25stories: Yvonne

When Yvonne was 25 she was a stay at home mom of two young kids. After growing up a navy brat, serving in the Navy herself, and being married to an active duty Marine, she was preparing to be a civilian for the first time in her life. She and her husband Dave were about to walk away from the financial and professional stability of military life and move to Florida where the future was entirely unclear. Yvonne had plans and dreams for her future, but at that moment there wasn't a clear path to any of them. 

She had long term goals like going back to school to get her degree and one day work for the CIA. There was a different goal immediately in front of her though. For the first time she and her family were in one place indefinitely. She'd spent her life moving from post to post every few years, but now she was settled. Yvonne knew she would have to shift her entire mindset if she was going to really plant her family in their new life. The one big obstacle to this goal: no concrete plan to get there. When Yvonne and Dave left the Marine Corps they had $19,000 and an idea that Florida would be a nice place to raise a family. Yvonne shifted her dreams of higher education into the background and focused on helping build a life for her family. 

At 25 she imagined that she and Dave would work hard, have careers they loved, and find stability. Now, nearly twenty-five years later, Yvonne finds herself in a very different place. Days turned to weeks, months and years. While she worked her to raise her children and help provide for her family, the time she thought she had to pursue her own dreams passed by. She'd told herself there would be a better, safer, more convenient time to start school. Though she had never imagined her children would be grown before she got her degree, that's where she found herself. Yvonne thought she would always have tomorrow, but decades of tomorrows had now come and gone. She regretted waiting for the perfect time to pursue what she loved, and she decided not to wait a day longer.Today she is in school working to become a nurse, and proving that it is never too late to change your story.

This is something Yvonne said during our conversation, and I think it is such a huge truth. It's so easy to put our dreams to the side. We're making money to pay bills, we're raising kids, we're doing all kinds of great things. But are those things mutually exclusive to our dreams? Absolutely not. It often feels safe or responsible to press pause on what we want, but whatever that passion is was created in us for a reason. Fear says it would be stupid to take a tiny step forward. Fear tells us we better have it all figured out before we can start. Fear says we might fail so what's the point. Fear can convince us of a lot of things, but that doesn't make them true. Letting those lies take control is how we let a lifetime pass by without pursuing what we truly want. We can live the story that is right in front of us, or we can be brave enough to work for the story we were created to live. 

In my 25th year I will set down my excuses and run tirelessly after my dreams. 

25 Stories is a series I'm writing as I prepare to turn 25. I'll be talking with twenty-five women and then sharing their stories. I don't have much figured out about life, but I know that I learn some of the best lessons by listening to the stories of those around me. See more here

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