Last month, I graduated college almost nineteen years from when I started.
It has been a long journey and there are some things I have realized along the way.
1. It is never too late to improve your life.
If you had asked me six years ago if I ever saw myself going back to college or doing anything other than office work for the rest of my life, I would have told you that I was happy where I was and what I was doing. I never thought that an upset in my life, that felt like a tragedy at the time, would pave the way for incredible and rewarding things for my future. But, that is exactly what it did. If I did not quit that job that was making me miserable in 2013, I would not be pursuing a worthwhile future in 2016. If you are miserable, and your heart tells you every day that you need to be somewhere else doing something else, try your best to make that change come true. Now, I realize that all the great people in my life made this possible for me without that much difficulty. Sacrifices were made, but none that I would not have done for them if they needed me to and if I was able. That leads me to my next realization...
2. Things that may seem impossible are not usually, in fact, impossible.
I am sure that you have heard the old adage, "Where there is a will, there is a way"? Oftentimes, this is always true. Not saying that it will be easy or without pitfalls, but the will has to be there in order for the way to be paved. I suggest that if you have something you know in your heart of hearts to be what you want to have in your life, make a plan and do a little something each day to be closer to the goal of that plan. Have hope and faith in yourself, even if those around you feel like what you are doing is ridiculous. IT IS NOT RIDICULOUS. You never know what you can do until you try to do it. Don't let anyone stop you. Especially not that nagging, self-depreciating voice inside your own head. That one is the most evil and the most painful of all the negative voices.
3. Evolving is not changing who you are at your core. It is just changing how you appear to be.
I am still a fan of the dark and macabre. I still love rock n' roll and I know it saved my life when it needed saving. I still love Star Wars, stories about vampires and superheroes, and poems that rhyme. I'm not a different person now because I chose to evolve. I am the best version of me because I chose to evolve. There will be people who may try to tell you that you have changed because you're trying to improve your way of life, your income, or your happiness. Hell, I even had someone say that I was too "traditional" for choosing an office job when it was what I felt suited me at the time. If you keep your core values inside your heart at all times you will not change who you are. You're only changing what you appear to be to the outside world. I'm still a person with a sense of humor, I still love the same things I loved before I graduated college, and I always will. It's not throwing away the old you and trading it for a new you. IT IS NOT SELLING OUT. It is adding more color, more vibrancy, more knowledge, and more material to your existence. That is never a bad thing and don't let anyone ever make you feel like it is.
4. If there are good people surrounding you, you will do better.
Surround yourself with people who enrich every part of you. Of course, no one person, unless you are very lucky, will make your whole character feel enriched all the time. Sometimes you have to gather the bits and pieces of enrichment from different people. But, one constant has to be present in all of these people: THEY HAVE TO BE INHERENTLY GOOD. Their heart has to show no animosity, envy, or malice towards yours. You have to be aware of these things and realize when they are present because they are toxic when they are. A friend or a colleague should never make you feel anything other than valued. Even a superior. It is possible to be a boss and not be condescending. Remaining humble is also something that should weed out people like this. Don't act like your turds are 24k gold and they usually won't act like theirs are platinum. If they do, they are not inherently good, and try to get away from them ASAP.
5. Never give up on your dreams, even if you have to do other things and make 10,000 mistakes while pursuing them.
I think that one is self-explanatory, but just in case...don't give up. Make your dream come true even if it is on a smaller scale than what you wanted. NEVER STOP TRYING.