Sometimes we move through the world doing what we’re supposed to because it seems so natural. Or we do what we think we have to do in order to keep moving forward. But that’s auto-pilot. It’s an excuse to go unexamined while life happens. It’s a way to ignore who we are and to avoid questions. And when childhood is good, that all works out…seems to be just the way things are.
Becoming an adult is never so simple. We can follow, or mirror, or mimic that which we think is our path. But those paths belong to others and we must instead forge ahead on our own. There comes a time when auto-pilot drives you head on into a wall.
This is the hardest thing I have ever encountered. I am relieved, but terrified. I see the possibilities, but hesitate at the change. People talk about “the devil you know”, but the truth is that devil is us. What we do reflects who we are. Our words, our choices, our friends, our lovers, all of it is us. Our projection on the world.
I’ve always felt confident, but I don’t think I have any idea who I am. What I want. Because when I think about the life I’ve led, look into my own eyes staring back from old photos, I realize I’ve never known. With each attempt, I listened to the doubters. I felt swayed by reason and rationale, and I put the deepest parts of myself aside for that which others thought I was best suited.
I love my family, tremendously. But they are my roots, my past, and I cannot build for myself on them. They will always support me, but they are not me. I like being a jock, a writer, a dreamer, a thinker. I like that I’m learning to own these parts of me, rather than mask them. Of course my path will be hard, might never get me back to where I started. But whose does? I sold my soul for a life in the ‘burbs and found there was much more I sought.
I don’t know where I’m going, but I don’t need to just now. All I need to demand of myself is keeping an ear and eye open to my heart, and doing the best I can to follow it. The world will come back to me in kind. I can already feel it in my bones.