I stumbled upon an article today that addressed women checking off items off a bucket list before becoming mothers, as if motherhood was the death of all possibilities in life. I’m not a mother yet (I’m a cat mom though if that counts for anything), but that article insulted me. I don’t believe in the death of anything. I believe in closing a chapter and starting a new one, but everything just adds up to create one wonderful human life experience. Memories and skills are developed over time to achieve one full life. I can’t imagine that kids only destroy dreams. You know what else could destroy a dream? A job you hate. A meaningless career just for a paycheck. All those things are excuses not to push past fears and insecurities and try to reach those dreams anyway. We spent so much time complaining, and thinking we were dealt a bad hand from the start. We make ourselves, we can change the path we follow if we are ready for it.
I’m not saying it’s not hard. Of course it’s hard to do anything, to have a career or start a family, build a house, become an entrepreneur. It’s easier to complain about the missed opportunities and failed attempts than to keep pushing forward. I’m one of the complainers too. I watched a TED talk the other day on YouTube though, where the speaker discussed how discomfort helps you grow and achieve your best potential. We cannot find ourselves by limiting our lives to the routine, and to what we know. Expansion is the solution. Discomfort provides that expansion because it forces us outside of our comfort zone, and redirect the spotlight away from ourselves and onto the new situation we’re dealing with. It’s hard to feel good in an uncomfortable situation because duh, it’s uncomfortable, I however would not find solace in my life any other way.
So all we need is that push off the cliff, right? Whether we take the jump, or someone else forces us to jump, it’s incredibly freeing to let go of everything and just leap. It’s scary as hell too. Where am I going to land? What am I going to become? Am I going to lose everything?
There’s no shame in being afraid. Fear is healthy. What is not healthy is to let fear rule our lives. Financial insecurity is probably the biggest fear. How am I going to pay my bills? Instead, we should maybe look at how much we are paying, and whether some expenses are unnecessary? There are a lot of superfluous obligations that have been piling up over the years because we thought they made us feel secure. The fancy manicure, the massage, or the going out every weekend, and whatever else we think we need because we lack that sense of fulfillment in our every day life. All of that needs to drop so we can really assess what is essential to our development. It’s hard. It’s hard to walk away from the routine. It’s hard to take a good look at things and decide to sacrifice what we think made us happy when in reality it was but a band-aid over our real goals and ambitions.
There’s no bucket list if we look at life as a big playground with immense possibilities no matter where we are in life. Whether we choose to follow certain opportunities is up to us. Life situations are not meant to bend us one way or the other. I grew up in a small town in France, and ended up in New York City at age twenty-three because that was my ambition and I did everything in my power to make this dream a reality. I sold all my belongings, I cashed out the little money I had in my savings account, I planned as much in advance as I could, and I left home. I had two suitcases and one backpack. That was it.
Of course I was scared. Of course I wondered for a few months if leaving home was really the best idea, but I stuck to my guns because deep down I was making my dreams come true. I expanded my horizons, I chased the unknown and I leapt as far as I could.
I faced a lot of obstacles along the way, because no trajectory in life is ever straightforward, but I held on.
Becoming a mother, or losing a job, failing at a relationship, none of these events define you just by happening to you. They define you because they force you to change your perspective, and the push into the unknown makes you reassess everything. Whether you decide to maintain the status quo and regret the past, or you accept the new situation and adapt to it is entirely up to you.
In this day and age, we can truly achieve whatever we set our mind to do. Limits and boundaries keep vanishing so why are we still restricting ourselves to the stupid routine?
The world is full of possibilities, and my job is to take advantage of them to fully realize myself. I would not find contentment any other way. Putting in the effort is up to me, and maintaining that effort despite difficulties will be key to my success. I strongly believe I can do it because I only feel free when I let go of the familiar, and dive into the unfamiliar.