I’ve known for a while now that if I would have channeled my energy as a young adult into something I truly loved, I would have avoided going “wild.”
As a child and a teenager, I played soccer, but didn’t really love it. I enjoyed being physical, but I didn’t have a competitive spirit. Gymnastics and cheerleading were fun for the socializing. Writing interested me but I didn’t go anywhere with it.
Nothing grabbed me the way that modern dance eventually did. I’d taken a little bit of ballet and jazz growing up, and danced in those styles in the high school musicals. But until I found modern technique, I never felt the sense of freedom that comes with following one’s passion.
Dance helped to turn my life around. It led me away from alcohol, promiscuity and self-loathing. It brought me self-confidence, self-awareness; it gave me an outlet for my emotions. Many years later, when I had to quit a professional dance career because of injury, I found other activities to harness my energy. Writing was one of them.
While many young women and girls are facing the same struggles I once did, just as many are using their passion to create meaningful lives. Recently, Seventeen Magazine decided to highlight a few “pretty amazing girls,” in an upcoming contest to find their next cover model. The contestants have been narrowed down to five finalists.
Check out these sophisticated young women, and go to the website to vote for your favorite (http://www.seventeen.com/fun/articles/pretty-amazing-cover-model):
Lindsay, from Florida, started an organization called Taylor’s Closet, which provides teenage foster girls with a free designer shopping spree, as well as workshops in art, sewing and cooking.
Brittany, from British Columbia, wants to see an end to bulling. She founded Spirit Day, an annual observance of support for the LGTQ community.
Chloe, from Minnesota, moved herself to Miami as a teenager, and became the youngest member of the Miami City Ballet.
Los Angeles native, Kimberly, became the youngest African-American female to pilot a flight across the country.
And soccer star, Lindsay, from California, founded the SEGway Project, to empower girls through athletics and academics.
It’s never too late to fulfill a dream in life. I thought it was too late for me to become a professional dancer when I had only discovered the goal at age 19. I hadn’t taken classes since I was three-years-old. I didn’t have much experience at all. With hard work and dedication, I made it happen.
Empower yourself by doing something you love. It doesn’t have to be your full time job. Take that art class you’ve always considered. Start tennis lessons. Volunteer. Go kayaking. Something. Achieving your goals brings real happiness and self-worth, and will inspire all those around you.