About ten years ago when I was young and naïve I got engaged for the first time. I had fallen in love with a man that [according to the women around me] had everything a husband-to-be should have: a career in the making, a place to live, a stable job, education, a loving and responsible personality, patience with kids and along with that I would get a very cliché, mean mother-in-law.
Our relationship was far from perfect, filled with bickering and disagreements and I mistakenly thought this was alright. For my whole life I had heard other people saying that marriage is hard and the fighting is part of the combo, just like fries and hamburgers.
I expressed my concern to a few people I trusted and they answered me saying maybe I was being too picky and that I couldn’t expect someone to be perfect, and that there will be little things here and there I would just have to accept and live with. But the more I was in that relationship the more I realized I loved him but disliked us.
After a year accepting all those things I hated and feeling like I was surviving a patience boot camp I decided to fight for the life I was working to deserve, which I knew didn’t include this relationship.
Four months after I broke up the engagement I had an intense pondering time about my life and the direction I wanted to take. I saw myself as a very immature person that had to grow up fast to not commit the same mistake again.
Around the same time I had the glorious job of working in a book store and as part of the job I had to read as many books I could. The first assignment I gave myself was the self-help shelves.
Since I was very young I conscientiously wanted to achieve personal fulfillment and according to the endless steps the many writers suggest people take I was in the right track, but inside I felt so far from it.
Tired of the self-help shelves that didn’t help me that much I started exploring the memoirs and biographies and saw myself fascinated by many incredible stories that didn’t contain steps or checklists but a very personal and sometimes completely out of the box fight for happiness.
People were telling me that I will know when a guy is the one if he does ‘x’, or I will know if I achieve success when I do ‘y’, or I will know if it is time to have a child when I feel ‘z’.
So in order to have a vibrant life I have live a templated life organized by people’s opinions?
As a woman I feel even more intrigued since different paths are available but none of them seems to be the correct one. If I choose to follow a career I’m automatically categorized as selfish; and if I choose to be a stay-at-home mother my category is lazy. The only certain thing about our personal choices is that people’s opinion most likely will never categorized anyone as good enough.
I realize that excelling personally first requires creating our own path. It can be just around the river bend or following the yellow brick road, the important part is that it is according to our passions since I don’t know anyone that succeeded doing what he hated.
Some things in life do come with a combo, but if they ask us, “Do you want fries with that” we can still say no. Challenges can makes us wiser and struggles can makes us stronger but we will always have the choice to leave behind what makes us miserable.
If life is a book I learned I will have to write my own stories, design my own journey and figure out the right happy ending for me. If I compare it with anyone else’s I’m not only doing it in the wrong way but that might be the biggest reason the feeling of fulfillment might never knock my door.
How can I know I’m in the right direction?
Every time we stop to think about my life an instant smile takes over my face, or butterflies party in my stomach, or I think, “Gosh, I’m lucky” or “Life is really good” … Bingo! That’s probably the moment we are in top of the world.