The words life and lies have 3 things in common, the ‘L’, an ‘I’, and an ‘E’.
Throughout my schooling journey, I was fed the proverbial food to get and keep me on the most successful path of life. “Learn as much as you can,” they said. “Graduate and go to college,” they advised, ensuring my acquisition of a ‘good’ job. During my high school ages, daytime TV was plagued with higher education commercials highlighting the fact that college graduates earn almost a quarter of a million dollars more in a lifetime than a simple high school grad.
It wasn’t until I was 28, that I realized the journey I had been led on was a facade. I felt duped, bamboozled, and fooled by the conforming nature of society coupled with fear of being too different. Being a person who thinks outside of the box and acknowledges that no one life is lived the same, I couldn’t fathom how I was supposed to fit my awkwardness into the four-corner picture that seemed to have already been painted for me.
In middle school, I was taught about entrepreneurship as an abnormal means to life, but nobody was leading or directing me down that direction. The closer I grew to high school graduation, and after a couple of summer jobs, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, I was NOT going to be the paper pusher of a cubical laden office from nine to five. Nothing about corporate America enticed me or peaked my interest; thus, I attended college simply because it seemed like the right and only thing to do at the time.
Who would support an 18-year-old with wild marketing, writing, and business dreams? No one in my family or life, besides my 7th grade teacher, was or had any thoughts about being an entrepreneur. Where would I even start? I had no answers, most of all no money, so I reluctantly stayed in college. I like to say I partied my GPA and scholarship away, instead of saying, “I quit” but the truth of the matter is I did give up. I didn’t want to be in school, I didn’t want to be the American dream and I didn’t want to live my life working for a country that I would have no social security for by the time I reach 45 and having to work until I am 75.
It was these thoughts that caused me to realize that my journey thus far was not one I had carved out for myself, but one that had been etched out for me. After half-finishing college and moving into adulthood (working, living on my own, paying bills, etc.) I developed the routine that nonconformist warn of; working a dead-end job, simply to pay bills; with no satisfaction in doing the work. I felt stuck, I felt alone, but I also felt that something was going to, and had to be different about my life; the sooner I accepted it, the more peaceful my trek would become. But I felt like a huge quitter; a failure at my life, because I was not looking like the fantasy I envisioned at 17.
Though I had those thoughts for years it took a little longer for me to actually jump on that road. It took three kids (one a miscarriage), 4 years of marriage and teetering on the brink of turning 30; mixed with a frustration of wanting more freedom to create more happy moments in my life, that finally forced me to take the biggest leap of faith ever.
I have heard many testimonies about the toughness of leaving a stable job on a hope and prayer that your dream comes true, and honestly that fear daunted me. But the thought of living my life without stamping my footprint in someone else’s life, without ever showing my children how to believe in themselves, and living in perpetual unhappiness and financial prison, scared me even more.
Always surfing Facebook, I stumbled across a lot of motivational speakers but one day I watched a short video created by Steve Harvey. Since that day his quote replayed in my mind: “You have to jump if you want to be successful. There is no way around it.” So I did. I took a leap off of the beaten path, and chose the road less traveled. And honestly I don’t know where I will go, what I will do, or if this will even pan out into a career. But I sure as hell am enjoying the ride; the best trip I have ever taken.
Don’t get me wrong, the perfectionist in me wants to finish, and plans on finishing my college education. But, whether I do it or not, will never determine if I will continue chasing my dreams. Nor will it bear as much weight as it once did; defining who I am or what my journey’s finished portrait will look like. Education is important, degrees are good to have, money affords quite a bit of luxuries, but the character of a person is what carries them through life and the definition of success is what each of us interprets it as individually.
“Don’t live your life as a lie and don’t lie to live your life. Be true to who you are and what makes you happy.”
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