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Letting Go Of What My Life *Should* Look Like

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SFU chapter.

“That’s what I should be doing”…

I’ve had this dreadful sentence living rent-free in the back of my mind for most of my life, forcing me to overthink and excessively scrutinize almost every decision, choice and feeling to the point where I had the crushing, but unavoidable sensation that I was a spectator watching my life cruise by in front of my eyes.

Even though I am no astrology expert or avid believer, being a libra, I find myself in constant need for balance and search for beauty and harmony in pretty much everything. 

That said, I used to (and sometimes still do) feel like my life needs to look like a Pinterest board, where everything just makes sense, is consistent with what people usually choose to like and is up to date with current mainstream trends. Never in my life have I taken a Psych class or even attended a wellness webinar, but I don’t think I would be going out of my depth by saying that this mindset is toxic and unhealthy, or in simpler terms, it’s pure bullsh*t. 

If I’m being totally honest, I realized I had memorized this pattern of wanting everything to make sense right away and fit all my expectations only when I was in near-complete isolation during the pandemic. That’s when I had to actually stop, take a long-needed breather and face head-on the direction my life was taking and decide what kind of person I wanted to become.

In a time when all I could do was binge-watch Love Is Blind and find 10 different ways to roast potatoes, I realized that for the past few years (especially since starting university) I had been kind of lost in a whirlwind of new experiences, feelings and expectations, unable to determine whether I was satisfied with my choices or truly had any plans for the future.

Maybe the fact that the world was legit going crazy and completely re-shaping social norms, conventions and relationships allowed me to put myself first and regain control over my narrative. I started to rediscover my passions, my interests and ambitions, and for the first time in a long time I felt like I wasn’t just barely trying to stay afloat and avoid drowning, but I was actually swimming to go somewhere, and I was truthfully okay with that somewhere being different than someone else’s. Once I took the time to slow down, I realized that I needed to let go of my toxic mindset in order to be okay with the direction my life needed to take. 

Ever since I have been (most of the time) fulfilling my own funny, unapologetic and sometimes weird narrative, trying as best I can to let go of that idea in my head of what my “ideal” life should look like. I won’t deny it can sometimes be a struggle, especially since letting go of my own expectations can feel like I am somehow disappointing myself or cutting myself too much slack. To be honest though, I have come to realize there is a difference between being ambitious and being too hard on yourself, which is the insane amount of energy the latter requires. 

So, if you feel like I used to, you should know that you are not alone and even if sometimes you feel like a Todd, you should know you have the right to feel like a Mario when it comes to your own life race. 

Ally is majoring in Linguistics and minoring in International Studies. She loves to do yoga, pilates and take long walks down the beach. When she’s not studying, she’s probably baking a chocolate cake!