If you would have asked me ten years ago about the type of life I wanted to live, I believe I would have stared at you blankly. Who at eighteen truly knows what type of life he or she wants to live. Maybe some do, but for me my only thought ten years ago was Louisiana State University. I knew I had to be in Baton Rouge and experience a bigger city and walk the sidewalks along the oak filled Highland Road. That was the extent of my future. That is all I knew at the time.
My thoughts have circled around choices the last few weeks. About how we make the decisions that we make. And why we spend our days doing what we do. And if we have the power to choose the life that we want. Or does life somehow make the choices for you. And if a power does exist do people know they have this power. The power to choose.
It was a Saturday afternoon and I was en route to my small town. The small town that raised me. The small town that gave me values. The same small town where I spent my first eighteen years of life. I get why people may feel indifferent about reunions. I do. You walk into a room with people who you haven’t seen in years. You have changed. Or maybe you haven’t. They have changed. Or maybe they haven’t. Same smiles. Same memories. Yet, you walk into the room that is your past. Past friendships and past relationships and past memories. Stepping back to the place you were ten years ago. Who truly wants to spend their Saturday night that way? Apparently I did a few weeks ago.
We arrived in town a few minutes before Saturday mass was to begin. In the last ten years many things have changed in my life, but seeing at least one of my family members in the last pew at church has always been a constant. It is one those aspects I look forward to when I come home. That pew and that spot. We slid into the last pew joining my mom and celebrated mass for the next hour. Afterwards, it was time to see friends I hadn’t seen in quite some time.
Now I could give you the details from that night. The venue. The decorations and tables. The food. The people. Downtown. Minimal. Delicious. Grown. But, there was so much more that stood out to me that Saturday night. So much more than past memories and catching up on our current lives. As I walked up the dimly lit stairs and opened the door into the venue, all I could think about were the choices I have made. And the choices of those around me.
College. Kids. Career. Family. Travel. Marriage. Freedom. Life. Happiness. We all “want” differently in life. That is the truth of the matter. What drives us to do what we do will be different for each of us. Everyone wants differently. Different aspirations. Different timing. Different lifestyles. No comparison. No competition. Just the realization that each of us is meant to do and live and accomplish differently in our lives. Success is uniquely defined to each individual. That is what I took back from that Saturday night.
As for as me and my choices… It is a daily want in my life. A daily pursuit of the life I want to lead. And we all have that power. The power to choose. We have the power to take action and do something with our lives. As an individual, you have to want it. You have to pursue it. Nobody is going to force life on you. And I pray nobody chooses life for you. They would be robbing you of all the experiences where you learn about you and who you are and what you are capable of doing. Determined. Creative. Anything. You have to want life and want to live and want to do something with the days you have in this world. You have to wake every day and be motivated. You have the freedom to decide the choices in your life regardless of family or friends or what society wants for you. Living for others will never satisfy you the way that living for your own purpose ever will.
When you wake every morning and see that smiling face of yours back in the mirror, are you the person you want to be? Are you happy? Are you where you need to be? Are you taking steps each day to make this life yours? And if you aren’t, are you willing to sacrifice to get yourself the life you deserve? The life you have always dreamed of. Those were the questions on my mind the last few weeks. Those were the questions that I walked away with that night. And those are the questions I leave you today.