Sunday, 7 October 2018

WHAT THE F*CK ARE YOU DOING?

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'Finding Yourself'. Sigh.

Have you ever felt the pressure to define yourself? To find your 'niche'? To follow a path that you believe is pre-determined. I know I did. I'm not here to complain about my past, nor to talk smugly about my present, but I in light of recent... events, I do feel somewhat justified in talking about life choices and how important it isn't to make the right ones. Yes, I said isn't.

There's such a pressure, even from a young age to know who you are and what you want from life. Teens as young as thirteen are made to choose which GCSE subjects they're going to take, later on we choose what we're doing at college or uni as if that's our set path forever. We choose our career paths, find a Partner and find a place to settle down. All these things, marriage, home ownership and a solid career are very much a common goal for many young adults.

For me though, in a marriage that I know my ex won't mind me saying was very much not right, searching for a house I didn't really want, It felt wrong. I had a job I enjoyed (still true, got the career crisis out of the way two years ago), I had a husband and was about to become a 'first time buyer'. The thing is though, despite looking from the outside like my life was going exactly how it was supposed to, I'd never felt more lost. I put it down to growing up and feeling a sense of loss of youth, which I assumed was normal.

The honest truth is, I was far more concerned with how my life looked to others than how it actually was. Not necessarily for the good of social media or impressing people, but moreso because once I was in certain situations, I was terrified of rocking the boat or disappointing the people who cared about me. I'd love to give an inspirational story about some huge pivotal moment where everything changed, but it wasn't really the case. It was more just a sudden realisation. One day, I just had the conversation with my ex, who to my surprise was very much on the same page that I was. We spread the news and actually, as much as it did suck telling our friends and family that we were ending the marriage, it really wasn't so bad.

Taking that first step in beginning to live my life the way I wanted to resulted in a huge snowball effect in other areas of life too. I'm in a new relationship, which I will stress started very much after my marriage ended, I've made some important decisions regarding people that I do and don't want in my life, ending friendships and resurrecting old ones that I thought I'd never have again, I've decided that actually, I probably don't want to buy a house at all right now. Some of these things are quite scary, knowing how easy it is for others to jump to conclusions, particularly about a new relationship seemingly so soon after the end of another, but I reached a point where I realised that doing right by myself was far more important than doing what I felt I should do for the good of others that don't know my situation,

I'll be real with you, when I started writing this post, I initially wrote it from a much more general perspective, about how tough it is to find yourself and figure out where you're going in life. I realised though that in talking about a topic like that in such a general way, I was almost making the opposite of the point I wanted to make. Knowing yourself is a hugely personal thing and not something that can be generalised. Figuring out who you are and where your passions lie is a beautiful, wonderful thing. However there are plenty of ideas out there about how you should 'find yourself', but you'll never learn properly about who you are if you're trying to learn in someone else's style.

Lately, I've found that I have a pretty good idea of who I am, what I want, what I'm into and who I want around me. The way I've found all of that though, is completely by circumstance. I've discovered new things that I love through people I love, I've discovered my own beliefs and morals through a series of events and coincidences, I've done things and made decisions consciously for sure, I've actively chosen to experience things that have helped me work out exactly what I love and what I want, but only have I gotten a good idea of who I am through experiences that I didn't chose or expect.

The thing is, I don't really believe it's entirely possible to know exactly who you are or what you want in life because that is something that is constantly changing. To accept that though and to realise that sometimes, what you want will change or at least become clearer over time is really important. Your path may be down a row of identical houses with rose bushes and minivans parked out front or it may be completely off the beaten track, either of these or anywhere in-between is totally fine, just so long as you're not following somebody else's directions.

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