As I have mentioned in past blog posts, one of my favorite pass times is looking up old quotes, and of course, finding new ones.
It’s so amazing to me how someone else’s own thoughts, own words, and own feelings can so closely resemble my own. The most fascinating part of this phenomenon is that we never even had to have met that person, or even have the same or similar experiences as them. Heck, we don’t have to be the same gender, same age, or even from the same era. Some quotes are just universal in their meaning- they take on a legacy of their own. Which brings me to the foundation of this week’s blog post; a famous quote by Nelson Mandela:
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”
Although I often like to summarize the meaning of the quote I choose to talk about in my own words, I feel as if this one is really self-explanatory.
This speaks volumes to me because there are a lot of times in my life where I have felt as if I needed to stay somewhere or do something for the simple fact that I was afraid of the potential negative consequences of my actions. But, this quote reminds us that just because something works for you, or you’re content with it, doesn’t mean you have to “stay put” for security. Sometimes it’s best to push past your comfort zone, and strive for more than “just content”.
A perfect example of a time when I applied this lesson to my life was when I decided to move to Florida. I had a lot going for me at home. I had a house to live in, I had life-long and decade long friendships within minutes from me, I had a long-term relationship, and a graduate school waiting for me to accept their offer and be part of their incoming new Graduate class. But something didn’t sit right with me; it was constantly eating at the back of my mind. The question I always found myself reciting was, “is this really where you see your future?” and the answer I kept repeating was, “maybe“. But, why settle for a maybe when there are so many “what ifs”? There are so many things in life we can be content with and it not really phase us. Like, that one meal we tried that was out of the ordinary and we threw too much salt on or overcooked, or that paper we handed in on a topic we weren’t all too familiar with and did a little ‘less awesome’ than our usual, or that outfit we put on that was more “ehhh, it’ll do” than “ah! I love it“… what I’m trying to convey with these mediocre examples is that there are many minor things that it’s okay to
not be in love with; but I don’t know that your life is one of them.
Granted, we’re all going to have days where we feel a little less than enthused about the things we have to get done, or the people we have to see, etc. But, overall, the goal is to look forward to your present and future, and to be able to enjoy everyday because it’s your life to live! And that “your life to live” is what really got me to push myself out of my comfort zone… I began to realize that I wasn’t staying in New Jersey for myself; I was staying for my siblings, my father, my boyfriend, my friends, and so on and so forth. And although all of those people were, and are, very important to me and should have some influence over my big life decisions- they shouldn’t have all the say in it. Because ultimately, I am the only one living MY life.
But I don’t want to depict this story as a perfectly painted picture on the first try. I didn’t just wake up one morning and come to this clear conclusion that I was moving 1,000 miles away from everything I’ve ever known and hit the ground running… In fact, it was anything but that– it was messy, very messy. It was more like a canvas that I threw a bunch of different colors on, representing each of my conflicting emotions about this move. There was red for anger for even having to make this decision (seemingly) on my own. Blue for sadness for all the things I would be leaving behind, or missing out on no matter which decision I chose to stick with. Green for the nausea I felt as a physical manifestation from my anxiety over the weight of such a huge decision, and yellow for the happiness I knew I would feel when I finally made the right choice for the next chapter of my life. And by the time I had set my mind and heart on moving to Florida, I had blended all of the colors on my life’s canvas together to make one complete, concrete color that represented my faith in new beginnings.
And there have been many personal trials I’ve faced along this new journey throughout this past year. New friendships blossoming as some old ones withered away… But the ones that have lasted through the distance are stronger than ever. My family knows that no amount of distance could ever affect our bond, or my love for them. My true friends know that although this move hurts, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. And I, on top of all of these things, know that this move was me facing my fears and following my hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Sometimes the places we wind up in life are where we are supposed to be, but sometimes they are just necessary paths we must take in our overall journey of life. That doesn’t make them any less important or valuable to us than our final destination, it just means it’s not our final destination; simple as that.
– Virginia Johnson
Are you struggling with living for yourself, facing your fears or would like some guidance with big life decisions, or are you just interested in talking to someone about things going on in your life because you simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.