So, what’s going to be different for you this year? Have you already done your “write down all the New Year’s resolutions that you’ve already forgotten about” and the “lie on your bed and think about all the things you want to do but won’t” thing yet?
Yeah, me too.
Isn’t it weird how we’re all shrouded in self doubt, knowing deep down what we really want to do but for some reason we just…don’t?
Things are getting better for me though, slowly, and I want to tell you why. I quit my job 2 and half years ago, and it’s only now that I’m finally managing to be sure of myself. I’ve finally managed to look society in the eye, throw the rulebook in it’s face and say “Nah. I think I’ll go my own way from here.”
When 2013 started I had it in my head that sometime during the year I would finally need to resume my role as an office dwelling, salary earning, Excel tinkering, career ladder climbing accountant. It’s what was expected of me. It’s what I expected of myself. It’s what I had spent all those years studying for. And everyone’s gotta have a job, right?
But it just didn’t seem…right. I was 24. My whole life was ahead of me. And who knew how long that ‘whole life’ was going to be. A meteor might crash through my window and reduce me to ashes tonight. Did I really want to surrender the time I had left tapping on a keyboard taking orders from some unknown suit, just because…I’m supposed to?
And then I realised, who said that? Who said I’m supposed to?
Nobody. Nobody important, anyway.
Just the collective voices of society, socially conditioned voices telling me that everyone else was doing it so I had to do it too. I remember back at my old office we used to laugh about how much life sucked. Monday mornings in the elevator didn’t even require words. All that was needed was a long, defeated sigh and we would all smile and nod our heads in agreement. We were united by our misery.
We couldn’t even complain about it, because it was accepted as the norm. All of us were miserable. We all had dreams passing us by. What made you so special that you were allowed to complain?
That’s not a club I can be a part of anymore. I was only given one life and it didn’t come with a warranty. Miserable isn’t quite good enough when the stakes are that high. So one day I decided, maybe I just won’t follow the rules. Sue me. I don’t want to wake up and think “Wow, today is going to suck…again”. I want to love life, every day, and the only way to do that is to be free. Free yourself from all the imaginary boundaries imposed on you. Free yourself from the unwritten rules that you thought you had to follow. Once you do that, life suddenly becomes a journey of endless possibilities.
What will you do? Where will you go? 100 years won’t be nearly enough.
I was in a dark spot a couple years ago, completely confused about life and no idea where I was heading. I sought the advice of a mentor of mine, and as we stood out on the road in the middle of the night he looked me in the eye and gave me the best advice I’ve ever had.
“Life is not about being an angel or a saint. Your happiness comes down to one question. You might not know the answer to it yet. And the answer to it will change all the time. But you need to keep asking yourself, what do you want?“
It was so simple, yet I had never truly understood it. After years of being told what to do by everyone around me I’d forgotten about…me.
Why are we taught to spend 48 weeks of our year living someone else’s life in order to earn 4 weeks at the end to finally live our own? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
So make it that way. Make 2014 a year about you. What do you want? Who do you want to be? What do you want to achieve?
Don’t worry about what everyone else wants. That’s their problem. Being happy is about knowing what you want, believing in yourself and chasing your own dreams. Be a little bit selfish. Nobody has to live your life except you.
Happy Year of the Horse, friends. Make it a f*cking fantastic one.
Photo credit: photophilde@Flickr