How to Stop Fighting Life and Start Living for the Journey

Have you ever had to listen to people bestow advice on you while an inner voice strains to get your attention? It’s time to realize the importance of that voice and let it guide you on your journey.

We grow up according to a timeline that determines the appropriate progress of a life. It’s simple: birth, school, college, career and marriage. When is the moment we get to stop and say, “But what do I want?”

How real is your happily ever after if you live by the expectations of others?

Beautiful blonde young woman in white skirt

The timeline is a life of security and it works for some, but the lie is that it works for all. The truth is, we wouldn’t have the inventions or the art that we have if it worked for everyone.

Social expectations are there to provide a status quo—a guideline to an acceptable life—but that does not mean they cannot be challenged. I grew up following the timeline. I was forced to attend college immediately after high school. I drifted along, consumed by boredom. It made me anxious and frustrated, and it lingered until I realized that there was something else for me.

That realization lit a fire that I couldn’t deny and it ultimately saved me from a life that was dictated by those social expectations.

When asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, I was sure about my answer. I was going to play basketball in college, get a business degree, fall in love, open a restaurant, and yes, live happily ever after. It would have been a great life, but was it the life I was meant for?

There are great success stories that come from people living according to the timeline, but sometimes it seems as though encouraging anything different than what is mainstream is offensive to society. It is as we get older that we start to realize our other options, we start to realize our talents and our desires and it is then that we must trust ourselves more than ever. For some, the timeline continues to work in their favor and for others, a whole new adventure awaits.

The decision to follow your own path is never an easy one and it doesn’t have to be an impulsive one, although those are often the best adventures. Either way, it will come with oppositions and advice. It comes with disappointments and disappointing people who expect something for you, which contradicts what you want for yourself. If you’re lucky, what you want is the same dream the people in your life have for you.

The point is, if you fight life, if you silence the voice that is screaming for you to listen, then the happiness that you feel you deserve will be lost in the noise of everyone else’s expectation of you.

Do not let your dreams become a casualty of your fear.

The tricky thing about fear is that it sneaks in and it will have you believe that you’re wrong and that what you want is wrong. It is there to confuse and deter you from what you’re working hard to achieve. There are two choices when fear presents itself. The first is to let it win, decide that everyone else was right and that you should have followed the timeline to a secure future. The other choice is to use the fear to your advantage—let it fuel you.

Face the fear and say, “Yeah. You’re right. This is going to be hard as hell, but it will be worth every obstacle.”

Fear is there to bring doubt to your mind; it forces you to think about the negative outcomes while neglecting to share the fact that the only way you can’t reach your dream is if you listen to it. There’s always a common theme in people who have fought for their dreams. It is that they didn’t listen to the fear or to those who said they couldn’t do it.

Doubt doesn’t come from within; it stems from opinions, from overthinking, from the obligation one feels to others; it comes from the idea of change and going into the unknown.

Ultimately, it stems from not believing or trusting yourself, and if you don’t believe you can achieve whatever your dream is—the one that burns through your entire being and keeps you up at night—no one else will.

A journey missed is a lesson gone to waste.

Lovely woman is awoke and standing before window

I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. ~ Joan Didion

We learn from experiences and living our own lives. People often want to save us from experience by sharing what they have learned from their own, but there is only so much to take from that.

Furthermore, why would you ever want to lose out on the adventure?

I moved to New York solely based on the promise of a bed to sleep in. I left with a suitcase, a bit of money saved, no job lined up and fire in my heart. I explored and had a hell of a time, got a job, eventually found a room to rent and went back to school. I found my light there, learned about myself and discovered the writer I wanted to be. The road I chose was difficult and I’m still on my journey, but nine years later, I wouldn’t change a moment about it.

I challenge you now: take a seat, close your eyes, silence the advice that was said with ‘your best interest at heart’ and listen to the voice that has been screaming for your attention. There is a fire that burns—its light shines on your path to guide you—and if you don’t follow it and feed it, the flames will eventually burn out and the screams will become echoes of what could have been.

Feel free to ask me any questions or share your experiences in the comments below.

About the author

Candess D. Webster

I am a 29 year old Californian who has spent most of the past decade in
New York City. A girl's girl with a gritty background, I use personal
essays as a means of sharing the lessons of my life choices, good, bad and
everything in-between.

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