When I was about 5 years old, I began dreaming of all the possibilities of what I could do with my life, starting with being a ballerina. I spent my days twirling around the kitchen in my tutu stumbling under my mom's patient feet. Dancing was my favorite past time, and if I wasn't wearing my ballet slippers, something was seriously wrong. But, of course, like most dreams at that age, that vision died fast.
As I grew up, I noticed that although I enjoyed dancing, it wasn't something I wanted to do with my life. There was a brief period of wanting to be a lawyer when I realized I had a knack for arguing in my 6th grade English class (it also helped that my teacher praised my newfound skills), but the second I heard about the number of years I would need to be in school, I threw away that idea as fast as I grabbed it.
In seventh grade, I took a trip with my grandma from my medium-sized, terribly average town in Central New Jersey to the big city: New York City. We took the NJ Transit into the world-renowned Penn Station and walked the bustling streets under the towering skyscrapers. I was not only captivated by the absurd amount of pigeons, but by the women who seemed to walk with purpose, even in high heels.
At that moment, standing 4-feet high and in a light blue puffy parka, I knew I wanted to be as powerful as them.
They had a confidence that radiated from their appearance in sleek trench coats, perfectly styled hair, and lipstick to match their purse. That image of these women being so impressive, so compelling, sticks with me even today.
My 11-year-old-self was captivated, almost as enthralled as I still am today.
One thing that rang true over the course of my occupational dreams was the want to be a successful working woman.
This desire to be prosperous has driven me for the past ten years in everything I do. Not to mention, the Girl Boss movement has instilled within me a confidence that reads "I can do anything" and pushes me to be the best person I can be.
I am proud to be the woman I am today. I'm dedicated, driven, and passionate. I care for the people around me, and I always work hard at a brighter future not only for myself, but for the girls that follow me.
Every so often, I ask myself one question to remind me what I need to do in my life: "Would my younger self with big dreams be happy of where and who I am today?"
If the answer is no, I start to make changes - some big, some small. I believe in the power of dreaming and recognizing where my aspirations came from. My aspirations have brought me to where I am today, and if I had never fostered those thoughts, I don't think I would feel as successful as I do.
My advice to you: Don't get too lost in life. Focus on where you wanted to be when you were younger and aim a little higher. Be the person you feel you were meant to be, not what others think you should be.
If you want to be a pastry chef, be a pastry chef. If you want to be a singer, be a singer. And I want to be a journalist, so I'm going to be a journalist!
Never say no, and believe in yourself. If you put in the effort and drive, you can sure as hell achieve your dreams. It's up to you, so grab that little girl's hand and work together to be the best version of yourself that you can be.