We tumble into this colorful world, helpless and dependent, yet undeniably perfect. Life kicks off as we start to weave our patchwork blanket of experience and learning, swaddling us as children and becoming our cape of competence as adults.
Traditions and norms help to create the structure and supporting threads of our journeys. Through work with children in their first days of school, I have seen how quickly they learn from example and by closely watching each other’s actions.
They embrace routine, follow patterns and mirror behaviors. While this is a necessity in our formative years, it’s something we need to let go of as fully-formed adults. Unfortunately for some, this is like taking off your water wings in a pool and realizing you’ve no idea how to swim.
Finishing school at age 17 and being expected to decide on a college course to be the foundation for my career and future life flung me into a state of panic.
I would have done anything to put the floaties back on. How am I supposed to decide these things? Can’t someone else please choose for me? It was utterly overwhelming, yet many of my peers were able to take in stride as the next step, the normal progression.
I’m now 20 years old, a two-time college dropout, and I have a much more solid idea of the direction I’d like my life to take.
My direction previously came from my desire to fit in and be just like everyone else, which was purely because I had no clue who I was or what I genuinely wanted. I felt pressure to follow the norm and utilize the results of my academic years, so surely, college had to be for me?
It took me awhile to realize that the answer was no, but of course, it was a big, fat “absolutely no way.” Now, I can happily admit that accepting that college wasn’t for me was a necessary, empowering and productive realization.
I am finally focusing on what’s really important to my growth, even though there’s no bachelor’s degree for it.
Life is unquestionably about learning. But, most of the truly important lessons come from outside of the classroom — one of which is discovering everything about yourself.
This part of the curriculum needs to be absolutely mandatory. At age 17, I didn’t have a solid grasp of my identity that I knew, loved and trusted. My opinions lacked value, and coupled with a weighty dose of confusion and insecurity, I can assure you, I was no expert at making life decisions.
I now recognize that we are all born with a unique set of skills, without exception. We have a powerful melange of qualities, talents and quirks.
That alone should negate any reasons we may have for following the herd. However, it seems that there’s not enough emphasis put on these gifts.
Many of us travel through our journeys, unaware of these aspects of ourselves and too many of us realize what we actually have to offer.
We need to reach a point where we truly and thoroughly know ourselves and only then can we know what direction in which to point our lives.
It’s time to step into our own classrooms and to question our decisions and motives. Are we afraid to stand by our own uniqueness?
Do we lack courage to break away from the crowd? What benefits do we glean from following the norm and does it serve us? Passion, interest and purpose should be our driving fuel for life.
Over time, I have learned that it’s necessary to take the chance to discover how to create a different pattern. It might not look right or fit at first, but it’ll be completely yours.
To create it, you need to find out what you like, what makes you tick and what are your dreams include. You can begin your journey of self-discovery at any time — it’s so refreshing and fulfilling. This learning doesn’t end; there’s no graduation day, but there is the continuous gift of knowledge of the self.
It’s impossible to learn life from a litany of books — we learn from mistakes, experiences and hardships. These lessons shape us into strong, self-assured people, who can accomplish anything.
So, fabricate your own patchwork blanket — it will be your engulfing security. And gradually, as you trust it more, it will become your emblem of superpower in your life.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr