Live the Life You Want, Not the One You're Told to Live
Growing up, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to be "successful" and make my family proud. My dad is a Child Psychiatrist, my mom is a Dialectical Behaviour Therapist and my older brother grew up to be a doctor. I respected them for what they've accomplished. They found their roles in the world, they followed their passions and were extremely successful in their careers. Especially my brother (who is ten years older than me). I wanted to be a success and make my parents as proud as we all were of my brother.
I had this idea in my head of what I thought success was. I had these expectations of who I thought I had to be. I felt that in order to be considered a success I had to get an education, get a good job with benefits and stay there my whole life slowly trying to work my way up the ladder so I could make as much money as possible.
I wrongly believed that the things I was passionate about could never make me any money so I stopped pursuing them and disconnected from my true self for a while.
I finished school and got an okay job. This was what I was "supposed" to do right? So why was I so goddamn miserable? While I was going to the same boring, mindless job everyday I was reading "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac and all I wanted to do was just take off. I needed adventure. I needed to be doing different things everyday. I needed to live.
One day I was chatting with the accountant at the company I was working for and I asked her how she liked her job, she responded with "I guess it's okay, but I can't help think there could have been more to life." Wow. This scared the shit out of me. I did not want to be saying that twenty years from now. I didn't want to feel as though I had missed out on what I was really meant to do. This was a terrifying wake up call for me.
There had to be more to life. This was not what I dreamed of as a little girl. I wanted to make a difference in the world. I wanted to be able to be creative in what I do. I wanted to help people. I wanted to write. This was not what I wanted. This was not for me. This was not life. I wasn't living. I was lost.
We grow up in a society that prioritizes money over people. We are taught we need to be wealthy in order to be happy, or to even be respected. But what about fulfillment? What about passion? What about purpose?
I realized I didn't want to spend my whole life trying to help someone else get rich. I didn't want to invest my entire working life and my energy into someone else's business, into someone else's dreams while completely ignoring my own.
It took me a while to find my way. I needed to find a way to be me in what I do. I'm excited about life now. I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I'm curious and fascinated by the things I'm learning. I have a vision of what I want to accomplish but am also open to what the universe sends me. I've made peace with where I've been, I'm happy where I am, and I'm so insanely excited about the future. I have a lot of work ahead of me and it's not always going to be perfect bliss and I'm not oblivious to that. I know my journey will have challenges, set backs, frustrations and failures but I welcome those things as lessons, as rites of passage. When I get to where I want to be in my career I want to feel proud. I want to feel like I earned it. Most importantly, I want to feel fulfilled.
I've learned that my family and the people that care about me support and just want me to be happy. My parents are proud of me for who I am as person. I'm sure there are people that judge me or my choices but I'm secure enough in myself and my journey to just ignore the judgement. I've come to learn that if someone is judging me it's because something I am doing is triggering an unhealed part of themselves. That's their own journey and won't affect my own self worth or change my path in any way.
No matter what people tell you, you can make money doing the things you love if you're willing to be creative, consistent, resilient and, above all, passionate. I still want to make some money in life. Some of the things I want in life do, unfortunately, cost money. But money won't be my primary driving force. My driving force will be my passion and my fulfillment.
You can't choose your life based on what will make someone else happy. You can't choose a career based on what will make your family proud or what society has taught you to prioritize. You can't live to just make money and pay bills. Live free. Live free of the expectations of what life "should" be. Live free of the pressures to be "successful". Live free of the pressure to strive to just make money. Live free from the desire to make others proud or to prove yourself to anyone. Live free of caring what anyone thinks about you or the ways you choose to live your life. Follow what you are wildly and obsessively passionate about and if you haven't found it yet then get out there and have a fun time searching for it.
At the end of your time on Earth, you and you alone need to be happy with what you've done with your life. You alone need to feel fulfilled. You alone need to be proud of what you've done with your time. The approval of others, perceived success, and money will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. It's the time you spent pursuing the things you are passionate about, the memories of living your life to the fullest, and most importantly, the time you spent with the people you love, that will leave you feeling fulfilled. That's what makes a good life.