The majority of my life (let’s say the first 25 years or so), I’ve felt like a baby bird struggling to make its way out of the nest. I always wanted to be independent, live on my own, and make my own decisions. However, I was over-reliant on the people around me, mostly on my parents. My desire to be more independent clashed with the comfort I felt relying on others to handle “adult” tasks for me. My first taste of independence came when I went off to college four hours away. I didn’t use this freedom to drink or party, but to learn more about myself and seek new experiences. But there were still things I didn’t do because of my fear of disapproval, disappointment or because they were unnecessary due to others doing things for me. This fear permeated most areas of my life. It prevented me from:
- Studying abroad in India
- Getting my driver’s license
- Moving to a different city or state for graduate school
I chose comfort, stability, and harmony over living my life the way I wanted. This choice followed me home from college and through graduate school (during which I moved back in with my parents). What pushed me out of this was, and it is kind of embarrassing to say, was dating. I wanted to date on my terms, without my parents knowing who I was dating, how long I was going to be out, and all the other private things that come with it. So to get the privacy that I wanted, I had to:
- Get my driver’s license
- Get a car
- Move out
And to let you know how serious I was about this, I did it all within 3 months. I took my test for my driver’s license on a Thursday, bought my car that Sunday, and was moved into my own apartment (no roommates, because, never again), by my birthday. My mom, to say the least, was not happy about me moving out. I brought it up to my dad first, before talking with my mom about it. Eventually, she understood that it was something that was necessary for my growth as an adult. Three years, two apartments and one house later, she loves the life that I have made for myself, even if she does not like every decision that I make.
From this, I’ve learned that I absolutely cannot (completely) base my decisions on the feelings or thoughts of others. It only makes me feel guilty about the choices that I want to make and others rarely face any discomfort because they don’t know how I feel. To you I ask, what decisions have you made (or not made) just to please others or avoid conflict? Where would you be now, had you made the choice you wanted?