*Life is strange and wonderful. And wonderfully strange. And sometimes just strange.
As you now know, the former Bruce Jenner is now officially Caitlyn. He is now she. And whether or not you agree with it–even if all the well-planned PR reeks of self-service and shameless marketing (Jenner is set to star in a new reality series in July)–in discussing her startling journey and transformation, more than once—first as Bruce, during that TV interview with Diane Sawyer back in April, and now in Vanity Fair magazine as Caitlyn—Jenner has said something that I simply have not been able to ignore.
To paraphrase, the now 65 years-old Jenner said she would have been disappointed with herself beyond grief if, by the end of her life, she had not done this. After Vanity Fair released the online image of the Caitlyn cover, Jenner tweeted: “I’m so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can’t wait for you to get to know her/me.”
Imagine all of your life—or just a portion of it–knowing that in your heart of hearts you weren’t actively pursuing a situation or thing that made you whole. Consider the sense of anxiety. The immense loss.
Perhaps you already know the feeling.
Jenner’s decision and process, though dramatic and surreal, begs the question: What is it that YOU would like to change about YOUR life? What are you living with on a daily basis that haunts you simply because you know you’re not doing what you can to change it?
You might want a new career–might want to make the transition from merely making a living to living your passion. That doesn’t happen overnight; you have to start somewhere. But you’re not moving toward it.
Say you never made time to go back and get that GED. It messes with your head everyday that you don’t.
You want to get your health together. You NEED to get your health together. It could be your weight. Or simply a matter of getting in shape. But laziness and fear of failure paralyzes you.
That relationship you’re in—the marriage, the shack up or simply long-term dating with that person—it no longer feels right. Truth is, it’s not working and you know it. Hasn’t worked in months. Years. Everyday that you don’t think you deserve to live your authentic existence—what you want to do, who you want to be—is smothering your soul. And every year that you stay in it–every day—is a day you can’t get back.
And that’s the other thing: time. As they say, it flies when you’re having fun. What “they” fail to mention is, when you’re NOT having fun, it moves at warp speed. If you are not making an effort to follow your heart, not only are you NOT having a good time, you’re running OUT of time.
We can all say what we will about Caitlyn Jenner. We can praise or we can condemn. We can be happy or be appalled. However, what we CAN’T say is that she didn’t have the guts to follow her heart.
What about you?
Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]