Remember when you were a little kid and you had big dreams of one day doing something great? Remember what it felt like to fantasize about a life beyond your parent's backyard? The world may have seemed big and unknown, but it looked like a grand adventure that you wanted to be a part of. If only you were a little bit older. Then, you'd be able to make your own decisions and go out on your own, free from the tyrannical rule of your parents.
Flash-forward to today, and the real world might look a little different than what you thought. At times, many of us feel like we're just trying to get by, just going through the motions. We go to work on Monday morning to go out on the weekends to then lie in bed all day Sunday dreading the coming week ahead.
What kind of adventure is that? I don't see the glamor anymore. I don't see the freedom in that lifestyle. I see a little kid just dying to break free.
But, that little kid is still in you, and it's time to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Am I just playing a part in society's script? Am I just doing what everyone else expects of me? Or have I decided to live life on my own terms?"
Ask yourself the following three questions, and you can finally say screw it to society and live a life true to your innermost being:
1. Are you pushing down all of your emotions?
Your emotions are like a guide. They should tell you which way to go next. Yet, some of us (myself included), try to push down every single negative emotion, reasoning that life's hard, so you've got to be tough. While this is true, it's even more relevant to be able to listen to what your gut tells you. Your gut never fails.
Sometimes the hardest part is pinpointing what your gut is trying to tell you. When you're just starting out in your career or going through a major life change, everything can feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Each path feels like the wrong fit. But, get yourself out of freak-out mode before you go all exorcist on your roommates or even worse, you start texting your ex looking for comfort. This is game time. You've got to face your fears once and for all.
Whatever your current circumstances may be, don't decide to run away from them because you're feeling uncomfortable or obsessing over what others might be saying behind your back (seriously, you're not THAT interesting anyway). But, don't just push down your emotions either. Instead, get real with what's actually bothering you.
Dig deeper and ask yourself, "What's really bothering me here?" If it's something wrong with your environment, then by all means get out, but if there's some greater lesson you could gain from this obstacle, perhaps you just need to shift your focus and try first to make a change elsewhere.
2. Do you try to please everyone, but yourself?
Our society has become politically correct. While it's great to be civil towards different ways of living, it's more than OK to not like something or to even hate something for that matter. For instance, my father is a down-home country type of man. I moved to Chicago from our farm and love aspects of both lifestyles (mainly because I'm an adventurous Gemini, but more on that later).
But, if my dad tried to move to this great city, it just wouldn't be right. And that's OK. You've got to be true to what's inside of you, not what your parents think or your friends say or what society wants you to do.
While it wasn't exactly easy for me to start out in a new city, I knew that this was part of my dream. That truth pushed me to keep going. I'm still a down-to-earth country girl at heart, and I also love adventuring through the city, so I haven't lost who I am in the process. Unlike most people, I don't have to fit in with one group to be happy. I don't try to please anyone. I just stay true to myself.
3. Are you living in accordance to what matters to you?
Let's face it: Life is not always going to be easy. Whatever idiot told you to do what you love and you won't have to work a day in your life never existed in the real world. The fact of the matter is that sometimes, you're going to have to do things you don't want to do in order to survive.
Yes, it's beyond important to choose a profession that you enjoy, but it's not always going to be peaches and cream. And that's exactly why you've got to decide what matters — no matter what — and never give up on that set of values or dream or whatever it may be.
Maybe it's your dream is to become your city's best yoga instructor or maybe you want to become a boss in business. Whatever matters to you (perhaps being a good person should rank pretty high up there), you've got to do all you can to stay true to that vision.
No one else can tell you what's going to matter most to you. Only you can decide that. Take pride out of the question. Stop caring what that stuck-up frenemy of yours thinks. This isn't their life to lead. Those people don't even matter. This life is yours and while everyone else is sticking to the script, you'll be writing your own book.