If you think about it in the simplest form, it is you that is breathing and it is you that is thinking, moving your body, speaking your words, putting food in your mouth… ultimately it is you who is deciding to make a choice. (Or not make one) What I am trying to elaborate here is the opportunity one has in determining one’s own life path. Now, I understand that geographical and even cultural differences make my earlier statements a little more complicated. But everyone has the potential to retake their life from whatever is holding them back. It could take a moment, it could take a few years depending.
In my case, it is coming to terms with the fact that I am 21. And although there are days where I can’t believe it, I am also an adult. The only thing I can’t do is basically rent a car. (You need to be 25 in Ontario apparently) What’s interesting in life in Canada is that this is a country of opportunity and thankfully there is little restraint on these opportunities if you are a Canadian citizen. I was thinking the other day that I’m actually really lucky to be born here, rather in the hundreds of other countries and alternate dimension scenarios.
In my case, however, there is a culture barrier that has little to do with my Canadian citizenship and more to do with my Italian heritage. Family is an important concept for Italians.(Although the same rings true with many other heritages, I’m sure) There are some who value blood to an extent that they feel as though they can’t place trust in anyone who doesn’t belong to the family. It’s nice, though, to have the knowledge that there are people I can fall back on. For example, if I were to show up, unannounced, out of the blue, at a random aunt’s or cousin’s house in Italy, I would be guaranteed food and a place to stay for an undetermined amount of time. Yet, in ways I have come to realize, that this importance and significance placed on family can also be a little limiting.
I had a conversation with my lovely mother not too long ago and she asked me if I enjoyed hanging out with my parents. I said yes, which is true, but that it can also be very exhausting, which is also true. There are expectations to be met, there are certain standards to reach. Although there is love and support there is also the quieted expectation that I should succeed, or utilize the opportunities that are provided to me. And this is fair, don’t get me wrong, however its also incredibly stressful.
There are a lot of choices, and I know and have met people who are afraid of these choices because they are afraid of the consequences of failure. There’s the disappointment to deal with, and with me there is also the dreaded possibility of disappointing my parents. In a way, I feel this limiting me.
What if I wanted to ditch school, drop out and join a family of goat farmers? I love goat cheese, I’d love to be apart of the business of making goat cheese. Or, what if I wanted to be a travelling temp? What if I just spent my life cruising the world, taking on whatever job I can find (teaching, bar tending…etc)? Are these ideas or choices acceptable?
Retaking responsibility over my life means coming to terms with the idea that I am the one who is breathing, I am the one who is speaking, moving, making decisions… and there’s only one chance to shape my own life because I don’t believe in reincarnation. Would I have to go against family to follow my own desires? It’s a fear that I’m beginning to realize, and it grows stronger as I slowly reach graduation.