Becoming Who You Are - Angelina Anzelone
follow your dreams
What do you want to be when you grow up?
That question let our childish minds wander deep into our greatest imaginations; after all we could be anything we wanted. An astronaut that fights aliens - a ballerina that dances with bears - a firefighting dinosaur - anything.
Then we get asked that same question again a few months (or years later) - “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Our answers changed a bit.
Fast forward through multiple times of being asked this, and the answers changing multiple times. An astronaut that fights aliens turns into an engineer - a ballerina that dances with bears turns into a teacher - a firefighting dinosaur turns into a postal worker - anything turns into something we never intended.
Over time we become conditioned to lose our imagination. We’re told that our dreams are just that - dreams. We conform to society and lose sight of what we need to do in order to chase our wildest, craziest dreams. In fact, we lose our desire to even have dreams altogether.
“Well I just Grew Up”
The typical response to conforming to society - “Well I just grew up, that’s all.” We all understand that it had to happen at some point; we expect to release our hold on our dreams, to blend into what is expected of us.
You see, as we grow up, our brains are like sponges. They absorb every bit of information possible; the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
Think back to the first time you answered that question of what you wanted to be when you grew up. Did your parents laugh to themselves, maybe even say, “Awww that’s cute.” This demeaning reaction is the very first experience most of us have of losing sight of our dreams.
Four years later, when we try to give a new, (but still creative) response to the dreaded question, the chuckle and “Awww that’s cute” turn into more of a full on laugh and “That’s nice - but you can’t make a living doing that.” And the more feedback we get along these lines, the more we internalize the understanding that “growing up” means deciding you want to be something completely different than before - something people will understand.
You can’t blame your parents for this though - they’re just going based off of what they were taught, and what their parents were taught, and what society teaches us is perfectly normal. You CAN have dreams...you just need to be realistic and achieve a secure future with them
Just a Dream
Now here’s the thing - society makes us believe that our dreams are “just dreams” and nothing more. Well, I’m here to tell you that they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact ,they are wrong in a multitude of ways.
You see, you can be anything you want to be. You can follow your dreams; perhaps you can’t become a dinosaur, but as an adult you’ve developed beyond that. Your dreams may still seem huge and impossible, but they are things that could really happen, if only you believed in them. If your heart is set on a career from the time you are three years old, there is nothing wrong with that. It shows certainty and determination. Both great characteristics to have. If your dream has changed into something different - maybe doing that TED Talk, making it to the Supreme Court, or publishing a book - you have every reason to be proud of your ambition, and every right to pursue your dreams.
No one can force you to become something you don’t want to be. I mean, yes, becoming a ballerina that dances with bears or a firefighting dinosaur is a bit extreme - but when you look at the root of these answers,, the childhood version of you was choosing to be creative, graceful, brave, bold - and those characteristics might very well be part of the dreams you hold today.
“I Can’t Just Make A Career Change”
At this point you might find yourself thinking - “Well, Angelina, this is all fine and dandy but it’s too late for me now.” Maybe you think you’re too old; maybe your dream job has nothing to do with your college major; maybe you would need to gain more experience and education; maybe it feels like it would take too long or be too much effort.
If you are thinking this, you’re right - but only because you have a limiting belief system.
Ultimately, the only thing holding you back from still going after your dreams is YOU. And as humans, we each have two types of beliefs: Limiting Beliefs and Empowering Beliefs.
Do you want to limit yourself (and continue to lead the same old life that you’ve been living) for years? OR Do you want to empower yourself to live the life you’ve always wanted?
Good news - choosing to change and empower yourself doesn’t have to be insurmountable OR impossible!
Following your heart does not mean you have to drop everything you know (or everything you’ve already built). All it means is that you may have to be creative in learning some ways you can chase your dreams without giving up everything you have. (Although...you may find that you need to give up a few things too. And that’s okay!)
So how do you do this? Simple!
Take classes on the side
Shadow someone who made a career out of your dream after work
Get your kids involved
In fact, getting your children (or grandchildren) involved can make it so much more worth your while. Not only will it bring up some quality time with the family, it will show them that it is ok to follow their heart, and demonstrate how important it is to chase your dreams. This will help you break the generational cycle of conforming to society, and inspire the next generation to chase after their dreams with pride and passion.
We’re living in a time where chasing your dreams is more accepted than it has ever been. Take advantage of this, and most importantly, document your journey along the way (you’ll be glad you did).
Make the choice to become who YOU want to be. It’s your decision and no one else’s.
Angelina Anzalone is a Community Relations Coordinator/Director of Admissions for a local nursing home in Buffalo, NY. Two years ago Angelina woke up on a random Tuesday and decided that it was time for a change. After spending the majority of her life living in a world full of negativity, anxiety, eating disorders, depression and a whole schlu of other things - she decided enough was enough.
Angelina realized that only she had the power to turn her life around and fill it with positivity, love and gratitude. It is Angelina’s passion and mission to show you that you are not alone in your struggles, and that there are practices you can incorporate into your daily life that will build you up to become the best version of you.
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