Having recently turned another year older, I can’t help but think about how amazing life can be when you decide to take charge of it and do with it as you please. I didn’t truly understand the complexity of being the writer of my own destiny, until I was faced with the issue of falling victim to my own complacency or taking a more difficult option, which would eventually steer me towards happiness and joy. The goal of this opinionated article is to get you to think and reflect over your own life, in order to help you determine the path you most desire. Consider this simple question: “Am I the author of my story or am I following a ghost writer’s script?”
We do a great job of controlling the majority of the situations that come to pass in our lives. Each day we wake up making conscious and unconscious decisions on everything from deciding what to wear and where to live. Consider for a moment just how much of our time is actually spent enjoying the things that bring a smile to our face. For the majority of people, at least eight hours of the day is spent working towards building someone else’s dream.
Various types of circumstances take place causing us to question our next steps. You hear many people say things like, “when I was younger I wanted to…” and “if I could do it over again, I would…” They start these statements off with a slight twinkle in their eye, followed by a polite smile. Each time I experience a conversation like this, I always ask, “What stopped you?” Some of the reasons that people give are really deep and often come from situations where someone didn’t have the ability to carry out their dreams due to family needs, work responsibilities or simply too mentally drained to pursue. It often leaves that person wondering, “what if I would have taken charge of my future… How different would life be for me right now?”
Allow me to explain when I first had an encounter with these types of feelings. The year was 2005 and I was graduating high school. I had already started taking college courses, so I had about a semester completed by the time I enrolled for my first full semester in August, of that year. I enrolled in a new computer science program hoping to get my degree in Information Assurance and Forensics. I had great visions of myself fighting cybercrimes, learning the secrets of the computer world, catching criminals and having a little fun with all of the new knowledge that I was going to gain. As my first semester came to a close, I knew that the program I was in was not what I thought it was and I contemplated switching my degree to something else. I figured that I could focus on taking all of my general education requirements, use some of the information technology courses and electives, and figure out what it was that I truly wanted out of my education and determine which career field(s) best suited me, because this was definitely not it. Fast forward to April 2008, and there I walked across the stage, decked out in my Chickasaw Nation and National Technical Honor Society stoles, and received my degree in, you guessed it, Information Assurance and Forensics. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride. I did it! I rejoiced in my achievements and then headed home for some light refreshments and then off to bed, to prepare for my job, where I was an inbound customer service representative. Now, pause – does that sound anything like what I set out to do? No, not even close. I soon felt like a failure and like I had wasted all of that time and dedication, as I attempted to get my foot in the door of a company that would give me an opportunity for some much needed assistance in learning more about my trade, outside of a classroom setting.
This event served as the beginning of an important lesson. I stopped letting others dictate what my story would be. I realized I had spent too much time listening to the counsel of others, instead of taking a moment to think about where my life was headed. Reality hit me, I realized that I had fallen into the “adult trap” and was losing myself in the process. I stopped focusing on all of the details for a while and decided I wanted to enjoy a life more, by trusting myself, embracing my impulsivity, which sometimes landed me in trouble. I fought against the scripts that were ghost written for me, others opinions and started on a new journey into discovering what I most desired to do with my life.
My path is no longer static, but rather dynamic and evolves through trial and error. I’m enjoying new adventures, meeting lots of new people and seeing where life will take me over the next 10 years.
Who is the author of your life? Are you controlling your future? Have you let others dictate your next move? Take some time to think about that today and figure out what truly makes you happy. There are too many experiences in life for us to be complacent. I dare you to live today and take your life into your precious hands.
-As Told by HER, Whitney Ja’Rai