Someone told me once or twice that I’m old enough to know what I want to do with my life. They told me I have to decide who I want to be and what I’m going to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s my career or my personal life, I’m an adult and I have to know. I have to.
I have to choose my path and follow it until the end of my life. Until the end of a very sad life. I agree, society expects us to make a final decision as soon as possible. Often even earlier. Every graduate should know what to do with his life. They have to decide what they’re going to do, what they like and what they love. And who they love.
I have bad news. It’s not possible. You already know this, if you read this blog, if you agree with me, you already know this. And yet you feel bad about it. You feel remorse. You’re ashamed. I am. We have been brought up in a culture that promotes following the rules. We’re taught that anything different is evil, shameful, despicable. Mutiny is a sin. Anyone who doesn’t conform is doomed to be alone. Is cursed. Is banished.
It took me some time to understand that life is over when… it’s over. Death is the final chapter and the moment we die is the moment our path is set. Not before. Not later. The moment our eyes close for the last time is the moment when nothing can be changed. That is the moment when our life will stop changing. When everything stops.
I refuse to stop looking for my way before I’m gone. To stop searching is to give up. I refuse to believe that I have to know what I want to become. I want to discover it. To keep discovering. To keep looking. I refuse to choose once and for all and then blindly follow just because someone told me to.
We used to think that we could decide what our lives were going to be like when we were children. Twenty-year-olds are children. I’m thirty-five now and I’m still a child. But I know it’s not maturity, it’s credulity. And stupidity.
I don’t think people change, but I do think circumstances do. To live the same way in our twenties and fifties, regardless of all the changes around us and within us, is stupid. And yet we’re expected to bend. To choose once and follow our choice until the end of our days.
I’ve been told that I don’t know what I want from my career and that I’m not mature enough. I heard it because I didn’t want to put myself in a drawer with a certain label. I was rejected. And rejected again. And again. I’ve heard it once because I don’t know what I want to do with my life, because I’ve chosen a different path than others around me. I chose it and I’m following it, that’s not bad, isn’t it? I should have followed what I’ve chosen. That’s the lesson I got. You see, when I’ve chosen differently, when I’ve chosen to be myself, to live my own way, I’ve been told it’s all wrong and I have to choose again, this time according to the norm. And then I can follow. I’ve been told I’m immature, I’m young and I’ll change my mind. Fifteen years have passed and I still want the same thing.
It’s funny, isn’t it? At twenty we’re old and we have to choose how we want to spend our lives, and if we choose something different from the norm, we’re too young to decide at that moment. I think it’s really funny. And I really hope that by the time I’m fifty I won’t know what my life should be. It will mean that I’m still fighting, I’m still not giving up.
I know nothing of life. Just like the rest of us. I’m scared when someone tells me they know what to do. I’m scared to death. Especially when the person telling me is twenty years old. I remember myself when I was twenty. I was dumb. And I thought I was brilliant and serious. When I was twenty-five I was ashamed of who I was back then. Now I’m not. I was trying to live my best, and I was doing my best. I was simply dumb enough to follow the rules that weren’t mine.
It’s always a terrible idea. Yet, we obey. We choose the easy path – at the first sight – to follow the rules, to choose and change nothing later. We regret many years later. When we’re really and seriously old enough, we realize that the path wasn’t ours. That the only one mistake we have ever made was to choose once and change nothing. To close our eyes, to learn and maybe even master one thing and discard the rest. Because we have to specialize! We must choose! We can’t change our minds, it’s forbidden.
Until someone else decides that our skills aren’t useful anymore. Now it’s time to change, to find a new way, to learn something new. Because someone decided it’s better for us. Is that it? I understand that the world is changing, everyone around me keeps repeating that, and yet I think it’s an excuse.
The world changes, and we must follow it until we want to keep changing on our own terms. Then, instantly, the world is the world is unchangeable and we must choose. We must, we have to! settle into a place, a role, a choice, and follow until we are gone. Or until someone else tells us it’s time to change.
I have already given my answer to that. Life is over when it’s over. Not before.
I have decided to keep changing, to keep looking, to keep dreaming. I have decided that no one has the right to put any label on me. And I won’t do it either.