About 4-5 years ago, my life came to a screeching halt as my world shattered around me. Since I was a little girl, I had been taught to walk on only one path… and that was the only path I knew. As I got older, at one point despite realizing that something was wrong with the path I was taking, I kept trying to walk it. Every time I turned to elders or other loved ones, they gave me the best and only advice they knew – keep walking.
Keep walking. On a path that I knew was a dead end. A dead end. But it was the only path I knew. The only path I could see. The normal way to do things.
And as my world fell apart with each realization that this path was the wrong one, I was so scared to accept it because I didn’t think I had any other way to go. I didn’t want to disrespect or bring shame by deviating so I kept walking… until I hit that dead end.
I had two options. Stop here and wallow, or disobey everything I’d ever known and walk off the path. I eventually chose to disobey. And trust me that was the best decision I’ve ever made. I chose to pave my own path. I decided that walking away from a shattered life with courage was better than just stopping where the shards lay. I didn’t know what to expect but it didn’t matter. There came a point where the situation became SO apparent that it didn’t matter anymore if my friends supported me, if my family supported me, if my parents agreed.
Yes, of course there has to be a degree of respect for elders and loved ones. But as an adult, we also need to know where the boundary is between respecting them and ruining your own life following instructions from people who haven’t been there or done that! Instead, tell them where you’re going, why, and ask them to support you.
There comes a point where, with all due respect, you have to look out for yourself and do what’s good for you. See the thing is, after a certain age no one is going to know what is right or wrong for you, except for you. As an adult (and I’m not talking legally, I’m talking about when your brain is considered fully developed – so think “25”), you have to make that call. You have to have the strength to support yourself. You must learn acceptance, you must learn how to digest, and then you MUST pursue your own happiness.
People know your name, not your story. They’ve heard what you’ve done, but don’t understand what you’ve been through. So take their opinions of you with a grain of salt. In the end it’s not what others think, but what you think of yourself that counts. Sometimes you have to do what’s right for you, and sometimes that may not be what everyone else thinks is right.
I chose to deviate with the full understanding and acceptance that I may not have a normal life after that point. But regardless, I told myself that I would damn well still achieve ALL the things I had originally set out to.
On my OWN terms.
And guess what? I damn well did.
You damn well should too.
2 thoughts on “On my own terms”
It almost feels like I was supposed to read this today. And I needed it. I’m at a such an odd point in my life where I feel like some things are just not worth it anymore. You brought up the point about how our parents and elders only know one way- that is to keep moving. But what they don’t realize is that it is literally depressing to keep doing that and when your mental health starts to deteriorate from that it should be a good stopping point. What is life if we don’t keep looking for different ways to stay motivated?!
Absolutely! If there is one thing I’ve learned from my lows it’s that the only thing that matters is pursuing your happiness. No matter how unconventional the route. Now go get it!