Have you ever played with this thought experiment? I think it’s fun because it tells you a bit about yourself and what you really want in life.
That is, if you’re willing to be honest.
A lot of us are unhappy about how our lives are going so far. A lot of us go through life living lives that were decided for us. Only after we grow up and analyze our unhappiness, is when we contemplate this fact.
We pick majors that never interested us because of the pressure that we felt from our parents and from the people we surrounded ourselves with.
We take jobs that we think are supposed to be great for us, but we find that we don’t enjoy even a second of it. Sure they allow us to enjoy the opportunities for us in life, but it’s really hard to rationalize it, even to yourself sometimes, when the feeling of dreading work overtakes you.
The more we buy into the narrative that the life we’re living now is the one we chose for ourselves, the harder it is to get out of it. You might be working at a great bank, with a reputable title and a high salary. You might carry that pride of having made it to the “epitome of success” amongst your peers.
You try to appear happy and grateful that you’re even in this position, yet you feel this gnawing feeling in your heart. You think about how fun it would be to be doing this or that, chasing your dreams, and you quietly admire other people who are able to do what they love doing every day.
Because you’re able to buy the things you want and live a luxurious and worry-free life, you continue to convince yourself that nothing is wrong and repress the feeling that there could be something better just beyond the horizon.
“Everyone hates doing what they do, and I just have to suck it up. I can do whatever I enjoy doing as hobbies. That’s what they will be for the rest of my life. Hobbies. I won’t invest my all into it because that would be stupid, right? I could fail and not make any money, and all of the things that I worked for could go down the drain. My friends and my family will look at me with pity and shame and laugh behind my back. It’s better that I live like this. Yeah, I like my life just the way it is right now. I would never be able to be successful at this anyways. Who am I kidding?”
We continuously allow fear to whisper into our ears and reject our potential.
We continuously reject the path we could go down for the path that is most comfortable and known to us.
We fear the unknown, for there is possibility of tragedy, humiliation, and death.
We fear the road not taken, the forked road, the moment of decision, the path to individualism.
“What if you could live your life again, knowing what you know now? What would you love to be doing as a job if you didn’t fear it so much in this life?”
Have you really answered yourself properly? Have you really been honest with yourself?
Because if you did answer this question truthfully, you find out that the life that you’re living is not your ideal one. You find out that you’ve been hiding something from yourself, something you desperately wanted to address but lacked the courage to admit.
Now I’m not saying that asking yourself these questions will allow you to find your true purpose in life. Rather, you begin to question the narrative that you’ve built for yourself. You begin to break down the high walls you’ve built around yourself to the possibilities of the world. You begin to peep through the cracks, to accept that maybe you are living your life not for yourself but for others.
You are not living the life you want to live because you want to fulfill the expectations that other people have for you. You want to make your parents happy. You want to appear successful and competent in front of your friends. You want to never be vulnerable, to ask the world for something that you really wanted.
What do you really want to do in this life? Because I know many of us don’t aspire to be financial analysts and accountants because we are passionate about it. We narrow our interests because they’re not “lucrative” enough or because they won’t get you a “job”. We all dream of a life where we could do something that we’ve always loved to do. We just have to take some time and examine what we really enjoyed doing when we were young — the things we were drawn to in our youth aligned with the Authentic You.
The You that didn’t have to care about the expectations of others. The You that didn’t care so much about materialistic things. The You that simply wanted to love and to create.