The notion of life is so complex and intricate. We are born into a life whereby a socially constructed identity is thrusted upon us based on varying factors. It is the lucky dip of life. We are influenced by those around us from a young age, from political views to faith, gender stereotypes to sexuality expectations. We are so socially conditioned by expectations that it’s no wonder figuring out what you really want from the time we grace this earth is so difficult.
Let’s say, for example, you are born into a family that chooses to practice arranged marriages or you’re born into a family of doctors who expect you to follow in that profession or maybe travel is actively discouraged because of the dangers and fear of the unknown. At what point do you begin to challenge these norms? Explore your sexuality, religion, jobs, the world around you. Why is one person brought up in remote settings with no access to modern trappings and another born into city life? Why is one person brought up with the expectation of getting married early and starting a family and another encouraged to delay those life events? There are so many variations, but if it is all you’ve known, it becomes a construction that embodies you as a person. That is a difficult bond to break. These socially constructed bounds are a complete ilusion, but it’s difficult to then explore other avenues when you have been tied to something else for so long. So, we are limited. Our potential is limited.
We are made up of every person we meet, everything we experience, our significant life events. Everything we’re told, feel, endure. All those things make up the fabric of us as a person. But what if we questioned more? What if, going forward, we saw ourselves as a blank slate, consciously choosing not to let any of those pre conceived labels define us? What if we could socially construct ourselves as opposed to letting life circumstances do that for us? Explore other cultures, other religions, other political views, other sexualities. Open our minds to a whole world of possibilities. Freeing ourselves from those narrow expectations, these shackles. Try those things not expected.
I can try veganism, I can learn about Buddhism, I can educate myself on mechanics, I can attempt to play rugby, I can practice DIY. I can do all those things that aren’t expected of me, simply because I want to. It doesn’t have to work out, because I can be who I choose to be, because that’s the beauty of life. We can try on different versions of ourselves, we can change our direction, our story, our path. We are not static. We are dynamic and fluid and we have the opportunity to explore every part of ourselves, to fulfil ourselves and find ourselves.
We get one shot at this life, so why would you not want to explore everything it has to offer? We can literally do anything and everything with our time, yet we are constantly influenced by expectation. We shy from our dreams, aspirations, and goals because they don’t fit this norm. Our minds are so bound by an imaginary structure and system of what we should be doing, thinking, feeling. There are no timelines of life, no perfect age to be married, become a mother, buy a house, get a degree. It’s make believe, a mental shackle that constrains us from doing what we really want to do.
The very fragility of life should be enough of a reason to truly reach the depths of your life. This is your story to write, that one day, near the end, you will read it. You want that book to be captivating, you want it to infatuate, to consume, to be filled with adventure. Create a story you don’t want to put down.