Why It's Never Too Late To Switch Your Dreams And Change Your Plans

by Abbey Gingras

From the time I was a kid, I could never put my finger on what I wanted. I flitted from soccer to gymnastics to horseback riding.

I debated countless careers before entering college, unsure of where to best utilize my passions and skills.

These changes were never complex. When I wanted to try a new sport, it wasn't hard to find a local team to join.

But the older we get, subtle choices like this become more permanent, more complicated and more challenging to follow through with.

For example, a major change in college sets you back on courses, but a career change after college could cause the need for starting over from the ground up.

If you're like me, you regularly weigh these decisions in your mind. We can choose to continue down the path we've carefully laid out, or we can turn for the road unknown.

Unlike small choices we make throughout our lives, these decisions have the power to alter everything — for better or worse.

For some, the master plan that's been in the works for years is the right course.

The safe route has a sense of comfort and familiarity: It's the career you've wanted since your youth, a home near established friends and family and the feeling that this is how life should be.

I have no resentment toward the master planners; I often thrive on envisioning the future.

But if the future you wanted five years ago isn't what you want now, you shouldn't feel obligated to follow through on old ideals and goals.

Your 20s are full of experiences and new realities. Sometimes, people are lucky and find that what made them happy at 18 continues to make them happy at 28 and beyond.

The planned route in life continues to work for them, and they thrive.

Then there are those who become restless. The cubicle at their office confines them, their relationship no longer excites them and the future they once longed for now seems dull and monotonous.

These people have to choose what's more important: what they used to want, or what they want now.

There's no shame in choosing what you wanted. A comfortable relationship, a familiar office and a planned future offer a lot to be desired.

But picking what you wanted rather than what you want will always leave part of you behind.

It's the part that stares longingly at faraway destinations on Pinterest and reads sweeping adventure novels; it's the part that longs for something — anything.

If you choose what you want, it won't be easy. You'll likely start over in a new career or in a new city, and your friends and family won't understand why you would throw away years of progress down a set path.

You'll be alone on your new plan, relying on the feeling that what you're doing is right somehow.

Going after what you want is scary. You have to drown out what everyone around you thinks about your choices and make decisions based on what you need without considering others.

But, if you take the leap of faith and do what so many others are too cautious to do, the happiness you find can be well worth the burned bridges.

I can't say whether what you want or what you wanted is more important because it's different for everyone.

But, if you're sitting in class and you realize you hate what you're studying, or you're living in the city when you long for the beach, you always have the ability to make a change.

You're never too far down a road to stop and turn around. You just need to have the courage to admit that you've been heading in the wrong direction, even if it's the right direction for everyone else.