Younger Self: Stop What—Ifff-ing!!






Ok, I originally thought of this post as geared toward the 20-year-old me, but the truth of the matter is I could've used a kick in the pants at so many points in my life. 

It’s a habit I’m intent on breaking, the round robin of thinking about what I could do, or what I should do. The idea of waiting for the perfect time...the perfect situation...

Guess what, perfect is never.

I know, I know, daydreaming is normal and useful. But I’m talking about doing this for hours. For days and weeks and months and years.

So, whatever age you are now, STOP IT. Produce, create, grow. Stop What-Iff-ing. Want some examples? Ok, you got it…

1.     Grad school. I talked about graduate school when I was an undergrad. I talked about graduate school after I graduated. I kept talking about graduate school as friends of mine got their graduate degrees, then their doctorates, then they began teaching at graduate schools. There was even a point when I could have gone to graduate school FOR FREE (tuition remission program because I was working at a university, look into it, it’s an amazing perk) but I didn’t go because then I’d have my undergrad and my graduate degree from the same school. Someone told me that doesn’t look good. And for some reason I listened to that person. After all that talk about it, I never went. Ack! If this sound familiar, trust me, just go.

2.     Visiting friends in foreign countries. Yup, there was a time when I had friends in France, England, Thailand, China, Costa Rica, and Italy. And I remember how they all said I should visit. And I remember telling them I would…someday. When I had more cash or when my boyfriend had time off or when I was able to go for a full month because two weeks wasn’t enough, or, or, or.  Newsflash: They don’t live there anymore. Yes, I can still travel, but man, it sure would be nice to have a friend show me around once I got there. If you get the invite—go. (FYI: This applies to cities in your own country, too.)

3.     Writing. This is a past/present dilemma. I spend more time thinking about writing than I do actually writing. That book about the ghosts in the hotel – finish it. The illustrated piece about family magic – finish it. Or the tennis essay? You know what I’m going to say, right? FINISH IT! Planning to write is not writing. Outlining is not writing. Telling your friends about what you plan to write over coffee/dinner/drinks is not writing. Writing is writing. So, yeah. Finish what you start. Get those words on the page.

Listen up 20-something me (even 30-something me, if I’m going to be honest) dreams are great. Dream big, definitely. But don’t worry about how you’ll tackle your biggest dream. Focus on the first step. Think about what you can do, today, to move you in the right direction. Then…you know…take that step.

Ok, darlin’, time to get to work. ;)

Ox,
Mali




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