July 23rd, 2013

Up until 26, my life was pretty much mapped out. I never faced any of the worries my friends did about “what to do” career wise when we finished high school, as I had been building mine since I was a toddler. I was a singer and songwriter. I lived and breathed it for as long as I could remember, leaving no room for questioning or doubt; I was going to make it and that was that.

I would visit my friends at their University dorms and they would tell me how they envied me for knowing what I wanted in life with no second-guessing. I was set on my path while most of them were still making it up as they went along, wondering where their degree would take them.

Then, after a cruel and painful break up with the first big love of my life, filled with depression and too wounded to sing, I left the music business. I was like a living zombie having lost my love, and my passion for the one thing that defined me. In a total role reversal, I was suddenly cut free while my friends were building their chosen careers.

Now at 35, having started over twice in life: once after leaving music and again after finding my rightful place in life as a writer, I finally feel I have arrived, and I wouldn’t change a thing. After writing full-time for the last three years I now have an amazing agent in New York, a new book on the go, and I am determined to get a column if it kills me.

I have rebuilt my life twice, from scratch, and both times stayed true to what I wanted, not what society thinks I should want at a certain age. This isn’t easy for everybody to digest. Family and friends over the years have all suggested in a roundabout way that I should settle down- you know, find man and a mortgage- and I don’t blame them. This is what they have been conditioned to link with my age and place in life.

But I say screw it! It is never too late to wipe the slate clean if you want to, and start again. I’m not suggesting that you should switch careers every five minutes, but if you have a burning desire to try something new, or to change your path, then do it! Whatever age, situation and circumstance you find yourself at: you’re only letting yourself down if you ignore your true desires.

Learning not to care how others view or judge you can be tough, but in reality things are rarely what they seem. If you scratch the surface on judgmental people, an insecurity or past regret will most likely be there. You have the opportunity to let it go and carry on, something they probably didn’t do.

Another important lesson is to never think about competition. There is enough room for everyone! Once you start to think along those lines, you get consumed with what other people are doing in an unhealthy way. This is a waste of your precious time.

You should also try to love the challenges that life throws at you. My mantra is, “Your desperate downs become your fabulous future ups!” Although it may not seem like it at the time, the tough times make you. In my case, they lead me to my true path and happiness. It is never too late for change. Just because we have been programmed to link life goals to age, doesn’t mean you need to accept where you are at certain point if it’s not truly what you want.

Success should be measured by you, and you alone. We all have different dreams and goals, so why should you listen to what others think you need to feel successful? I don’t yet own a home, have thousands in the bank, a partner or my dream pooch, but I have never felt more fulfilled or happier knowing I am doing what I love.

I recently met with a talented designer friend who has exceled up the ranks of a famed Paris fashion house, who excitedly told me his next pay rise after barely 12 months with the company. The number will be more than I have ever earnt; he is 27 and I am 35. Yet, I didn’t feel envy. I felt nothing but joy for him, because regardless of the pressures society puts on us, we all have our own path.

Don’t be afraid to follow yours.

Click here to read 25 awesome comments and leave another!

Every week in your inbox!

  • Exclusive notes and videos from Amanda de Cadenet.
  • Early access to our Limited Space Workshops.
  • Amanda’s Favorites and Special Offers shared with you weekly.
  • Exclusive notes and videos from Amanda de Cadenet.
  • Early access to our Limited Space Workshops.
  • Amanda’s Favorites and Special Offers shared with you weekly.
Subscribe Now

to receive our newsletter every Tuesday.

Sign up here for my Weekly Newsletter and Exclusive Updates: