Life Paths and Their Endless Life Lessons

            College; that far off land where your dreams are meant to come true, your most treasured friendships are meant to form and your truest self is meant to take shape. A place where you’re supposed to find your place in the world and really get a taste for what’s to come in the future. It’s the place where you have to go to make all of those things happen and to be able to survive in the real world once you’ve graduated. Ah, the beautiful and beloved expectations that the media, social media platforms and people create. Isn’t it just great!

            When I was a senior in high school, I had committed to a college in New York City where I truly thought I belonged. Everyone that knew me knew how much I loved the city and how it was the perfect place for an aspiring writer. Therefore, I was continuously told that that’s where I was “meant” to be and I had started to believe it. Once I had moved into the city, began classes, and started to create my routine, things went south, way south. I was crying almost every day and every night, I was on my own for a large majority of the time and my anxiousness was through the roof. My mind started to create such horrible thoughts and I found my bubbly, happy and optimistic self slowly disappearing as the days went on. 

            I was not happy there, at all, if that wasn’t obvious. My grades and work were flourishing because I was throwing myself into them to keep myself occupied and mind off of the complete awfulness I had felt. Everyone told me that I was meant to be there, how I would love it and how that was going to be the beginning of my life. Reality? It wasn’t true. This path that I had followed led me to a forest of anxiousness, dark thoughts and complete unhappiness but I was being urged to follow it because of outside forces. The college thing is just what you do; you pick a school and you stay there. I felt stuck until I was reminded that this was my life. That I was the one who was going to sleep every night, feeling the way I was feeling. The outside forces that had created these expectations in my head weren’t affected by this at all; they were able to rest their heads peacefully at night while I lay awake, questioning where my life was headed, what life was in general and why it was such a thing. 

            I went through a period of time where I thought about not returning to school and creating another path for myself. Though with careful thought and endless conversations with my incredible parents and family, I had decided that transferring to another school, one closer to home would be best. And once I had done that, I was terrified of what others would say and think. I had given up, I had failed, I “couldn’t handle it” because of x, y, and z. But no, that’s not the truth. The truth here is that I had followed a path labeled with the brightest signs, seemingly easiest journey, prettiest packaging, and most promising ending. I went down a road that came with an emotional rollercoaster as a detour with reality slaps as tickets for going too slow when everyone and everything around me moved faster. 

            Life is stacked with rows and rows of paths for you to follow, each with their own pros and cons. We all have our own decisions to make in our own lives that affect only those that make those decisions; you. There are endless paths to look at and even test out. No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you come from, take advantage of the paths before you. Every twist and turn you come across is something that will further shape you as a person and who you are meant to become. If you realize that maybe college isn’t in your path then walk the other way. Take the time to figure yourself out and do what you want to do. This is your life, not anyone else's and the more that you live for other people, the more time you’re wasting walking on other people’s paths that they curated for you. Make your own. 

            The harsh truth is that life isn’t easy, no matter what path you choose to take. As I said, they all come with their own pros and cons but those pros and cons are there to help you develop into a stronger, better person. Live and make mistakes, learn from them and understand that there is no such thing as failure; only life lessons. Those life lessons are your flashcards to take out when you see other people struggling through things similar to what you went through so you pass it on. Those life lessons are meant to be invisible tattoos on your body, visible to only you, to remind you of not going through the same cycle again. Those life lessons are your swords against the world when it gets harsh, to remind yourself of what you’ve overcome and how far you have gone. Those life lessons are your life lessons, they’re apart of you. So, go off into the world, mess up, walk some paths a little drunk-happy before you wake up and smell the shit you’ve accidentally stepped in on your shoe. Then wipe it off and keep on walking to your own beat.