The life that I had created for myself mimicked that of what I observed in my close proximity because that’s what grown-ups do, at least that’s what my parents and other adults told me. Anyone who didn’t live according to that script was shunned and ridiculed.
I didn’t want to be like them – the outcasts. The people I wanted to be like, went to varsity, had jobs, cars and seemed to be living their best lives away from home. They were revered creatures who we only got to see during the holidays.
I, eventually, completed my final year and graduated from varsity. I had anxieties about finding a job, fitting within the template and not being left out. Eventually, I did find multiple jobs and from the onset (even though I had a desperate need to keep one and start the next step of the template) I had a unrelenting feeling that I wouldn’t stay, and I didn’t. My need for belonging and obsession with parental approval lead to a long struggle with depression and anxiety because I wasn’t getting this “adulting” life quite right, in comparison to my peers.
[bctt tweet=”At last, I landed a permanent job and I thought “finally; I can settle and belong somewhere. Finally I can make my parents and other adults proud”. It was good for a while. #BKO” username=”BKOLitMagazine”]It seemed like I was getting into it and I could finally live according to the template properly- that was a lie and that feeling came back. I ignored it for a while and I managed to experience some personal growth for the time I was there. I finally kicked the depression and anxiety and started being less “people-pleasey.”
With that, I gathered the strength to leave the working environment so that I could allow myself to discover my purpose. Needless to say, my parents didn’t take it well but this piece isn’t about them. Now, that was a difficult one because; for years I’ve been told that adults work and earn salaries, which will help them get what they want – the house, the cars, the clothes, nice things and here I was about to let all that go, that didn’t make any sense.
What made even less sense was that my job provided all these benefits that only an insane person would let go of; just like that. Wanting to leave didn’t necessarily absolve me from not wanting to live the life I had grown accustomed to and the security blanket it brought me where my parents were somewhat pleased with me, I could buy things liked with my own money, and I had my own place, I could go anywhere, hang with my peers and have something to talk about. It was nice and comfortable and I became familiar with those surroundings and feelings.
A time came when a shift took place. It was a sort of confirmation that I had to leave this job and this self I had been cultivating for all this time, and that I had to allow myself to fall into the one I’m meant to be. Everything was different; the interaction with peers and the urge to perform whatever I felt was necessary at that moment. Going to work felt unnecessary because I knew I didn’t have a place there anymore. The curtain lifted from my eyes, everything had changed and I couldn’t unsee it. My life as I knew it was disconnected from me. It felt like I was in a different world or surrounded by strangers and continuing to live like that didn’t make sense. I finally decided to resign from my job and go into the unknown. I was scared of the unknown but I was suffocating in the known. I asked God to help me move with faith so that His will can be done.
I’ve noticed that I need to learn discipline, discern between work and leisure time. I’ve also noticed that even though I had made the decision to leave with the utmost assertion, I am still the same person who wants to hide and please, so I still lie about my life, trying maintaining the pedestals people put me on.
I don’t know when and how I’m going to unlearn this but I guess that’s the beauty of the journey to purpose.