I'm what you call a late bloomer. I didn't go to college until I was thirty-eight (that's how long it took me to get the courage). I didn't find my soul mate until I was forty-five (I had years of countless relationships and two failed marriages). This year I will be sixty-two, and I still haven't completely figured out what I want to be when I grow up. That truth has yet to be revealed to me.
At a time when most women my age are bouncing their grand-kids on their knee, I never even got around to having kids. Instead, you could say that I've been in a perpetual state of my own pregnancy--that is, eagerly anticipating the birth of ME.
Throughout the years, there have been countless false alarms--times when I've been absolutely sure and convinced that I had found my "thing" only to discover that my "thing" just wasn't quite right. Some may accuse me of being fickle and lacking in commitment. But the truth is, my interests are wide and varied, and I have a low threshold for boredom.
False alarms can be exhausting for pregnant women--my mom told me so, because she experienced many of them when she was pregnant with me. Apparently, there were weeks of going back and forth from home to the hospital, only to be disappointed that I wasn't quite ready to show myself to the world.
And it's been no less exhausting for me on my own journey. I've often thought that I could have saved myself a lot of bother if I had just settled for something... anything. There'd be no more second-guessing myself, no more agonizing about who I am, and what I'm meant to do in the world. No more purging what disagrees with me, no more agony of leaving the security of good paying jobs. No more drifting from this to that. No more crying on my bed in a fetal position wondering why I can't be like other people and figure this thing out.
But in spite of all of that, getting myself to settle for less has never been an option for me. The soul wants what it wants, in the same way that the sun just has to shine.
Once you find yourself pregnant, the child has to be born. It's just a matter of time. And in the same way, we each have our own incubation time of figuring out what wants to be born. Some of us just take longer than others.
As I look back on all of those years of trying this and trying that, I've mistakenly thought it was all about finding work that best fits me. But what's really been going on, what I've really been trying to do all of these years (and continue to do) is to find ALIGNMENT with who I really am.
Attaining alignment is knowing what I love, and how I want to feel. It's knowing what I don't want. And it's allowing myself and giving myself permission to live in that space.
Try not to get discouraged if the years are rolling by, and you're still waiting to bloom. Keep on walking down the path that feels right to you; keep on doing the things you love; keep on purging what you don't want or like. Keep following those precious breadcrumbs. And as you do these things, know that you are one step closer to discovering what you want to be when you grow up. What you really want to be is ALIGNED with who you really are.