When I was in high school, we were assigned to write a research paper on three careers we were interested in pursuing. Looking out of the small upstairs window in this little farmhouse, I wrote about going to college to study acting, becoming a famous actress who could do comedy and drama with ease, was a darling of the London and New York stage and had conquered the silver screen along with television. I wrote about becoming an accomplished dancer who traveled the world performing for sold out crowds at every venue. I wrote about writing stories that touched the hearts of those who read my words and writing in exotic parts of the world.

Although neatly typed and turned in on time, I received a C+ for the project because my career choices were judged unrealistic. I was a shy, quiet 15-year-old-girl in a small Midwestern farming community. How could I possibly aspire to be an actress, a dancer, or a writer for that matter? I had never taken a dance lesson or showed any particular talent for the stage. My writing was confined to my journals and never shared with anyone.

I had been challenging myself to follow my dreams. Speech class just about gave me heart failure. I not only actively participated in class, I took part in the school district Speech contest for extra credit. I managed to be part of the cast of six in our class play, The Spiral Staircase, and didn’t die before, during or after any of the five performances.

I poured over college course descriptions and delighted in reading about Theatre and English Literature majors. In the end, I was convinced to take the safe route, getting a One Year Secretarial Certificate from the community college. I married a very nice boy and helped him earn a college degree.

I never gave up my dreams of what I believed my future could hold. I decided I had enough of making safe choices and waiting for my fantasy life to become a reality. I’m an adult, I know the fantasy can become a reality. A little girl born Frances Gumm followed the yellow brick road from Minnesota to Hollywood and became the triple talented singer, dancer, actor Judy Garland.

I quit my secretarial job and became a full-time college freshman a week before my 30th birthday.

I still wanted a family. I wanted a meaningful career, not a 9-5 job. I wanted it all. A college degree would be that first milestone just for me. I would have new career options because I’d discovered a passion for writing and would do whatever was necessary to achieve that goal. I no longer was that shy, insecure country girl. I was a young woman eager for new challenges and ready to tackle what life had in store as long as it came in small doses.

Now that I’ve rambled on and you’ve been so patient with me here is the secret I’ve never told anybody:

I’m feel most alive and at home with myself when I am sharing my story on stage!

I changed my story and discovered my path.

YOU can too.

Please hop over to my Facebook page to share when you feel most alive!

photo credit:  MEKnippel