If I’ve learned one thing from life so far, it is that the biggest lessons you’ll ever learn come during the worst times. It’s easy to think you have it all together when life seems to be going great. It’s a whole other thing to swallow your pride and learn how to take a hit or two when you are down on your luck. I never understood why people waited until they hit rock bottom to make some amazing change in their life. The truth is that back then, I didn’t know a damn thing. It was convenient to judge others for the way they handled their life problems, yet all the while I was making some pretty bogus decisions myself.
Eventually, I was the one at rock bottom. I had reached a point where everything seemed hopeless, and I didn’t think my life was even fixable anymore. I finally realized that I had been doing the same exact thing I previously judged other people for. I felt like a massive failure with love, my job, my friendships, and just about everything else in between.
For a while, I stayed down and wallowed in my own self pity, and let’s be honest, it was pathetic. I can’t really say for sure what the defining moment was that made me change, but I will always be grateful that it made its way to me. I decided to start over completely and rebuild my life from the ground up. I wanted to live in a way that I was proud of for once in my life. So I hit the reset button and decided to begin again.
Things were not magically better by any means, because that’s just not how it works. I had plenty of highs and lows that ended up teaching me things I really needed to learn, even if that meant learning them the hard way.
I learned that you cannot force yourself to be something you are not. I had spent my whole life up until this point simply living for others. Whatever everyone wanted me to be is what I would become. I was a chameleon that would adapt to whatever expectation was placed on me. I wanted to keep everyone happy, even though it was making me absolutely miserable. You really cannot force yourself to feel things that you don’t. You cannot force yourself to believe in things that are not real to you. You cannot force yourself to love people who simply are not meant for you. Living life by force is a great way to lose yourself and not know who the hell you are.
I learned that at no point in my life is anyone ever coming to save me. I am responsible for my own life and my own happiness. It seems silly now, but I guess in the back of my mind I was waiting on some kind of knight in shining armor to come around and I would magically know who I was and what I wanted. Everything would be happy and perfect with no effort required. Ridiculous, right? I had to realize that I was the only one who could pull me out of my own rut. There was no relationship, perfect job, or spiritual deity that could do the work for me. I was on my own, and honestly, that wasn’t such a scary thing after all. There is actually a sense of security that comes from knowing that you have your own back and you are going to take care of yourself. You don’t have to wait on someone else to help you, because you’ve got this on your own.
I learned that it’s never too late to recreate yourself. I had spent a seemingly large part of my life dedicated to being a person that felt foreign to me. Looking back now, I can see that I was still so young and fully capable of changing my narrative however I wanted to. It’s hard to see past your own face when you are so caught up in being who you think everyone wants you to be. It’s hard to know who you really are and what life goals you actually want to chase after. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 80. You will never have missed your window in being able to become who you want to be. Recreating yourself is as simple as deciding who you are not and moving forward to who you are. That’s not to say that changing your old habits is easy, because we all know that would be an absolute lie. Life is more about the process of moving forward to that person you want to be, rather than being this perfect version of yourself who never has setbacks.
I learned that when you make radical changes in your life, not everyone will be willing to come with you. Some people may not understand your path. Some of them may be frustrated because they were on the list of people who benefited from the old version of you. Some people may just not align with where you are heading causing you to inevitably drift apart, and that’s okay. Loss is never easy and you are bound to feel the wound when people leave. What I have learned is that letting go of the people who are not meant for you is actually a healthy thing. Yes, it may hurt, but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong. At the end of the day, you have to invest the best part of you into who you are becoming and not let anyone hold you back. You do not need anyone who refuses to support your healthier life, anyone who is determined to hold you back from reaching your goals, and most certainly, you do not need anyone who judges you for any of that.
Life is really about continually learning and changing yourself over and over again. Be willing to grow and be different, even when it’s scary. The payoff is worth it. When you look back on your life years from now, it’s likely that most things will not be the same anymore. However, you will probably also look back on those years and feel proud of yourself for being bold enough to fight for the life you really want. You are allowed to endlessly recreate yourself and become anything you want. Sure, change can be scary. What’s really scary, though, is living the same, miserable days over and over again until you run out of years on this earth.
Always remember too that the people who are brave enough to make radical moves are also the ones who end up changing the world for the better, and we could all use a lot more people like that.