Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
The Purple Fig


How To Chase Your Dreams in Your 30s

Posted: 01/13/2014 4:21 pm

Three years ago, my days looked very different. I was an elementary school teacher, with 12 years under my belt. I was packing my lunch and eating it at exactly 11:05 everyday. I taught 7 subjects a day, day in and day out. I was a great teacher. It was my life. It was me.

I was in a stable relationship, with a big house, a dog, a mortgage, an VIP cable package with an overcompensating 60" TV. I was hosting dinner parties and life was as it was supposed to be. But behind closed doors, I started to detach. I couldn't explain my distance. I spent a fortune on self-help books and other techniques to "snap me out of it", and every night, I'd lie awake, scouring the ceiling for answers. Why was I unable to feel content when nothing was wrong? I was feeling guilty for not being in love with my life. I felt spoiled and ungrateful.

I think this moment happens for many of us: the realization that we have been stuck on autopilot and ignoring our inner voice, the fire inside of us...our calling.

One day, I was teaching a unit on Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and my classroom was buzzing with talk of possibility. A student asked, "Miss Drummond, what's your dream?" "My dream is to be an actress," I admitted. She looked at me with wide non-judgmental eyes and asked, "Then why aren't you doing it?" I was now being held accountable for those words I spoke aloud.

When I left teaching, I cried for days. It's like the feeling of going on the park's largest roller coaster. You race to the line. You wait. Your heart is in your throat, and as soon as the ride starts up the hill, you're certain that your seatbelt hasn't locked. It's fear, excitement and euphoria, all in unison. My family was worried and had an intervention. What happens if I get cancer and I don't have the benefits to pay for my care? They wanted me to be ok. My relationship had long since ended and I was traveling the road alone. I kept reminding myself that life is not a dress rehearsal. This was my mantra. It's what continued to push me forward when I felt like running home.

I arrived to my basement apartment, got a serving job and scrubbed toilets for minimum wage. I knocked on doors relentlessly and even had an agent tell me I was "too old to be dreaming of being a movie star, sweetheart."

I truly had nothing. No job to answer to from 9-5. There was no relationship to distract me. I was alone and there was nothing to define me, except me, and I wasn't entirely sure who that was. When the phone didn't ring, when the auditions didn't pan out, when I had days and weeks of feeling like I had no purpose, I had nothing else but to become reacquainted with me. It was a strange yet liberating experience to go out to dinner and ask for a table for one.

My revelation was completely unexpected and my lies were quickly deflated. I realized that I have spent a life chasing perfection and trying to fit the mould and this journey has shone a spotlight on the side of me that I had been hiding, the side of me that is real, human, imperfect.

Show business is tough and rejection is a daily experience that tests my love of self. But my view of success has radically changed. These days, my greatest success comes from letting myself just be me, by silencing the voices that tell me I can't and by picking myself up after I fall. Daily, I work to untie the pretty ribbons I use to cover my "ugly" bouts of depression or crippling insecurities and instead of judging them, I try to view them as opportunities to learn about myself and connect with the people around me, who are going through the same thing. This is success. True success.

I'm 38 years old today. I'm living my dream: an honest and artistic life of creativity and love.

This journey has surprised me in so many ways. I truly had no idea that the decision to change my life would actually change my life.

By Kate Drummond

Originally published on The Purple Fig, a community where women share personal and relatable stories; no ego, no shame, no judgement. We're about life, love and all of the stuff that makes us yearn, squirm, and giggle. These stories make up the authentic and intriguing journey of a woman.


Loading Slideshow...
  • 50. CIBC

    39622 employees <a href="http://www.cibc.com" target="_blank">www.cibc.com</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 46. Deloitte

    8719 employees <a href="http://www.deloitte.ca" target="_blank">www.deloitte.ca</a> Industry: Professional Services Ownership: Private

  • 45. Nestle

    2143 employees <a href="http://www.nestle.ca" target="_blank">www.nestle.ca</a> Industry: Manufacturing & Production - Food products Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 44. RBC

    55000 employees <a href="http://www.rbc.com" target="_blank">www.rbc.com</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 33. Scotiabank

    34982 employees <a href="http://www.scotiabank.com" target="_blank">www.scotiabank.com</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 24. TD Bank

    56229 employees <a href="http://www.td.com" target="_blank">www.td.com</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 18. Starbucks Coffee Company

    14765 employees <a href="http://www.starbucks.ca" target="_blank">www.starbucks.ca</a> Industry: Retail - Specialty Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 14. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited

    19860 employees <a href="http://www.mcdonalds.ca" target="_blank">www.mcdonalds.ca</a> Industry: Retail - Food/Grocery Ownership: Private

  • 10. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

    1639 employees <a href="http://www.fourseasons.com" target="_blank">www.fourseasons.com</a> Industry: Hospitality - Hotel/Resort Ownership: Private

  • 9. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada Corporation

    113 employees <a href="http://www.mbfs.ca" target="_blank">www.mbfs.ca</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Banking/Credit Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 8. Admiral Insurance

    467 employees <a href="http://www.joinadmiral.ca" target="_blank">www.joinadmiral.ca</a> Industry: Financial Services & Insurance - Auto Insurance Ownership: Private

  • 7. G Adventures

    146 employees <a href="http://www.gadventures.com" target="_blank">www.gadventures.com</a> Industry: Retail - Specialty Ownership: Private

  • 6. SAS Institute (Canada) Inc.

    298 employees <a href="http://www.sas.com/canada" target="_blank">www.sas.com/canada</a> Industry: Information Technology - Software Ownership: Private

  • 5. NetApp Inc.

    208 employees <a href="http://www.netapp.ca" target="_blank">www.netapp.ca</a> Industry: Information Technology - Storage/Data Management Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 4. AOL Canada

    85 employees <a href="http://www.aol.ca" target="_blank">www.aol.ca</a> Industry: Professional Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 3. Microsoft Canada Inc

    1142 employees <a href="http://www.microsoft.ca" target="_blank">www.microsoft.ca</a> Industry: Information Technology - Software Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • 2. Intuit Canada ULC

    404 employees <a href="http://www.intuit.ca" target="_blank">www.intuit.ca</a> Industry: Information Technology - Software Ownership: Private

  • 1. Google

    375 employees <a href="http://www.google.com" target="_blank">www.google.com</a> Industry: Media - Online Internet Services Ownership: Publicly quoted/held

  • Next: Office Oasis, Spaces To Unwind

  • Braintree

    At Braintree, a company that helps online businesses process credit card payments, employees get to hang around in the 'Tree House Room.'

  • Campbell's Soup Company

    Employees at Campbell's enjoy their catered kitchen facilities.

  • Disqus

    Disqus, a global comment system that improves discussion on websites, has offices based in San Francisco. Their employees kick back in this room for a nap and the occasional massage.

  • Etsy

    Etsy, the online marketplace for all things hand-made or vintage, offers their employees use of this cozy lounge, as eclectic as many of the goods for sale on their website. Look no further than the banjo casually resting on the armchair.

  • Fab

    Fab.com, the e-commerce website that connects shoppers to products and designers, encourages employees to keep up an active lifestyle, even in the office.

  • Google

    Just another day up the rock wall at the Google offices.

  • Google

    Google even has a Dublin-pub-themed room for their employees.

  • Google

    The Mountain View location's bowling alley, complete with big screens and a multicolored light show.

  • Google

    If you just miss the descending elevator and happen to be in Google's Zurich offices, slide on down.

  • Groupon

    When they're taking a break, Groupon employees hang out in this woodsy lounge.

  • The Huffington Post

    The news never sleeps, but sometimes our reporters take cat naps. Check out our nap room here at the HuffPost offices in New York.

  • Microsoft

    This Microsoft employee is working from the garage meditation room; the simple design and ample space make it a great area to de-stress at work.

  • Microsoft

    Microsoft has a handle on the industrial hang-out space -- exposed vents and comfy couches.

  • Polyvore

    Employees take a break for a game of foosball at the offices of social-commerce site Polyvore.

  • Scholastic

    Scholastic Publishing has a lounge on the roof that makes for a nice lunch break on a sunny day.

  • Sqaure

    Square is an electronic payment service that allows users to accept credit cards using their mobile phones. Here, workers at Square put their feet up in the little cabanas at their offices.

  • TheLab

    TheLab, a media arts company, has an office dog named Lucy.

  • Velti

    Velti, mobile marketing and advertising company, has a spacious, modern rec room.


Follow The Purple Fig on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thepurplefigmag