I think I’ve always been the type of person who, when told I have to do something, especially in a specific way, asked why? This was often perceived as my being rude and even disrespectful, but I simply wanted to understand the reasoning behind things. This is probably why I like history so much, it clearly answers the “why”. This has led to my designing the life I want to live, at least the parts I have control over.
While I’m no longer a practising Catholic, I’d never forget the day the concept of CHOICE sunk into my brain. The priest was talking about free will, and God not forcing us to do anything, and the fact that, at the end of the day, we all had a choice to make. This was meant, I guess, to inspire us to freely choose God or whatever but it did the opposite for me, it showed me that I did not have to be there. You can’t speak about choice without speaking about consequences, but what if you called them something else: Results. All this random babbling is to say that a couple, many years ago I realised I could make a choice with the goal of a desired outcome and get results, and I can do this with every aspect of my life.
One of my favourite books from studying Literature is Albert Camus’ L’Étranger (The Stranger). I was always fascinated by how much Meursault’s straying from societal norms made people so uncomfortable. He didn’t cry when his mother died so this makes him a bad person. My young mind was fascinated. Since then I’ve been on a sort of personal mission where my actions are not to be driven by what is expected of me, or what I’m supposed to do, but rather by these one or all of these 3 things:
I want to do it.
It makes sense to me and I can justify it (logical or otherwise).
It is helping someone.
I’ve since thrown in additional factors like:
Does this make me happy?
Can I live without this?
How will this improve my or someone else’s life?
These factors guide things from what I wear, to how I speak, to what I post on social media. They also guide what jobs I say yes to, which relationships I allow or maintain in my life and what I consume. Some may see this as a selfish way to live, but at the end of the day, no one else can live my life for me. When all is said and done, I have to wake up every day and not just survive, but live, and hopefully enjoy moments in life and I refuse to let the opinions of “should” and “supposed to” dictate that.
I’ve noticed how much people act and do things based on societal norms and expected behaviour (and don’t seem too happy either) and it dawned on me that how I choose to live may be a new concept to someone, which inspired me to write this post. Even if it’s a lightbulb moment for one person, or something someone just needed to be reminded of, then I’m glad to help.