You’re not always going to have support in everything you do… unless you only do what other people want you to do.
As a 25-year-old, the majority of my life so far has been spent as a dependent of my family. Having what I consider to be actual freedom is relatively new, and fricken awesome to me. I spent a lot of time as a child and adolescent feeling, not unlike many others, that everything in my life was out of my control. Whether things were positive or negative, I didn’t feel like I had a real say in anything. It’s part of growing up to have to follow rules and do things you don’t want to do, and that helps form adults who have discipline and are functioning members of society. But looking back, I know I spent a lot of time thinking, “I can’t wait until I don’t have to deal with this anymore,” whether it was being at school, being at home, or eventually, being at work.
Clearly, that’s not the most positive way to live or make the most out of any situation, but that’s how I felt when I had to deal with things that were unpleasant. I was either “sticking it out” or, as some people will attest to, resisting and fighting my way through it.
Eventually I got a little older and had more freedom…to a certain degree. College wasn’t a choice; it was what you did after high school. Growing up in my family, I didn’t fight going to college. In fact, I took on the same nose-in-the-air attitude that if you don’t go to college, and a good one at that, you won’t be successful and shame will follow you throughout the rest of your life. Hence, I picked a career path that, although it was a subject I found very interesting, was more about the status that came with the level of education required and the title that meant I had my shit together. Take that, childhood insecurities and people who brought me down! Bonus: I was doing something that most people supported, so that meant it was the right thing, right? …Right?
Cue me driving home from my last class of graduate school, officially done with my master’s degree. I could not have been happier. Why, because I couldn’t wait to get licensed and start my career? No, because I felt free. Because I didn’t have to get licensed, even though I paid the money to pass the test, and I didn’t have to get a job in my field. I could do whatever I wanted, because I was done with my obligatory schooling and I could find a job as whatever. What was the point of increasing my opportunities by getting an education and then feeling stuck again?
Fast-forward through the conversation with my mom where she tells me I don’t have skills in anything else and won’t be able to find a job and what could you possibly do with yourself and it’s three months after classes ended. I am excited to have a job, which I got having zero related experience. Everyone in my family seems to think it’s just something to have until I get a job in my field. About seven months later I’m leaving for a new job, because although I was happy to have something outside of my field, it’s not what I want either. Another seven months later I’m making good money, living on my own, and loving the freedom, but hating my job. So much so that I really start to dig deep in thinking about what type of work would be truly fulfilling.
Now we’re up to a couple months ago. I knew that my dream job would have certain qualities (creativity, independence), but hadn’t been able to pinpoint anything. Then, a friend brings up her interest in a field that sparks something in me. Why hadn’t I considered this before? Well, that’s really related to the same things I already described, but anyway, I start researching. The more I research, the more I’m inspired to continue on this path. Eventually, we get to today, where I’m trucking along in the plan I’ve created. I’m extremely excited for what’s to come.
Yet, I don’t have everyone’s support. As much as I want to be completely independent and not care, it just goes back to the core feeling of wanting approval from the people closest to you. I’m fortunate in that the people closest to me have good intentions deep down, and I know the “unsupportiveness” stems from their own fears and biases. But I know what I really want now, and there’s nothing holding me back because I’m finally independent and don’t have to do anything anymore. Okay, I have to pay my bills, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have a job where I can live on about half my income and save up the rest. I’m prepared, and I’m a budget master. Either way, I’m doin’ this thing. This one piece of it, the support, isn’t all there…and that’s going to have to be okay.