Taking the road less travelled is a hard thing to do, and can sometimes be really risky. I mean, there’s a reason that it’s called the road less travelled; everyone else is sticking to the sign posts, tour guides and advice of others (have I beat this metaphor to death yet or nah?). So that alternative unknown pathway can be scary and not always the right decision.
But I wanted to talk today about a time I had chosen to take the risky route in life, a time when I’d gone against the advice of others. This should go without saying, but obviously there are times when you should really take on board the knowledge and guidance of others around you, especially if they’re people you trust/people with experience/etc. But there are some moments in life when you have to know yourself better than anyone, really know yourself deep down inside; and know what the best decision for YOU is. I’m talking about listening to your gut.
If you’re making a really big life decision; I wholeheartedly believe you should consider all the factors and give it as much thought as possible. But I don’t think enough people take their own intuition into account as much as they should. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with what other people think you should do, or list the positives and negatives of a situation with logic and distance.
But what about that little voice at the back of your mind? What about the pit of your stomach warning yourself not to do something?
Let me put you in a scenario: You’re at University and you hate it. You’ve swapped courses already, in the hopes you’d start to love it doing something different, but you’re still miserable. You’ve done two years of studying, you have no job, no other prospects, no other choice it seems. Yet you’re thinking about quitting. Everyone tells you not to, explicitly. Everyone tells you how much you’ll regret it, they point out that you don’t have a backup plan, and they tell you it’s just ONE MORE YEAR until you’re done anyway. All valid points, and many a good argument made.
So, what do you do?
Look, there’s no right answer here, and I’m certainly not about to tell everyone they should quit something if they don’t like it. HELLS NO. However… this was my own scenarios a few years ago, and you guessed it; I decided to quit University anyway. No job, no prospects, no plan, no support from anyone really… and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
My biggest reason for leaving was a simple but scary one to justify; it just didn’t feel right.
Something in my heart said nope, and I listened.
I knew logically I could have stuck it out and I was taking a huge risk, but happiness is always the most important thing to me in life. As someone who has watched multiple people around me suffer from severe depression since I was a little girl, I make happiness an important priority. I’ve seen that having money, love, a career or success can mean nothing in the face of a chemical imbalance in the brain. I have seen depression ruin lives and relationships, and I’ve seen it not taken seriously enough. I have lost people, way too early. I think it’s because of these experiences, that I count myself incredibly lucky to have not suffered from depression. I don’t take it for granted. I am so lucky to not have something like that, that debilitates my life in any way. So I don’t want to be my own cause for draining myself of any ounce of happiness for any single day I get on this earth. My time may be short, so I want to make the most of any second I get.
So while it may have seemed like JUST ONE MORE YEAR to everyone else; the thought of it suffocated and terrified me more than I could say. I left University and felt free. I immediately got any job I could just to pay the bills, and I started to really think about what I wanted to do with my future. It took a long time, but I gave myself the freedom to become who I am now. I improved my skills, I relaxed, I travelled, I let myself make mistakes and learn from them. I started my own small business, and I now get to create for a living. I get paid to do something I LOVE. I live a very happy life, and I don’t for one second regret not staying to wear a gap and gown and get a piece of paper to say that I did something. My life speaks for itself; I did something else, I’m doing something now, and I’m incredibly happy.
So I’d love for others out there to know, it’s not always a bad thing to stray from the crowd. It’s so important to listen to your own heart, battle self doubt and do whats right FOR YOU. It’s scary and I definitely can’t promise that it will always be the right decision; but if you get to know yourself well enough, trusting your gut will lead you to the right place more often than not.
Plus, on those times when things DO work out for the best; it’s fucking great to prove people wrong.
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