By: Alyssa Gagnon, Regular Contributor
I realized an annoying truth about myself last night. I realized that I am one of those people who always gets what she wants. I don’t mean that I get handouts or that crowds part for me, but that I have never had to settle much, or adjust to a reality that I didn’t ask for. I’ve always chosen my path and made those choices happen.
When you’re a child, you often think that adults have it so good. No one tells them when to go to bed, or to do their chores, or to only chew sugarless gum. When you are an adult, you are finally in charge!
What you don’t see when you are a child is that being an adult means making difficult decisions that almost always involve sacrifice. You have to decide not to go out with friends because the next day at work you have a presentation. You opt for one career because it is stable and abandon the one that excited you. You choose one person to spend your life with (who is probably amazing) but give up the possibility of ever being with someone else.
These are the choices that I have found myself making, especially in the last year.
At some point along the way in the past year, I’ve realized that I will likely never be able to “have it all” again. Every choice I make in favor of one thing will mean giving up something else. Life from here on out will mean sacrifice and compromise.
And while I don’t have to sacrifice on everything, it bums me out a bit that the days of selfish, reckless decision making are now, almost certainly, behind me. I have entered into a new phase of life marked by responsibility, long-term planning, and budgets. It bums me out that I can’t choose every path that lies ahead of me and choosing one means I forsake the others.
It has been so easy for me to become mired in these negative head spaces where I feel endlessly sorry for myself for not having this, or not attending that, or for not travelling here and here and there. But the truth of my current reality is that I can choose to go to bed when I want, and I mean that literally and figuratively.
I can choose to do my chores or not (and I do them, because it turns out I love living in a tidy and clean home). I can quit my job or stay out late or not make my bed or paint instead of cook or dance like no one’s watching any moment I choose. There is no reason for me to feel sorry for myself! I am on a path of my own accord and choosing—and it’s a damn good one.
I can even chew sugary gum.
What kind of freedom lies in the power to choose? What else are you giving up when you make your choices?
Alyssa grew up on a diet of grilled cheese, books, and ice cream with books predominating. She recently graduated with a Master’s degree in English and lives in her favorite place with her favorite husband (she only has one). Post-graduation, her plans are to start a new women’s magazine that leaves women feeling GREAT about who they are, and to open a publishing house for untapped talent.