We sacrifice so many opportunities and bury so many desires due to fear. Fear of what others will say, fear of what others will think, and fear of what others will do. It’s a lot easier to not care about someone’s opinion when you barely know them, but what do we do when it’s the people we care about that are stopping us from chasing after what we want? What do we do if that person is a family member or close friend?
It’s natural to want to follow the advice of those close to us. It’s natural to try to avoid disappointing those we care about. But at the end of the day, they aren’t you. They can easily tell you going to college out of state doesn’t make sense or that you shouldn’t waste your money buying that car you want.
And you know why?
They don’t have the same interests as you, they don’t have the same passions as you, and they don’t have the same goals as you. Five years from now, they won’t be the ones living based on “what ifs”. What if I had gone to that out-of-state college I really wanted to? What if I had majored in that field I am really passionate about? What if I had gone on that date with that really cool person? These questions will be stuck in your mind, not theirs. Their life was never interrupted. They still got to move where they wanted. They still got to explore all of their passions. They still got to try out the relationship they were interested in. So of course it’s easy for other people to tell you not to do the things your heart calls you to do. It wasn’t their dreams and hopes they had to walk away from, and because of that, it won’t be their regret.
YOUR life, YOUR regret.
It took me so long to embrace my love for writing. I grew up believing STEM was where I needed to invest my skills. That no one in my family was involved in the arts, and because of that, I couldn’t be. There were so many years I saw journalism on my subject selection form and sadly checked the box next to a different elective. Learn from me. I couldn’t be making my true self more proud by writing for this newspaper because that is where my passions and interests lie, and at the end of the day, that’s all that should matter.
So before you make a decision based on the opinion of others, especially the people close to you, remind yourself that they won’t be the ones suffering. They don’t understand what you’ll be giving up on or what opportunity you’ll be walking away from. Sixty years from now, they won’t be the one sitting in that rocking chair wishing they had gone on that date, moved out of that state, or gotten that piercing… you will.