Lately I have had a lot of time to think to myself, what with an empty campus and a multitude of encroaching, dark hours each day. Really, I’m always thinking, always attempting to understand my own intuitions.
At this point in my life, I have not yet been completely set loose to take care of all the fine yet grand details of life, such as preparing my own dinner every single night (all hail the kitchen staff!). Yet there are aspects of my life I am able to explore which I have never felt I had access to while living in my hometown. It is an interesting balance I am dancing upon and trying to master.
A few months ago, I was talking with a new friend about my experience in making the transition from Iowa to Santa Cruz and my new job. He must have picked up on my hesitancy to explore this new world for fear of people’s disapproval, for he said to me “Stop letting other people make your choices for you.”
Immediately, I told myself, “I’m making all these choices for myself, aren’t I?”
I thought of all the big choices I had made lately, and I was forced to think of the reasons behind those decisions. My friend was right. Even if I believed I was living my life according to my own will, many aspects were heavily weighted by the feared or expected reactions of anyone I could think of. It’s not that any of these choices were bad choices, but that I was lending the power of my own life over to the unconcerned people I thought might be judging me. They aren’t always big choices that are made; I had been allowing these perceptions of other people’s desires to dictate what was okay to even think about!
These aren’t always even specific people who are heavily influencing my decisions. I prefer to blame “They,” because no one really knows who “they” is. In this case, “They” is the unrealistic expectations you set for yourself, and then berate yourself for not meeting.
So, I am harnessing the power over my existence into my own hands. It’s great! You should try it! I have been getting out to exercise every day, I am tuning into my young, night owl tendencies and using them to my advantage, and I am even journaling again. It’s not only physical habits that I am changing; it’s also the way I think. For some reason, I had the bizarre notion in my head that I am not capable of accomplishing much. Well, who the heck does that help? The truth is, I know I have the potential to impart an entire world of tangible and emotional wealth upon the communities I am a part of.
The big choice I have to accept the responsibility of is my attitude. How am I going to choose to show up each day? How am I going to interact with this person? I no longer need to allow insecurities to buffer or eliminate the actions I want to take each and every day. I am FREE! (If I choose to be).