From the day we are born to the day we pass is our personal timeline in which we are expected to do things. We are expected to walk, talk, play, socialize, learn, work, and retire, get married, and eventually die. These expectations have become the social norms that have been instilled in us from one generation to the next.
Despite all this, have we ever considered what happens when we don’t meet these expectations?
With the worldwide lockdown caused by the pandemic, it seems these societal expectations have lowered. These expectations were shut down and demolished as our world was turned upside down. We have spent 2020 under unfortunate circumstances, which have shown us that we have to value life, maintain balance, and stay present.
The pandemic showed us that the only moment we are guaranteed is now. It has allowed us to shatter the expectations and norms that others have for us and live the way we truly want to.
For me, 2020 added more pressure. I had already been struggling to find work post-college. All I felt was a year older and with no path to follow. My health didn’t improve, my mindset was far from better. And I felt that being stuck at home only added to the pressures I’ve been facing. I felt like I was drowning. I was failing, and I didn’t know how I could create change.
However, 2020 has also become my teacher. It taught me the value of time. It showed me that I can achieve everything that I want by valuing my time and using it for my benefit. Even though I felt sad, unmotivated, and aggravated, I knew I had to make some changes, even if they were gradual.
Now, in 2021, after realizing that I need to change my mindset, my behavior changed as well. I began to slowly make changes to ensure that I can make bigger ones to better my life later on. With the restrictions in my hometown gradually loosening, I’ve started venturing out safely, looking for things that make me happy. I looked back at the things I’ve accomplished and how they made me feel. I started to take back control over things.
What’s more, I realized the route I took in school might not be something I want to pursue as a career.
I decided to sign up for online classes in the field I’m genuinely interested in. I also got a job in the field that makes me happy. Then, I started spending time with like-minded people who motivate me to continue to make these small changes. Now, three months into the year, there are still many things that haven’t changed, but that’s okay. I can’t keep worrying about what those around me expect from me. Instead, I have to make sure that I’m happy.
Through this, I’ve realized that what is meant to happen will happen at the right time. During this time in my life, all I could do was ensure I was doing the best I can and proceed accordingly.
As John Lennon once said, “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.” You are where you are, and it’s meant to teach you something. Only you and your mindset have the power to grow and change. It may take time to gain this new perspective, but it will happen. We have to learn that the social norms that we follow and adhere to are our society’s way of controlling and preventing us from becoming the people we’re truly meant to be.