On my thirtieth birthday one of my dearest friends took his own life. He was at a young age, when life just starts to reveal the product of one’s efforts. Needless to say, this one act has not only had a significant impact on my life, but has managed to change the lives of my closet family and friends.
I would not be truthful if I did not say that the thought of simply walking away from all my obstacles has not crossed my mind. In the end I chose the path of perseverance. This is not to say I am an ever determined individual. It simply means, I think, that I have not reached a point of complete hopelessness. I read once that suicide becomes an option when one feels all resources have been exhausted. However, when there are still options, resources, and support available; then there is still hope. This is a gift within itself.
When he took his life, however, it helped me to realize that I had to reevaluate how I handle the struggles life will inevitably send my direction. It is easy for us – all of us – to just give up. I have considered it on many occasions. I am sure I am not the only one who has contemplated this path. In fact, I would even venture as far as to say that all humans reach a point where they think, “Should I even live on?” It is when we make the choice to continue, despite the hardships, that we grow. I do not think that anything I am saying is new or insightful. Nevertheless, it possesses great meaning for me because it is the first time in the three decades I have lived that I openly acknowledged that I have a choice. It is my desire to share this with you.
You have a choice.
A choice to live. A choice to give up. A choice to move on from what ails you. Or a choice to pursue the passions that will bring you joy. You do have a choice.
It is what you do with that choice that determines the path you take in life. When I came to accept that I had a choice, I was both relieved and daunted by my sudden power. I have a choice to continue down a path in life that once fulfilled me, but now no longer satisfies me. I have a choice to acknowledge that change in myself, and what’s more, I have a choice to make about what I will do with this new self-discovery. I must decide if I am willing to continue down the road I know, or take a step in a different direction. My heart swells, even now as I write this, because I have truly never felt so empowered and so terrified. For with that choice comes such formidable responsibility.
So far, I have chosen to create. This blog is a result of that creation. Yet, it does not end there. I have also chosen to focus my energies on the things in life that I find most fulfilling. I once loved web design. I once sketched out fashion designs of all kinds. I once devoured books with a voracious enthusiasm. I once roamed through the streets of downtown LA on mild Sunday mornings, allowing my feet to take me where they saw fit. I relished the new, exciting discoveries I made along the way. I once indulged in anime binges with bowls of popcorn. I once sat on park benches and simply dreamt up romantic scenarios. Now, yes, the last few statements are flippant, and serve no purpose other than to amuse, but they brought me happiness.
Another choice I have made is to appreciate the talents I have acquired over the years, and to either cultivate them, augment them, or to use them to redirect my career path. This leads me to an important point. The choice to pursue the things you love does not always equal frivolity. Many times we overlook the potential our interests have to lead to promising, gratifying, even lucrative careers. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be simply lovely, if everyone did what they wanted to do as a career choice? Imagine how different our world would be!
In my current reading repertoire is a book by a woman by the name of Yuli Ziv. She writes in the first chapter about how important it is to align your goals with your life and pursuits. Specifically, she refers to blogging, but I took this idea and applied it to all aspects of my life as it is at this very moment. She writes, “What is it that you are trying to achieve with your life and how can others benefit from that personal mission?”² I took that question seriously, and I even used it as a prompt for my journal writing – that is my journal IRL.
This question forced me to stop and reflect. To have an candid conversation with myself. Did my goals and life align? If not, then why? Furthermore, what do I plan to do about it? What choices am I going to have to make? Right now, I do not have all the answers. But I have started the process to look for the answers to this, and many other questions. This simple act alone gives me a since of accomplishment and encouragement.
If interested, I pose the same question to you. What are you trying to achieve in life? Are your actions aligned with your goals? With your values? If not, what do you plan to do about it? What choices will you be making? How is what you are doing or planning to do going to benefit others? Take a moment to think.
I look forward to hearing your answers.
And may we all be sweetly inspired.
² Ziv, Yuli. “Chapter 1: Planning.” Fashion 2.0: Blogging Your Way to the Front Row: The Insider’s Guide to Turning Your Fashion Blog into a Profitable Business and Launching a New Career. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2011. 24. Print.