Depression sank deeper into my personality as I pursued an education my family expected me to follow. I sat at home studying until day break once my eyes would droop so low the words in my chemistry textbook blurred together. I isolated myself from others even when I wasn’t studying because I was jealous of their carefree attitudes and free time. I was so unhappy and uninterested with my education, but I felt that if I did not push through I would let down everyone around me, especially my Mom. I finally realized misery would not eventually result in happiness.
My realization was a relief, but telling my family terrified me. The day I told my mom she responded with underlying disappointment in her voice, “Well, whatever you do is your choice.” My entire family was disappointed, but I kept true to myself and knew I needed to be happy in whatever I do with my life. After I dropped the pursuit of medical school, I realized my original major, Psychology, was not a career path I wanted to follow either. It seems to me society has a general idea that everyone needs to graduate from college with a specific career and manage to love that career for the rest of their lives. Well, my sporadic wants, ideas, and interests do not fit into that criterion. Once again I felt like an outsider; everyone around me formed their path toward a practical future, while I was left with a million forks in the road.
My Mom sensed my forlorn attitude and one gloomy afternoon called me merely to say she will be proud no matter what I do and it doesn’t matter how many years I’m in school as long as I am learning what interests me. I hold my Mother’s opinion higher than anyone else’s, so those words of acceptance resonated deep within and gave me the courage to explore new options. Slowly I am beginning to accept the fact that I do not need to know exactly what my life plan entails. I have only lived twenty years, how does society expect me to know my purpose in the world? Last year I wanted to be a neurosurgeon, last month I wanted to be a professional photographer, yesterday I wanted to own my own bakery, and today I have no idea. A tentative future no long makes me anxious; it makes me curious about my life twenty years from now. I believe people need to stop worrying so much about the future and genuinely enjoy life today.
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