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Mental Health

It’s Okay To Live A Life Others Do Not Understand

Last year was an eye-opening experience for many people around the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice movements gaining more recognition, it was a period of internal self-reflection. During this time of solitude, trapped in my thoughts, I concluded that what I hoped for my life plan to look like was no longer what I wanted, largely because the world around me was changing, and I was looking at things from a different point of view. 

My concept of structured goals and a framed outlook on my life took a shift that I could not even imagine. The people around me did not understand why and wanted answers to how I got to this point of understanding. At that moment, I realized that the life I live is just that -- my own. Inadvertently, I tended to try to find validation out of what resembled the right path for life that society had long constructed. A societal concept of college, marriage, children, then happily ever after, and the story suddenly ends. I still believe it is okay for people to want a traditional life, but I started to understand that not knowing what I truly wanted to do or have in life was okay. That I could change my mind at any time and form a different perspective. The older I have gotten, the more I realize that it is okay to go outside of the norms and figure things out as I go. 

It is easy to be consumed by how society and family have molded what is considered the ideal life, but once I let go of those embedded ideals, I found myself during the most crucial time in the world and history. I figured out being misunderstood is not a bad thing. I was able to fully grasp that others will never truly understand the path I decide to take. Whether it be my career, who I choose to love, or how I present myself. As long as I am the one who is happy and growing, it is the only path I am willing to take, even if that means others do not understand. 

Ayanna Burgess is a junior at the College of Charleston, pursuing a degree in Communication. A native of South Carolina, Ayanna enjoys finding the best restaurants in town, browsing around local record shops, and writing poetry.
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