I simply had to go down one path and avoid another.
I simply had to force myself to like something in order to attain my idea of "success."
I needed to fill my life with too many responsibilities, taking on way too much, going just that much more in order to please others; to achieve what I thought at the time was happiness.
I never could allow myself the flexibility of an "easy" schedule; to afford just a little time to simply enjoy the moment, and not painstakingly worry about "what I had to do next."
I always had to put pressure upon myself when I believed I was straying from the beaten path, the path I beat the shit out of with my own sense of what I "had to do." It was a guilt trip I thought I needed, and it seems to have worked up until now.
And all for what? I realized I wasn't necessarily happy with what I molded myself to become, it was just what I thought would "look better on a resume," or trying to add worth to what I still believe is worthless. Sure, the short-term and immediate rewards are great, and I firmly believe in the idea of self improvement beyond limits, but I came to a frightening realization a few weeks back that has haunted me for years:
I will always want more, strive for more - and yet, I will never truly be content because it will simply not be enough. I am always looking for "what's next on my list" rather than enjoying what I accomplish, living in the present. I look toward the future entirely too much, so much in fact that I forget that I'm ever really "living" in the now, using my present as a pedestal for my future and not thoroughly enjoying every experience and moment. I am not allowing my own progress as a human being, but I am forcing progress in what I think should be the "perfect professional," and that, in itself, lies a major conflict.
I am not living as a human being. I am not allowing myself the "ok" to make mistakes, the "ok" to take risks, the "ok" to have a little fun. I have become this dull, self-punishing droid, forcing the decisions I make to have meaning, at least to me. I find it funny that no matter how incredibly open-minded I claim to be, I am terribly close-minded when it comes to myself and the idea of venturing outside the box that I have worked so hard to construct.
It's interesting, I have always been taught, and I'm sure everyone has up until this point, that Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" was about choosing a path in life that was challenging, difficult, and overall more rewarding because we were taking a journey down the "less traveled." However, a really brilliant person with a truly open mind shed some light on the actual meaning behind the poem and provided his own insight into it, stating that the poem isn't necessarily about choosing one path over the other because of the challenge, but more so with the fact of just choosing a path at all.
Everyone comes to a number of different crossroads during their lives, and to simply believe that one path, or in this case, decision, is more rewarding/fitting/beneficial than the other is unrealistic. We WANT our decisions to matter, to have meaning, to have some importance in our lives, when in all actuality, we really don't know. The point is to make a decision and follow through with it the best way possible, hitting each crossroad with the same idea and going on with life. If not, we are simply stalling at each turning point in our lives, coming to a complete halt and ultimately losing touch with the advancement of society.
I think this new-found revelation has truly affected me in how I go about with my future. No longer will I force myself down something I'd rather not do; I need to understand that I have to do what makes me happy, even if that means risking it all based on uncertainty and blind faith. For years I have MADE my decisions "matter" and have meaning, and sure, it has had some short-term benefits and rewards. But in reality, I have no idea where it will take me in the long-run, and doing things based solely on what I think I need to do rather than what I absolutely want to do is detrimental to my enjoyment of life.
I'll probably look back years from now thinking how foolish and naive I was, going back to my old ways and thinking that all of these so-called "revelations" are pure garbage. But at least I can say that I had this moment of reflection, because I believe it is truly important to challenge your own set of ethics/morals/beliefs at least once in a while. It's all apart of being human I suppose, and learning to actually accept those age-old, seemingly corny sayings of "doing what makes you happy" and "living life to its fullest." Change is good, for better or for worse.
Who really knows? I surely don't . . . and for once in my life I'm okay with that.