I used to think that I needed the answers to everything in order to be happy.
Who I was going to be, what I was going to do, where I’m going to end up, who I was going to be with or marry. I used to think that my happiness would come from getting the answer sheet before the test, metaphorically speaking. Although, I can’t imagine a test in college I wouldn’t have loved having the answers to beforehand.
Bottom line is, there came a day where I had all the answers. I was graduating college, I had everything you could ever ask and dream of. A family that supported my every move, great grades, an internship that I was obsessed with, more friends than I could count, a boyfriend who loved me and my senior year of college wrapping up. My future seemed pretty mapped out. I would be the girl I always dreamed of being. The one who had all the answers and the seemingly put together life. This was everything I had ever wished for.
But my story turns out like the old phrase: be careful what you wish for.
I wished for all the answers all at once and in time I got exactly that. If you asked me who I was going to be I would have told you that I was already everything I wanted to be. But if you asked me if I was happy – I would have lied and told you yes.
You see, this was the hardest part – accepting that I was not happy. Comfortable, yes. Happy – no. I had days that were happy ones, but as a person I was pretty worn out. I had just spent the last few years making sure everything would stick to the plan that looked good on paper, the path that offered security, stability and 0 surprises.
What shocked me most was that this was all my doing, all my planning, all my ideas, but I had never felt less like myself. I felt empty, lost and like I was settling. Why was I choosing a life of security at 22? Why couldn’t I pick the high road, a new lane to drive in? Why was I going with the nearest exit and not the maximum distance?
I can tell you this much; I was exposed to a lot of instability as a kid. I saw more ups and downs than I ever needed to, and I now understand why I clung so hard to the the things that offered the idea of clarity and answers. But it also meant that I always forced broken puzzle pieces to stick together when they couldn’t because I was looking for that perfect picture to come together, regardless of what the truth was.
So there I was, I let it all go. I looked for a job in a field I knew nothing of when my internship didn’t move forward to a career and ended a relationship.
If you asked me 6 months ago what I gained from this, I would have told you complete confusion and that I might have made a huge mistake in not staying on track and doing everything I said I would. All I could follow for the first time in my life was my gut, not a mapped out plan. But here I am 8 months later, and I can tell you I haven’t felt so alive in years.
My days involve nothing except me, myself and I. I’m not lonely but I get to focus on just me and what I want. So when it comes to my day to day life, I’m being selfish in the best way possible. I’m grabbing dinner with old friends, spending my weekends freely. Whether it’s seeing my family or taking a trip to see friends who are far away, I get to run on my own time.
I can do anything I want at anytime, because I’m not planning it out. I’m sitting there and taking every day as it goes. I’m meeting people who I happen to just enjoy and stumble upon, going to places I’ve never bothered to explore, and for the first time in a long time I am me. I’m just me. I’m not defined by my plan, I’m not looking for answers, I’m not forcing relationships, I am truly myself. I am independent, free and most importantly – I am happy.
So my lesson learned and message I hope to get across is that sometimes life goes ahead with the plan, sure, yes, it might look great, it might be everything you wished for and more. But what it might not be is what you need. You might learn that after all that planning, all that wishing and praying for what you think will bring you happiness, you had to find it somewhere a lot closer in reach – and that is within. Not from a check-list of to-dos and not from someone else, but truly and honestly from the place in your being that makes you, you.