It happens very slowly and subtly, and before you know it, you feel like you’re light years away from the person you thought you were. You may be reasonably happy, you’re just not doing what you thought you’d be doing or in any way tapping into the inspired creativity that you were so sure would be a big part of your life. 

It’s very easy to see how this could happen. Real life means getting a good job that you enjoy that will pay your bills and hopefully offer some growth opportunities. Maybe you spent some glorious years raising kids, not leaving you much space for your favorite passions to be pursued. Regardless of what your responsibilities have been, inevitably things get busy, and that beautiful, iridescent spirit begins to get buried beneath all of the necessary daily doings of life. But you know it’s in there. You can feel it.

We are busy, over-extended people, and with our job, kids and family at our fingertips 24/7, it seems as though things won’t be changing any time soon. If we want to do anything other than work, raise our family, and sleep, we are going to have to chase after the time and opportunity to do it like a hyena. That thing you love to do, your passion, creativity, or gift, won’t jump up and remind you that it’s in there and needs to be unleashed. Nope. It will let itself be buried, little by little, until it’s a dim glow, waiting patiently.

Routines can be a culprit here. While they are a necessary part of life, routines, otherwise known as habits, can be what lead us to a comfortable groove that we are perfectly content settling into. They are necessary and yet they don’t allow for much inspired thought, or unbridled creativity. If we knew how to find space in the midst of our daily lives to add in our creative interests, it might not get so far gone. But if it already has, don’t lose hope. 

Seize the day and add it to your morning

The hard part with adding anything new is finding time and space for it in your life. You have to get creative here, and treat that mission like your life depends on it. You may not be able to find several extra hours, but you can certainly find 30 minutes, and that’s a start. Is it writing, painting, taking a course in nutrition to become a health coach? Whatever the desire is, get started with some research and take small steps to add it into your morning. Once you get a little spark going, it will inspire you and become what you will make more and more time for. Maybe you can even find another pocket of time toward the end of your day as well. You have to force it at first, grudgingly waking up a little earlier, but before you know it, it will be something you’ll be eager to jump out of bed to do.

Talk to someone about it and make it real

For some reason, we like to talk about our “real world” responsibilities all the time; our career, raising our kids, etc. Rarely when we are asked about how we’re doing, do we ever start pouring out our desire to start a side jewelry making Etsy store, pursuing our love for art or music, or how we’d like to write a book. We feel as if the world doesn’t have time for it, that it seems like fluff and maybe even irresponsible or selfish. The reality is, the fire is put in you because it is your gift. Gifts are meant to be shared and it’s actually selfish if you don’t put it out in the world for others to learn from or be inspired by. When we validate our desire to do something with words, it gives us a kind of accountability because it’s no longer a secret. That could help give you that extra motivation to get started.

Set a goal, sign up, put some money down on it

What we put value on we will value. Some people are disciplined enough that if they set a specific goal, say to start writing a book and have it done in a year, they can hold to it. You may not be that person. You may need a little more skin in the game. If you spend some of your money on what it will take to start pursuing your passion project, it’s less likely that you will put it off. We tend to care more about the things we have put our hard earned money into. Afterall, most of us aren’t in a position to just throw cash away. It may be difficult to commit, but it could also prove to be the best money you ever spent. It’s also likely to be cheaper than therapy.

Connect with someone who’s doing it

Maybe it seems insurmountable to go after this dream because it has so many moving parts. The only way you can know for sure, is to find someone who is doing it and start asking some questions. In our world today, there are communities for everything you can imagine. Odds are, someone is out there just beyond the stage where you are right now. Don’t see them as competition either. There’s enough for everyone out there. Your special style makes whatever you choose to do uniquely you, so don’t fear the conversation. You may be making it much harder than it is, and someone may have an awesome short cut or in-road that you may not know about. Just ask questions.

Give yourself a break, it happens to the best of us

Feelings of hopelessness can crop up in us when we see other people at various stages of their lives, seemingly taking the bull by the horns and going after their dream. That’s great for them. It really is. But remember, it’s there for you too. Again, putting a dream on the back burner is what everyone seems to do. It’s not by choice, it just happens. You convince yourself that you have bigger fish to fry and that once things settle down, or are more stable, you’ll get started. Afterall, it makes sense and it is the responsible thing to do. Remember though, it’s never too late to start. It sounds cliche, but it’s actually true. Unless your dream is restricted by your age or limitations somehow, it’s doable. Even if it is restricted, find a way to modify how you can still do it. There’s probably a way. Lighten up on the hopeless self talk. That’s just you trying to stay safe, making excuses so you don’t seem flighty, or even some guilt or shame issues that are bubbling up. By not realizing that, you are only robbing yourself of some real joy, not to mention denying others the opportunity to admire or learn from you.

Life is short. Don’t wait.

You can tell yourself whatever you want about your timeline and how you will find the right time. But each and every day you wait, the light becomes dimmer and the fire turns to a smolder. We don’t believe the stories of people on their deathbed speaking of their regrets and the many things they wish they would have made time for. Somehow, we think that’s just not us. We’ll make the time. Realizing that none of us knows how many precious days we have left, we really ought to hear those types of stories and commit ourselves not to wait on a single thing. You hear your excuses, you know that’s what they are. Call yourself out and give your future self and your family the gift of knowing that you lived your life in a full and rewarding way, with few, or possibly no regrets. 

No matter your age, it’s time. Maybe you’re just out of college, or maybe you’re retiring soon. It does not matter. Something lights you up. It’s that thing you do that when you’re in the midst of it, you’re on cloud 9 and nothing can bring you down. Life just seems better and brighter. 

Once you settle on one thing you are going to unearth to become the version of you that you were sure you would be, just take a step. You may need an extra push if it’s been a while, so find someone to tell, and get this going. Commit. You’ll never regret it.