New Year's Eve is always a nostalgic time as we think back on our lives. Sometimes the past just needs to be remembered and acknowledged in some way, to honour where you have come from, and also where you are going.
As I was digging out the Christmas trimmings earlier this month a folder of art prints fell into my lap. These were prints that I had put away several years ago because they didn't really suit my tastes anymore, but they were too nice to throw away. Among them were a couple of Monet prints, the ones pictured here in this post, which had been given to me as Christmas gifts when I was just 21.
At the time they helped brighten up the tiny flat I lived in, but they were never really me... They remind me of a rather trying phase in my life which is why they were put away in a folder. At 21 I was working two jobs just to pay basic bills and survive, the flat I lived in was far from ideal and being young and ambitious I lived on the dream that one day I would be a published writer, though the whispers behind my back went something like this...
"Poor Marie, she'll never make anything of herself. She thinks she's going to be a writer...she's a barmaid and a care assistant, not a writer!"
I'd had a few jobs as I struggled to get published and unfortunately all people could see back then was a young woman who drifted from job to job and they commented accordingly. After all, no-one can see your dreams except you, so it was a fair assumption to make, that I was going nowhere and not making anything of my life. All the real work went on behind the scenes, while they were tucked into bed sleeping. Late at night I was writing and sending out book proposals and so on. Alas I was the only one who took this writing work seriously. Thinking back on that time I am reminded of a quotation I read online somewhere and which stuck in my mind...
First they laugh. Then they copy.
When the odds seem stacked against you; when you are not sure how you are going cross from your present into your future, you need to trust that you are stepping onto a magical, invisible bridge that will carry you safely to where you want to be. I don't blame people for thinking I wasn't going anywhere - on the surface of my life back then, that is the way it must have appeared to them but my achievements in publishing since that time speak for themselves - I need no other endorsement.
Sometimes people just do not have the breadth and depth of mind to comprehend your dream. They are not just being mean. It is after all, your dream, not theirs...they will only understand it when you have made it your reality and it is staring them in the face on a daily basis. They need to see proof; then, for one reason or another, they will rally to your cause...but while ever it is just an ambition, you're on your own with it! How they emotionally deal with the success of your dream is also down to them, not you.
As a new year fast approaches in the next few hours lots of people will be thinking of what they want 2017 to bring them, but I like to wonder what I will bring to 2017? For it is in our personal efforts and achievements that our life experience becomes positive or negative. Anyone can sit and moan about their lot in life, complaining that they can never get a leg up or a foot in the door or catch a break etc. Complaint is easy. Achievement takes effort. If you simply cannot be bothered with your own life and drift through it in a state of apathy then how can you expect to see great results?
I have just six months left of my psychotherapy training so 2017 will be the start of a second professional career for me. To honour the past I have come from, I am going to put the two Monet prints into the clear sleeves on the front of a couple of A4 ring binders, to make pretty covers. These folders will be used to keep my clinical notes in when I am seeing clients in placement. In this way, my past is used as a focus for my future...a reminder that once upon a time, people thought I was going nowhere fast and now I have not just one, but two successful and professional career paths.
Whatever your ambitions are for 2017, don't let the naysayers get you down or keep you from your dream...remember, they can't see your dream, only you can. Next year you may well have realised your 2017 dream too.
And if you hear some sneering and sniggering along the way, just remember...First they laugh. Then they copy.
Happy New Year!