By: Jane Friday, Guest Blogger
High school, college, career, marriage, children, retirement. We all know the societal expectation for the course of life. Maybe we have a plan that somehow revolves around this ingrained formula, but for most of us, the script got lost in the second act rewrite.
In high school, I hadn’t yet realized that my life wasn’t near following this formula, nor would it ever. Then, I was a rebel. A hard working rebel, but a rebel nonetheless. I didn’t attend college straight out of the gate. I was in an active state of alcohol and drug addiction. I bounced around classes in junior college and found myself in abusive relationships. After half a year at a prestigious music conservatory I dropped out to get sober, and the next chapter began.
Like most, I spent a few years struggling through the raw world you see when you get clean. A healthy relationship didn’t seem to be in the cards, let alone marriage. I never wanted kids and felt assured that I would never be able to make enough money at anything to allow myself to retire. In all honesty I couldn’t even guess what career I’d end up in.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I have often found myself draped in the arms of thieves, but I have begun to learn from individuals much wiser than myself that to lessen my inward struggle, I needed to toss out the script of tradition. Even though my friends had their degrees and jobs in which they excelled and I did not, I knew that didn't make me any less of a valuable woman. I had to work earnestly to come to terms with this fact.
Each time I prepared for and worked toward a career, I was utterly convinced that I would never do anything else. But I did this for several different careers. Every time I found myself set on a single path, that path would eventually end. I had to wander around in the wilderness until another path appeared.
I finally understood.
There is no one path for me. Life is not a marathon stretch but an ever changing landscape and its roads are too numerous to count. When I joyfully accepted and understood this, I had no issue with setting ablaze the script that society had written for things we should do. There is freedom in abandoning tradition if it doesn’t match your spirit. Of course it can be frightening sometimes but not nearly as frightening as finding yourself trapped in a life that doesn’t match your true being. I don’t make plans anymore, and on the off occasion that I do I add the caveat of “In this moment my plan is….”
I still don’t know if I’ll retire. I still don’t want to have children. I’m not sure yet what a completely healthy romantic relationship looks like. I don’t have any traditional jobs. I don’t own my own home. I still feel like a little kid some days. However, all of that is completely fine and I find peace and joy in the day to day practice of being human and writing my own script.
A beloved author of mine, J.R.R. Tolkien, famously wrote in one of his books “Not all who wander are lost.” Maybe some of us who wander have already found ourselves.
Let's Chat! How are you breaking tradition and writing your own life script? Tell us here!
Jane is a singer, actress, writer, feminist, and activist. Her life is dedicated to performing and humanitarian work. Jane is a self proclaimed nerd and when she isn't working she can be found obsessing over various fandoms; after all, cool is overrated. Jane is honored to be a guest blogger for I Am That Girl, and believes that women empowering each other is paramount. She can be found tweeting under the handle @itsjanefriday.
image via museinthevalley.com