“There’s a point when you start to wonder whose life it is when people are making all the decisions for you. You don’t know if you’re living your life.” He didn’t mean for it to impact me the way it did, we were just talking about tattoos while he was pouring my coffee when he said it. He placed the cup on the counter, shrugged, and smiled before continuing to ask about my study abroad plans as if he hadn’t just made such a monumental impact on my life and way of thinking. Whose life is it?
From the day we’re born, we’re told what to do. Whether it’s by your parents, doctors, teachers; you’re given a “right” and “wrong” list of things to do in your life. Even when people start to let you do your own thing, you’re never truly doing your own thing because you’re doing what you know is the right thing. Everyone has a different version of what is right and what is right because of the way we were raised and who raised us. So, why did it take me so long to realize that? Why did it take a barista at a coffee shop to bring it up over a tattoo for me to open my eyes?
It’s because the unknown is scary. It’s scary to wake up and not have someone telling you where to be and when. It’s hard to adjust to someone handing you a problem without any instructions on how to fix it. We don’t care whose life we’re living because we’re so terrified of the alternative. We’re scared to take charge of our own lives because we know how easy it is to screw up. So, we decide that it’s so much easier to just listen to what everyone else wants us to do because they did it once, they must be right.
College is about getting out of that mindset. It challenges you to challenge yourself. You’re thrown into the middle of the problem that is life without instructions because there are no instructions. Instead, there are decisions and consequences that come with those decisions. College is terrifying because there’s nothing to cling onto anymore and maybe that’s the best part about it. Maybe it’s exactly what freshmen need to get them in touch with the real world.
There’s a point when you have to stop wondering whose life it is and realize it’s yours for the taking. You need to start living your life.