How many of us have bought something that needed to be put together? A desk, a bookcase, an entertainment center, etc.
You open the box, pull out all the pieces and the instructions. You separate the various screws, nails, nuts & bolts. You begin to follow the instructions, following each step in order. And sometimes, even with the best instructions, for whatever reason, something doesn’t fit. Maybe the hole wasn’t the right size, or the correct part wasn’t supplied. Try as you might, you can’t get it to fit correctly. You have two options – force it to fit and hope it works, or stop what you’re doing and fix the problem.
Life is a lot like that.
We’ve been given instructions on how to go about our lives – from our families, our friends, our teachers, the media, and society overall. For many of us that message was go to school, get good grades, don’t drink/smoke/have sex until you’re old enough, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, buy a house/car/other fancy stuff, work hard, retire. For some people this life blueprint fits. For others, it’s the proverbial square peg in a round hole situation – it doesn’t fit & it never will. Those people are faced with a challenge, to either force themselves to fit into a life they don’t want & that will never truly fulfill them, or to forge their own path & leave behind the life they were told to want.
I tried the former path, in various facets of my life. From an early age, the words “go to school, get your degree and get a good job” were drilled into my head – so that’s what I did. And I enjoyed most of it. But it did not occur to me that I could change & shape my destiny. I was simply following the crowd, floating along & going through the motions because everyone else was. It wasn’t until I reached the “get a job” stage that I started to wonder, “why exactly did I do all this?”. This wasn’t the life I had planned for myself. In fact, I hadn’t planned a life for myself at all, I just did what I thought I was supposed to do.
I also tried to make it fit in my personal life. I remember as a child, being a chameleon, or at least attempting to be one. I’d be whoever the other kids wanted me to be, because I wanted to be liked & have friends. As an adult, I shifted & adapted in my quest to “get chose” and instead suffered through heartbreak, tears & disappointment. It all stemmed from a desire to be loved, to be accepted, to be wanted, to be “good enough” for other people.
I’m a Cancer, we desire to be wanted & loved.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I really don’t have to stick to the script I was given. I didn’t sign up for this life. I didn’t ask for it. So why should I continue to play a game I didn’t want to be involved in? I want to create my life on my terms. In some ways, I’ve done that. I had to start with being confident in what I wanted for myself & my life. To be ok with me first, & know that there are people who love me, accept me, and support me no matter what I do. And then I had to begin to detach from others. I don’t mean live off the grid..I mean detach from the opinions of others. In The Four Agreements, this is the “don’t take anything personally” agreement. And this one was hard for me. I’m a sensitive Cancer, so everything was personal for me. Sometimes it still is.
I know what path I want my life to take. I want one that is designed by me, and not simply dictated to me by outside influences. I want to be happy on my own terms and to answer to know one for it. My journey is MY journey – one that only I can take, and that has to be unique to me. Sometimes I still find myself coveting the journey/experience of others, and I have to remind myself that my journey is my own. We all have to stay in our own lane, and not be the distracted by other peoples’ journeys.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
I’m ready for the life that is waiting for me.