When I was around 18 years old and having to choose a career to study at university, my Dad pulled me aside for a chat.
I can remember that evening as if it was yesterday.
In the conversation he said something along the lines of "Do you really want to be a teacher? You're pretty good at maths. Don't you think you should study something like finance or accounting instead? It would open many doors for you."
You see I had no clue what I wanted to be when I 'grew up'. I don't think many 18 year olds do, quite honestly. So to be faced with a decision that would basically map out the rest of my life... well it was daunting...
So I decided to choose the only option I could think of: to follow in my sister's steps and train to be a teacher... because I had to choose something.
Thanks to my Dad, though, the idea of becoming a teacher was short-lived. And I'll be forever grateful for him stepping in to give me guidance. Because, here's the irony... I have never enjoyed being in the company of children. Their energy is way too chaotic for me. I have never even wanted to have my own family... ever. So to sign up to a life surrounded by children... well, I reckon that would have been pretty darn miserable.
So I chose the next option and headed off to university to study Accountancy.
And I loved university.... I just didn't enjoy Accountancy.
After university, came the pressure to get my professional exams. So to keep the pressure off, I studied and qualified as an Accountant. But I just didn't enjoy working as an Accountant.
I was keen to spread my wings and experience life in another country so I got a new job in finance, in The Netherlands. I loved living in The Netherlands but, still, I just didn't enjoy working in finance.
Finance, to me, always felt like I was a round peg being banged into a square hole... I just didn't fit. Yes, it opened up doors and I got to enjoy new experiences thanks to it, but it didn't change the fact (or lessen the pain) that every day I was trying to hammer myself into a place I did not feel I belonged. At the same time I couldn't see a way out.
In our family, you studied hard at school, you went to university, you found a career, you worked in that career for the rest of your life, and you lived out your retirement on the pension your career provided for you. That's how life was. That's what was expected of you. That's how you made everyone proud.
But that's not what made me happy or feel fulfilled.
Rather it made me feel empty and lost. I felt there was something wrong with me because I didn't comfortably or naturally fit into the mold that had been created for me, that I was expected to squeeze into.
There's a quote from Shannon L Adler: "One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others want you to be, rather than being yourself". And every day I stayed in finance I was chalking up more and more regrets. But at the same time I didn't know how to get out, what else I could do, or how to break the mold...
... Until my body took control and I fell sick, really sick. My body provided me with the perfect excuse to extract myself from the suffocating mold that was encasing me.
Because my health was at stake, it felt like I had been given the green light to walk away from how life should be, what I was expected to be and become. My body had given me a very real and very legitimate 'get out' clause which I grabbed.
But I often wonder... why did I have to wait for my body to fall apart before being myself?
Why did I spend so many years trying to be someone I wasn't just because of the weight of expectation that lay on my shoulders?
There is such a fear of breaking away from what others expect from us because there's a fear of leaving a life that is deemed safe, to tread a path that is unknown and much less traveled.
I'm sharing this now with you because I have found myself right back in that place of 'being what others want me to be' and the pressure/fear is immense. Pressure, not necessarily from those around me who, genuinely and honestly, only want the best for me and want me to choose the safe option, the option that is familiar to them.
But pressure I am putting on myself and fear that is deep-rooted inside of me.
Pressure not to rock the boat... again.
Fear that if I stride out on my own and not follow family protocol, that I'll fail... again.
So what do I do?
What can I do?
There's only one answer to that.
Either I crumble under the pressure and fear, and I make every attempt to return to the world of finance that I know and that made me so miserable. Or I have faith and trust that the universe has my back. And I strive forwards.
Although it would leave me miserable, the easy option would be to return to finance and step back into the family mold. Keep everyone else happy and feeling safe, but not being true to myself and not doing the work I truly feel I am here to do; not living my life's purpose. I cannot tell you how tempting that option is. So tempting I can taste its bitter sweetness.
Faith and trust are not my strong points. It's something I have been working on and practising as I develop a stronger and closer relationship with the angels and Source energy. But, still, it's far from second nature to me.
However, I feel I'm standing on a cliff edge. I have the choice of retreating and staying safe, or I have the choice of jumping and trusting that I will fly (or the angels catch me). And I know the latter is the option I'm being encouraged to take.
But do I have the guts to take that leap?
The wise words of the amazing Mary Angelou have come into my mind as I write this. She said "If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know just how amazing you can be".
Here's the thing... what if I take that leap? What if I go all out and follow, what I believe, is my life's path? What if I take that leap of faith and trust that the angels will carry me forward?
What's the worse that will happen? It simply won't work out and I'll have to find an alternative to pay the bills.
But what's the best that can happen? I can help people, I can inspire others, I can give healing (in many forms) to those who need me, I can help make this a better world.
If it were you, which option would you choose? Would you be the person everyone else wants you to be? Or would you just be you?