With so many media and social avenues shoving images of whom to be, what to be, what dreams to go after, it can be daunting to follow your OWN dreams. Even our own families and friends can influence us to do things that aren’t quite “us”. It’s easy to become trapped in the ideologies of what makes you feel accomplished or satisfied in life. That trap can create a false sense of happiness and fulfillment.
Be honest with yourself. How many times have you tried to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? You usually only hear ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ when there is reference to how hard life could be for you, but in actuality it isn’t. I’m referring to it as the point that sometimes we can spend more time trying to walk in someone else’s shoes that we miss out on the fact that the shoe doesn’t even fit. It’s either too small or too big.
Here’s a perfect example, when I left for my first year in college, I was convinced that I needed to attend the University of Mississippi and major in math. Why? Heck, I didn’t know then and I barely know now. I am aware that the University of Mississippi was a choice of my father’s and that I felt a false perception of ‘good’ about being accepted into the school. I also know that he approved of my math major decision. And while I did learn a plethora of life lessons while attending, it wasn’t necessarily my choice. I probably would’ve made a darn good mathematician or math professor, but it wasn’t my heart’s desire. I ended up transferring to another school, changing majors, and trying to find another shoe to fit. The story continues, but the point is I was trying to walk in someone else’s shoes. Or at least I was trying to wear a pair of shoes that someone designed for me rather than I designed for myself. My true love has always been communication/writing and I should’ve gone straight to college majoring in writing. What would have been different if I’d done so? I could give you a list of about a hundred things that I can assume would’ve happened had I, but the truth is, I’ll never know. I’ll never know how successful I would have been taking up a degree in communication. I’ll never know if I could’ve worked for a major publication like the Chicago Tribune or something of the similar. I’ll just never know. I spent years wearing shoes that didn’t fit. I think I’ve finally found or created the perfect pair for me by following my passion of writing. The feeling I have inside feels just right. It doesn’t feel like I’m pretending to be something or someone other than what I have defined for myself. I finally feel like I am walking my own mile in my own shoes… And I’m loving it.
I encourage each of you to walk in your own shoes, down your own path. Tie up the laces and never let them loose. Heck, make a double knot in them so they are sure to always stay on. Turn off the TVs and computers, close the magazines, and turn off the cell phones that your friends and families use to urge you to do something other than what makes you happy. From this day forward promise yourself you won’t do anything other than walk a mile in your own shoes following your passions to happiness.