Do you know that feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach after you feel that you have done something completely and morally wrong? For example, the feeling you might get after stealing a car or running over a squirrel. Well that feeling is exactly why I dropped out of college. I know that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but staying in school made me overcome with that exact feeling that I expressed above. Every fiber of my being was drenched with terror and dread the longer that I went against my own will and tried to do what society says it right.
According to current society there is a particular time table that is laid out for a girl like me. It has been planned for me since before I drew my first breath in this crazy world I call home. When a parent thinks of their children's life they picture their major milestones, their gleeful childhood, their high school graduation, their college graduation, their wedding, the birth of a new child, everything that they ever hoped they could have. Who can blame them? That is the picture perfect world that we are supposed to strive for. The cream of the crop. All we could ever hope to have. That's where I just can't keep up. I just don't understand why that's the American dream.
The things that I want to remember most aren't graduations or formal parties. I want to remember the beautiful people I meet and fall in love with, the incredible places I see, the cultures I experience, the amazing food that I eat. I want to live a life full of adventure and spontaneity and I don't understand why that is so wrong. Some might say that this is a pipe dream, or that those are the things we experience occasionally after we get the chance to save up to go where we want. Job security is what I should strive for. I should live to work not work to live. I don't have to love what I do as long as I make a lot of money.
I just cannot live this way.
I understand that not everybody has the luxury of thinking like this. Some people have others that they need to care for and cannot uproot everything to live a nomadic lifestyle. The fact that I even posses the option to do so is a precious privilege and one that I definitely understand the weight of. In fact, that is the same weight that has been crushing me for years. The fact that it would be so easy for me to go off to a far off place and yet here I still am, stuck in the drudgery of my American dream, miserable only so I can "please" others around me.
Well 2017 is where I finally draw the line. I have saved up money from working long hours and living at home with my parents. I will finally embark on the adventure I have been waiting so long for.
For the first time in my life I am doing something that I decided 100% on my own. There was absolutely no outside influence, in fact everybody was telling me to swim the other way. Stay in school they said. Get a 9 to 5 job they said. Get a boyfriend, settle down, start a family....and while all of those things are wonderful and I might end up doing them anyway, right now all I need to do is exactly what I am doing. There is so much freedom in that and I encourage everybody to do it at least once in their lifetime.
I read a sign in my managers office the day I quit that job, I had been in that office hundreds of times and I don't know why I had never seen it before. It said something along the lines of "what would you attempt if you knew you could not fail" and at that moment I realized that I was doing exactly that. I was fully living my biggest dream that I had been too scared to admit was a dream all along.
Starting this blog and traveling the world is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time, but I had just been too stuck and blind to pursue. It took years of depression, lost friendships, failed relationships and self sabotage to finally realize that I was the only person who could put my life on the right track. I realized that right now because all of the things I had wanted to accomplish crumbled in front of me, I could finally see the path that I had needed to take all along.
I learned that YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE MISERABLE! But you do have to rearrange your life to make it fit back together again in a way that makes you happy, and the transition process is really really messy. We all deserve to be the protagonist in our own lives and I think that we all have the potential to live happy lives we just need to redefine our ideas of success. Shit happens and we can take all of these terrible things that life throws our way and let it weigh us down until we are so heavy that we sink and drown. OR we could take these heavy things and make ourselves strong enough to carry them with us to the top. These are the crossroads in life; some just miss them because they have yet to create the second path. (sorry for all the path metaphors)
If I do nothing but fail over these next few months that determine my future, then the life that I had left behind will always be there for me to come back to. I can always go back to school, move back to Austin, get a steady job, rent an apartment...but if I didn't buy that one way plane ticket to Barcelona and try to live my dream then I would always wonder what if and that my friends is far more terrifying then anything I have ever done.