Archives for posts with tag: choices

Well, we made it through 12/12/12 and as I can see, the world didn’t end. Sorry to everyone who had their canned goods and extra water stored in their basement, ready for Armageddon and the end of the world. When we sit and think about the future, what we are afraid of, and then look at our past, we can’t help but blame ourselves for poor choices we made.

It is difficult for me to look back on the past two years of my life. They definitely weren’t a cake walk. Yes, there were some wonderful memories made, for instance seeing James Taylor with the people I love most in this world this 4th of July, but for the most part the past two years were extremely challenging and taxing on me. They made me question who I am, who I was and made me question my judgment. For an entire year beginning in February 2011 and ending in March 2012 I completely lost myself. I had no idea who I was, I lost sight of my goals and I spent the entire time focusing on someone else, trying to save them. Around December 2011 I realized that I cannot save someone else, nor can anyone save me, we all have to make the decision to take responsibility and save ourselves. I learned extremely valuable lessons during that time, however there are so many things that I wish had turned out differently, so many mistakes made that clouded my judgment, threw me off my path and I ended up burying myself amongst the ruins of another person.

As I look back I think, who was I? Why did I make such terrible decisions? Why did I hold on to something so toxic for so long? Then I think about control, how much control do we really have over our own lives? For me, that time was full of pressure. Pressure to support and monitor someone else when I was only 22 years old. I felt pressure from my family to make a certain decision I wasn’t necessarily comfortable making because I was terrified of what might follow once I made that decision. Even now, people tell me that I have control over what I am doing and the choices that I’m making and yes, to a certain extent I know that at the end of the day I have ultimate control over the choices that I make, but at the same time aren’t we all factoring in external pressures when it comes to making decisions? When I try to take control of a situation I feel that if I disagree with what the majority feels then I am making the wrong choice, but my intuition is telling me to trust my instincts and follow my gut, or my heart. I realized recently that I am a people pleaser. I tend to go with the flow even if I don’t want to necessarily do something, because I would rather put up with my own unhappiness than disappoint someone I love.

When it comes down to it, how much control does one really have over their own life? We want to achieve certain goals, but we are forced to follow certain rules that society has laid out for us, whether we like it or not. When we attempt to make a decision, how much of that decision is truly our own? We always factor in someone else, or family members’ opinions or we worry about how people will perceive us if we go left instead of right. In the end, do we really control our own fate or do our surroundings and the people in our lives tend to guide us to make certain choices?

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Since moving across the country I came to realize very quickly that I didn’t know much about anything. Yes I went to college and received a Bachelor’s degree in writing, literature and publishing so that should count for something right? Not necessarily. While searching for jobs I soon found out what I didn’t want to do but I still can’t quite figure out what it is I want to do with my life. We graduate high school at 18, go to college and in our freshman or sophomore year we are forced to choose a certain path for our lives, but at 19 years old how do you know what you want to do with your life? What have you experienced thus far that has made you understand the complexities, the disappointments, the ecstasy, the fascination and the sometimes disillusionment that you will inevitably face as you mature.

I did various internships for two years straight in my last years of college, all in some form within the communications field, thinking that is a “successful and safe” career path to follow. When it comes right down to it I just don’t want to do that. For some people it is creative and it is their passion and that is wonderful, but it’s not for me. So where does that leave me? I went to Berklee College of Music for two years before eventually transferring to Emerson College exploring different passions in my life, music, writing and literature. It’s quite funny looking at that now and saying, wow those are risky endeavors. You pursue your true passions and they aren’t necessarily stable or “safe” and they may not buy you a mansion or even offer health insurance but at what point do we decide in our lives to play it safe or take some risks?

At 23 years old I don’t have a high-paying job with benefits but is that what I even want? And who or what is forcing us to play it safe? Isn’t life about taking chances or making wrong decisions and learning from those experiences? It doesn’t matter if you take a risk and fail, at least you know you failed, so you can never look back and ask yourself “what if?”. Maybe you aren’t where you thought you’d be at your specific age but who is telling you that you should be there? Who is telling us that around age 30 we should be married with a child or expecting and why are “they” the ones to decide this? I am attempting to reclaim my individuality within society to be able to choose my own unique path, not one that society has bullied me into thinking I need or else I will be desolate and unfulfilled.

Everyone needs to find their meaning in life, what makes them wake up every day and get out of bed because without that what do we have? Some people’s lives may be filled with detours and obstacles that the average person may not face and you are allowed to ask “why me?” but isn’t it the challenge that makes life most exciting? Without challenge we would never feel accomplishment. Without loss we would never appreciate love. Sometimes you have to take a step back and become an observer of your life and ask yourself what it is you really want and then figure out how you are going to make it work, because you can. It probably won’t be easy, but if that’s what you want you should be willing to work hard enough to hold on to it.

Success is defined in many different ways. Some people find power and money to define their success, others creating a family, but however you define success is all that matters, not any one else’s definition.

Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

You never will lose your freedom to choose.