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There was a moment in my life when I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. I remember feeling inadequate, wondering what I wanted out of life.  I questioned what I had accomplished up to that point in my life and what my next steps would be. What legacy was I leaving my children?

I was actively in the moment of deciding who I wanted to be. At thirty-something-years-old, I was having that moment – staring at my reflection and being forced to decide. I thought it had already happened in my twenties. I thought I had already made the decision and that it should’ve been final. But it wasn’t.

I had left my teaching career (temporarily so I thought) and I was needing to decide next steps. Do I want to explore something new? Do I want to be a stay-at-home mom or explore something even riskier than that such as becoming a writer? I desperately feared becoming a stay-at-home mom and getting so wrapped up in everyone else’s needs that I would lose myself and forget who I was as an individual. But I also feared pursuing my writing. I didn’t want to openly subject myself to the criticism of others.

In that moment, I decided. I would do both. I would be the stay-at-home mom, and I would write. I would be the writer that I’ve often dreaded out of fear and doubt. To me, it was all a risk, but I would rather look back on my life and not regret having tried.

Writing is a talent, like any other. Story telling is a gift. Whether or not I’m good at it can only be determined by my readers. If I only have one reader or 10 million, I have to give thanks for the opportunity to exercise and grow that talent. I have to give thanks for the opportunity to pursue a passion.

The pursuit of dreams can seem intangible. But actually doing it – actually pursuing that dream – pursuing a passion – is very real. We make it real. And it is most definitely tangible.

This holiday season, whether you celebrate thanksgiving or not, take time to reflect. Reflect on your life and decide who you want to be. Are you doing and living the life that brings you happiness? If not, what do you have to do or change to make it happen? What risk do you have to take? Be grateful for the moment of reflection and the opportunity to make a conscience decision about your life. Work toward the you you want to be. Choose to pursue a healthy passion. You don’t necessarily have to give up everything within your comfort zone, but you will have to step out of that comfort zone just a bit, to make your dream a reality. You may fall in the process, but the best thing about falling is getting up. Give yourself the opportunity to look back on your life with the satisfaction of knowing you tried.

Be thankful for who and what you are. But if you’re not happy, be grateful for the moment to decide to take back your life and reclaim your happiness and your passion.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.