Updated: Dec 2, 2019
Have you ever got off a train, on a whim? Perhaps a few stops early, or just on a feeling? Think of every train journey you've ever taken. Remember them all? No. Of course not. But at one point, the moments of that train ride were your most important - they were your present ones.
Ever changed train for another in life? Taken a different route, or just left a journey altogether? I'm sure as you read that a junction moment in your life has popped into your mind. Stay with it, in this moment.
Throughout my academic education I carried home reports of my medium to average attainment levels in my studies to my ever encouraging parents, and tried to fit in as best as I could with life as it unfolded. But I never quite found ‘my thing’. The thing that would implicate I might be more of a somebody than I had already estimated myself as being. Sound familiar? I think I'm describing your average teenager! Endlessly searching for what might mark a person out as 'someone'. Do we ever lose that, as we age?
The thing about choice is it’s inherent components of rejection. To choose, is to disengage from another option. To effectively utilise the power of choice, we must loosen ourselves from an alternative. This can be tricky, particularly when there is more than one choice. Or indeed when the choice has to be made by mind against heart.
When I confidently dropped out of a perfectly good University course to pursue becoming a professional dancer with no training at all, I wasn’t met with overwhelming understanding for my vision. I was told by one in particular dancing school that I was disrespecting the institution of dance, and that I didn’t ‘appreciate’ the work that goes into the vocation. I was told by a few friends of mine that they were concerned about my path. This, above all else, was difficult to hear. I respected these friends. But I physically felt the weight of their rejection of my ideas.
In retrospect; I was untrained, unemployed, and with no definite prospects. I was also living with my long term boyfriend who was less and less impressed with my dancing plans with every passing day. At this point, it would have been easier in some ways to have given up on my ambitions, and gone back to what I had been doing. But easier for who?
I contemplated leaving my dream behind. Locking it all away as a memory. I could have effortlessly labelled it dutifully as ‘something I always wanted to do’; to be drawn upon only in future pub reflective conversations with friends on some Sunday that hadn’t happened yet. But I knew - just as I had done in the initial moments of that first ballet class - that life had already made it’s choice for me.
10 years on, and much has changed. I went on to fight for my path. I went on to meet wonderful men and women of the industry who shared my vision, and who supported my ambitions. I also met many friends who could see the white light of potential within me, rather than the darker shades of doubt. Within the passionate pursuit of a life of creative and personal freedom, I came up against battles I couldn’t have imagined. Ultimately, I took responsibility for my ambitions.
If we had every eventuality laid out neatly in front of us would we choose any differently? Would we gather options in our arms and use them to lay brick paths ahead of us? If we could, would it make any difference?
It’s a gentle Sunday today. I have a busy week ahead of me teaching various workshops here in the middle part of England. Students yet to meet, dances yet to be danced, and music yet to be lost within. I don’t quite know yet what the week will hold. But I do know it will be one of authenticity, in whatever way life, and I, choose for it to be.
We cannot guarantee anything in life. Revel in your choices, and the process of choosing. It's OK to choose to alight that train you might be hurtling forwards upon, if it doesn't feel right any longer. Change and board another.
You are not alone in this journey. And no one ever said you were on a limited ticket.
writer | relationship expert | coach