Expectation, judgement, fear, social norms, doubt, shamers, haters, trolls, perfection. They are the confines through which this world can become a prison. We are constantly bombarded by unrealistic and unattainable expectations of what our lives are supposed to look like to the point that our own minds become our worst enemy. Society tells us we must have money, we must have the title, we must have the status or we are not successful. We are not productive. So we work and we slave away trying to find meaning in whatever job affords us the liberty of not getting “the look” when we tell someone what we do to make ends meet. Then, when we’ve gotten there. When we’ve found fulfillment and an acceptable salary, society stares down its nose again and asks us “At what cost? When were you with your friends? When did you last see your parents? Have you traveled the world? These are the things that truly matter.” So we change direction again and steer into the path of love, family, and adventure and we report our findings and happiness and society, unmoved and unaffected, looks us in the eye with it’s judgmental stare and calls us lazy.
So then, we chase the impossible dream of work-life balance and report back to the powers that be that we spend exactly 40 hours per week working and the rest is spent on us, with family, with our friends. Cooking meals, having adventures, pursuing hobbies that we once loved but now honestly barely have the energy to enjoy. To this society says “But when did you workout? You have to do that thirty minutes a day you know. And what meals are you cooking? Are they healthy/delicious/responsibly sourced/gluten, gmo, meat, dairy, and egg free? Are you eating enough? Are you eating too much? Are you having children? You have to but you won’t raise them right. You must practice self-care but when you do it you’re selfish. You must be involved with politics but you’re almost certainly on the wrong side. You have to give back through charitable work but the charity you’re donating your hard earned time and money to probably sucks. And despite all the duplicity and negativity you slave away anyway trying to be the best and most valuable member of society you can possibly be and you tell society, you tell yourself, that even though you’re only sleeping three hours every other night, you’ve done it all…to which society replies “you must get a full eight hours of sleep every night to truly be healthy.”
Then, you snap. Because you realize finally with bleeding knuckles and bags under you eyes (which how dare you, by the way, look tired?) that you cannot keep up. That no matter how much you do, how much of yourself you give, it will never be enough and there in that moment, that release…that’s where it all gets better. When you release yourself of the judgment of Internet trolls, fake friends, and well-meaning though utterly soul-crushing family members. You release yourself of the fear of not doing what you love because if you have to do it why can’t you love it? You release yourself of that little voice in the back of your mind that parrots all the societal/social/personal judgement you’ve accumulated over a life time and you just say “screw it” and live you’re you because society is going to hate it either way and it’s too much damn work to try to please it.
There’s no reason to wait. Don’t get to the end of your rope before you cut yourself free because there’s no reason to be hanging on when soaring is so exhilarating. And when that little voice voice tells you that you don’t have wings, that maybe you’ll grow them tomorrow but today you’re stuck right here in a prison of expectation’s making, you tell that voice that flying is just falling with style and let go.