So many people in life have a linear goal. Get outstanding grades in high school, go to a fantastic college, graduate suda com laude. Then it’s on to graduate school and a professional career. After this, we’ll find ourselves a lifelong partner, have children, build a beautiful family and live happily ever after.
Our society has taught us to chase after the linear life ever since we were little. I remember always being asked, “Honey, how many children do you want to have someday?” or the dreaded, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Both of these questions prompt us towards a linearly lead life, where you follow the steps from above and lead your life according to what is a happy and healthy in the eyes of society.
The thing is, life isn’t linear. We live a life that is ever-changing. Our goals are always being re-evaluated and our routes are constantly shifting. Of course, we hit important milestones and gain many accomplishments. Yet, those routes are also filled with obstacles, barriers and speed bumps, which can slow us down or take us down a different road entirely.
Recently I had a friend text me frantically and ask me to meet her in the Plaza immediately. It was obviously urgent: she was claiming to have had an epiphany and insisted that I had to hear it right away. When I arrived, she told me she had come to the realization that she had been working tirelessly and seemingly endlessly towards a linear goal: earning outstanding grades throughout high school, coming to college and earning outstanding grades once again (while taking the hardest courses offered), all with the end goal of getting a degree and having a career as a foreign correspondent in journalism to raise awareness about world issues. But she realized that life is long, and that there are many ways to help change the world. For instance, traveling and becoming a yoga instructor for a portion of her life, and helping the world by teaching people how to lead happy lives through relaxation and health, all while opening their bodies and souls. Eventually, she told me, life could lead her back to becoming a journalist, but in the meanwhile she would let her happiness take her to where she felt she needed to be.
Once my friend explained her epiphany to me I was overjoyed, because I too had a similar realization. I didn’t need to have a set-in-stone goal; what I needed to do was whatever made me happy in that moment. I realized I had to embrace the obstacles and curves in the road that is my topsy turvy life, and often even take an unexpected turn. Because although doing this in the past has been a daunting and somewhat terrifying experience at times, it has also been one that has sparked an immense amount of growth in shaping me as a person.
Challenging society’s notion that a linear goal is the correct way to live life is something I think everyone should attempt at some point. It can help you learn more about yourself or even lead to a personal epiphany.
Ultimately, we should do what brings us our own personal happiness, and not someone else’s idea of it. Why continue living a life if it does not bring us joy? If we realize the life we are leading doesn’t bring us a sense of fulfillment, we have the power, the strength and the ability to take control and change the way we lead our life.