined, standing and walking as if they're one. In fact they have finally become one, ordinary people ordinary no more. Sometimes we bump into them out on the streets, people with that special something. They glow with life, possess lively eyes, and have spring on their steps. We wish we are like them and sadness settles in as we learned that we aren't. We aren't...
...yet. But we can. We can be like them, those ordinary people ordinary no more.
It doesn't matter whatever the time or our age is because true living does not have a time and an age limit. It also doesn't matter what we currently have. What matters is that we start (or start again). We can take control of our life and finally get on the path we really want. I know because I did.
After a decade of ignoring my dream inside the shell, I let it out. Then I found myself back at the bottom of the ladder of a new career and soon enough I felt overwhelmed. I learned why some people hesitate to start a new career. They don't want to deal with the overwhelming emotions that are packaged with it.
We can divide those overwhelming emotions into two: negative and positive.
Let's begin with the negative emotions waiting for us when we start a new career.
Of course you will be scared starting a new career! Humans like staying in the comfort zone. Once pushed out of it, worry creeps in and can escalate into being scared. We fear the unknown, just like how man used to be during the caveman days. Imagine you're in that timeline. You find yourself about to enter an unfamiliar jungle. Of course you'll be damn scared. You don't know what you'll come across in there, what beasts lurk or what surprises await. Once you get familiar with it though, going through is not as scary as it used to. You'll eventually become comfortable in it. Think of that jungle as your new career. In the beginning, you'll find it scary but it's just fear of the unknown. You'll eventually beat it and it will do wonders for your self-esteem.
You're the new kid on the block, the foreigner in a foreign land, the alien in a new planet, at least for a while. No matter how many times people you know try to encourage you or tell you they support you, it's never enough. Nobody really understands how you feel except yourself. You can keep on begging words of reassurance from others but that's not enough to assuage you of your fears and worries. That's okay. Accept that loneliness because it's only temporal. Besides, what's life without a bit of loneliness every now and then anyway? We discover inner strength we don't know we have in such times. And what about being the new kid on the block? Turn the situation around and look at it as an opportunity to meet new people.
Just when you thought you made the right decision, a small mishap happens or an ill-meaning word from someone lands on your ears. What you thought were courage and strength sank down the drain as you struggle during the adjustment period. The memory of your old career, the comfort zone, flashes in your mind and you think, "Perhaps I should go back." DON'T! Just don't. This feeling of doubt is a test of your will. Are you going to let it defeat and scare you away before good things begin to take off in your new career? Of course you will not, I'm sure of that. If you find doubt attempting to poison you, say this to yourself over and over - "I will never look back. I will never look back."
You're back at the bottom of the ladder (or at least it appears that way). You're learning the ropes. Your skills are back to basics. You're making mistakes, trying things that may or may not work. You see established people in your new career doing things with ease. You feel helpless. Don't fret. There's always an adjustment period when beginning a new career. You'll get the hang of things eventually. While you're making mistakes, look at the bright side of it, you're learning what DOESN'T work. I repeat. You're learning.
These negative emotions only appear to be negative on the outside. The truth is they're sweet candies hidden inside bitter gourd wrappings. Peel of the bitter layer of these emotions and you'll find the sweet in it. These "negative" emotions can be used to benefit you in one form or another. Now to the other end of the spectrum - the positive emotions.
There is no way possible you will not feel excited at the beginning of your new career. If you're not excited, reconsider your new path. Your new career is a new adventure. Better yet, think of it as a new life. How many people can say they got a "second chance" in life? The possibility of good things waiting for you down the road, meeting new people, experiencing new things, going to a new environment, all will make you excited. You'll feel like a child about to open a Christmas gift.
Because you're excited, you'll be more energised. The right energy had been accumulated during all that time you spent on the wrong path. Take advantage of that energy. Turn it into enthusiasm for your new career, in meeting new people, or in learning or improving a skill. Build a momentum with it. Use that energy to create more energy. Don't put it to waste!
Abandoning a career to begin a new one will take courage. You will earn a ribbon for being Most Courageous. It takes guts to do that. Not everyone can claim they walked away from a career they didn't want in the first place to venture into the one they want to be in the most. You will feel courageous because you were courageous. Courage begets further courage and action begets further action. Learn from moments when you feel courageous and recall it whenever you need to make a big decision down the road once more.
Being courageous to go back to the beginning will give you a jolt of confidence you probably may not have. Your self-esteem will increase and you'll have more confidence in facing challenges down the road. One reason why some people are afraid to start a new career is lack of self-confidence. It's ironic that getting past that will give someone exactly what they lack, confidence. They just have to close their eyes, ignore the rumblings in their stomach, and take a leap of faith. On the other side, they'll find a chest of self-confidence waiting for them as a reward for taking action. The thing about confidence is when you got it, it's very, very hard to give it away. You have obtained a weapon.
While there are negative emotions waiting for you when you start a new career, they should not be reasons for you to back out. Face those negative emotions and look at them for what they really are, sweet candies wrapped in bitter gourd. Once you get past the unpleasant flavour, you'll get to the delightful ones. After that, enjoy the rest of the better emotions and your new career. Don't forget, it is always in the journey, not in the destination, where heroes are born.