Life is funny isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, just when you finally begin to plan something, get excited about something, and feel like you know what direction you’re heading in, the paths change, the signs change, the wind blows the other way, north is suddenly south, and east is west, and you’re lost. It is so easy to lose your way, to lose direction. And that’s with following all the signposts.
This is my favorite line from my favorite book, Where Rainbows End by Cecilia Ahern which had a movie adaptation entitled ‘Love Rosie.’ Am I the only one who can relate to this?
I remember being so bright and vibrant when I was younger. I was ambitious. I had my life laid out in my head like a building’s blueprint. In my mind, I listed the places I’d like to go to, my plans after graduation, the things I would buy by my first paycheck and many other goals I wanted to achieve. I was excited and full of life looking forward to a promising future. But life, as they say, never goes as planned. I lost some years in my life due to circumstances I could have avoided but didn’t.
In the quest of me trying to pick up my life and ‘make the most of it’ to compensate what I thought I lost, I tried to be the ‘best everything‘ I can be. Be the best mom, the best student, the best daughter, the best employee. I longed for a master’s degree, a career in the academe, to pursue a path in film, to travel around, to home-school my children, start a business. And then, I got exhausted. Yes. I felt drained and weak. Worse, at one point, I felt useless.
“It’s funny because when you’re a child, you believe you can be anything you want to be, go whenever you want to go. There’s no limit to what you can dream. You expect the unexpected, you believe in magic, in fairy tales, and in possibilities. Then you grow older and that innocence is shattered and somewhere along the way the reality of life gets in the way and you’re hit by the realization that you can’t be all you wanted to be, you just might have to settle for a bit less. Or perhaps a variation of what you once wanted.”
I thought to my self, “So this is it? This is what life is about. An 8 hour, 5 days a week day in – day out job, non-stop housework and living with the frustration of not being able to achieve the goals I have set.” How about the master’s degree and being able to make a difference or influence the youth? How about how I have imagined seeing my name as the scriptwriter of a great independent film? How about being financially free and travelling the world with my children?
The process of accepting the reality of life was never easy. The ambitious voice inside of me won’t budge. I asked my self a million times if I am (or will ever be) ready to let go of the things that might not be for me. But I just prayed “God, your will not mine.”
I slowly surrendered the battles I can’t win. I segregated my long list of goals by importance and picked only those that really matter. I finally recognized that nobody is pushing me to go after the things that I thought would complete my life. It was just me who was making my own dilemma. While other people admire the boldness I’ve been showing in fulfilling my aspirations, I felt worked up on the inside. I was so suffocated that I had to put a stop on it.
The master’s degree that I wanted so badly doesn’t define the wisdom I gained from the trials I’ve gone through. The destinations I have yet to reach can never be compared to the roads I took to be the person I am today. I realized, its okay. It’s okay to slow down and loosen up. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to walk away from the things that aren’t for you. It’s okay leave the baggage you can no longer carry. And that no one has the right to judge you for doing that.
Appreciate what you have today instead of thinking about the might-have-beens. Go through the pain of defeat and feel it if you have to but don’t be eaten up by it. It’s okay to be scared but remember that you are stronger than your fear. Forgive your self from bailing out from the battles you can’t win. You don’t have to be in war to be hero. Look around and you’ll see that you do not have to burn your self out to be the best because for the people who love you, you are already the best.
“Life is hard. So what?”
– Rosie, Where Rainbows End