Several years ago, one of my close friends decided that she wanted to be a part of the “in-crowd.” She started hanging out with the “cool” people and pretty soon she spent all of her time with them. But I couldn’t find a place in this exclusive group. I didn’t follow any of their rules. I didn’t wear the right clothes- I wore what I liked and what felt comfortable. I worked hard in school- I couldn’t stand their “I don’t care about homework” attitude. I refused to stop reading- why would I abandon my favourite pastime? They were gracious enough to let me sit with them during lunchtime for a while, but that was as far as it went. After that, I was just extra baggage and was left behind. I knew that my friend’s choice wasn’t for me, so, after many lonely days, I joined another friend for lunch. We weren’t as close, but we weren’t strangers either. She took me to hang out with some of her other friends, whom I immediately found welcoming and considerate. Without a single question, I was one of them- we shared interests and ideas, and even if we didn’t, they were always willing to listen to my crazy thoughts. I will never forget how lucky I felt to have found a group of people so much like me.
I spent the rest of my time at middle school with these girls and our flock grew ever larger as we gathered more and more lost lambs. One day, the lamb wandering in was the girl who had originally left me behind, cast out of the popular crowd. We grew close again and for a long time she was one of us, but when the cool kids extended her a second chance, she jumped on it and never looked back. Everyone had become friends with her by that time, so it was unfortunate to see her leave, but we realized that she was changing and we had really grown apart. I don’t think we changed that much, although I was part of the change myself, but we could definitely see how different she was from the girl we had welcomed in. It wasn’t that she didn’t need us any more; it was that she didn’t want us. As I said, I never fit in with the cool group, and neither did my new friends.
Even though it was extremely hard for me to separate myself from her at the beginning, I now know that it was for the best. She is not really someone who I would want to be with now and we have picked paths in different directions. I’m glad that I realized that her path wasn’t going where I wanted to go and that I found a way to change directions. Most people, including me, cannot find true inner happiness if they do not live for themselves. If they always live up to the expectations of others, they cannot be free to fulfill their dreams. If they cannot fulfill their dreams, even the lesser ones, they cannot be satisfied. If they cannot be satisfied, they will feel that they have wasted their lives. Because of this, I have come to realize that I must live for myself, whoever I may be and whether the people around me approve or not, because life is too short to do anything but. This I believe.
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