Being an independent individual is most definitely a double-edged sword. Don’t get me wrong, the title itself sounds admirable and the qualities needed to earn it are uniquely respectable, but the truth is, sometimes, it can be an utter bummer.
Unlike other people, instead of being content with your lot (which, in all honesty, isn’t that bad) you spend most of your time overanalysing everything; dissecting why things are the way they are, judging the unfairness of certain situations and why it seems impossible for you to achieve what you want from life. Things just never seem to be on your side. Even when you heed pearls of wisdom, like, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” There is still a limit to how many times you can tolerate each one slamming you in the face. Yet, that’s not even the worst part of it all. No, because, despite how much you will yourself to be grateful for what you have and count yourself lucky to have been able to do such wonderful things with your time, you still can’t help but think it’s not enough.
Deep inside, you know you’re not being unreasonable. After all, you’re not saying that what you’ve been fortunate enough to experience was cruddy. You are undeniably appreciative for every single one. Without them, you wouldn’t know the truth. But that truth has irrevocably awakened a side of you that can’t be put to rest. It’s crazy, but, your eyes see things differently now. Your heart beats for things in another way. Yet, to others, this enthusiasm can come across as obtuse, rude or arrogant. And it’s sad, because, you’re not trying to be this way – it’s just how you’re wired. It’s not your fault that you want different things. Bearing no emotion for something others enjoy isn’t exactly a pleasantry for you, and by no means does it suggest that you’re imposing scrutiny on them for being happy with what they have. In fact, half of you secretly envies it. But the other half knows you’d never be happy with a semi-fulfilled existence – and that thought can’t be ignored.
Ever since we were young, we were taught to follow a certain path – an expected chronology of life events considered to be the “standard”. However, that expectation seems a little out of date. Since the rise of independence in the modern-day, more and more of us have had the chance to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. And while that occasionally leads to an existential crisis, it also gives us an insight into what we really want. We realise we don’t have to ball and chain ourselves to a general consensus. Contemporary living isn’t like that anymore. Perhaps those of us who feel this way are still in the minority – the odd few outliers on the bell-shaped curve – but if you were born to go in a different direction, why bother jumping in the waters only to fight the current?
Following your own path is never going to be easy. That much we already know. Self-directed individuals are driven by having the freedom to choose their own course in life. It is inherent to them to create and explore every facet of their identities. However, such a curious nature comes at a price. In order to be able to fully flourish, space must be given to do so. Things that provide us with comfort must be sacrificed. We must walk an unknown road aware there’s no fixed destination. Happiness is far from a guarantee. Yet, it seems to be the only viable option.
Blending in with the masses has proven aimless. Foregoing your dreams has only made you hurt. Pretending that you can be okay with this is a lie. You can’t go round in circles indefinitely for the sake of “fitting in with the norm” or staying near those you love. If they knew how you really felt, they’d want you to go. There’s no way they would want to stymie you from realising your potential. They’d tell you that benevolence is not your sole responsibility, that love is unconditional, that it’s boundless and timeless, and therefore, you shouldn’t fear to start anew. Your family and friends want the best for you, and sometimes, that means letting go.
The time is now to chuck everything you have ever been fed as important (according to an unwritten societal expectation) into the f**k it bucket and make a fresh start. Think of this moment like your spring clean – the chance to declutter your life – and realise that setting yourself free requires this imperative action. As scary a prospect as that may be, rest assured that things will change as a result.
Remember, you owe it to yourself to be happy with your life – to greet the world with open arms, you are allowed to experience liberation and, most importantly, you can do this.