"Two roads diverged in a wood and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
and that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost
I Did It My Way
Remember those junior high days, when everyone had the same haircut and we all wanted to be clones of the coolest kids in class? While you've (hopefully) outgrown that conformity phase and developed a stronger sense of identity, chances are - if you're like most people - you still make certain decisions based on what other people would do, or what they might think of you if you take a different path. It doesn't mean that you're weak or easily influenced; we are social creatures by nature and it's a human need to "belong". We certainly wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize our standing in society, or, more specifically, gain disapproval from our friends and family. But if we're too concerned with fitting in and doing what everyone else thinks we should, we are no longer living our own life. We become puppets, unable to assert ourselves or find our real niche in life.
Part of being adult is making our own decisions, and real maturity comes with the confidence that we know more than anyone what is best for us. But, you may argue, the opinions of our friends and families are important! True...but they should not dictate our lives. Sometimes we might take a route that is not just logical or obvious to others - quitting a well-paying job to return to school, for example, or choosing not to have children - but we know, deep down, it just feels right. Learn to listen to that gut instinct and make your decisions based on what YOU think. You're the one, after all, who will have to live with those decisions in the end.
by T.L. Scribe