Just because they don’t understand you, doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path


shannon9

My days are numbered.

I’ve been struggling for a while now with this sinking feeling that life is changing. Friends from high school and college are all advancing their corporate careers, getting married, and having babies. In fact, some of the girls and guys I grew up with are on their second or third child already. And it really makes me wonder…

Is this really all there is to life?

The past year has been a series of life changes for me; I made the choice not to stay in LA, came back home to the Bay Area, and got a “real job,” as my parents would call it, doing marketing and no longer focusing on writing, modeling, and acting. While it leads to a much higher level of financial stability (relatively of course), I often feel like Corporate America sucks out your soul, chews it up, and spits it out. Rather than find the time to write scripts or learn lines, I find myself taking a barre class after work so my body doesn’t sink into the monotonous mush that my brain has become. I couldn’t imagine topping off a 50 hour work week with a brood of kids that need attention. I really have to hand it to the moms of the world who work multiple jobs, take care of their kids, and manage to not go insane in the process.

But I digress. The bottom line of this revelation is plainly and simply,

 I’m afraid to grow up.

During my beauty queen days, someone asked me my main goal in life during a pageant interview. I told them that I just want to be happy. I think I’m still figuring out what happiness is.

I came to the realization that the things that make me happy are typically things that we can’t do as we get older. Running around the amusement park drinking slurpees and laughing so hard until you have a stomach ache, shopping at Forever 21, bringing your stuffed animal to work (yes I still do that), and photoshoots. For my friends with kids, free time consists of packing lunches, going to Bed Bath and Beyond, and couples dinner parties at their new home in the suburbs. Sigh.

Needless to say, I’m still trying to hold onto the happiness I know, while trying to figure out what’s next to come. In terms of relationships, I feel like it’s often difficult to commit to someone when you’re not even fully committed to your own life. However the right person will always support your decisions and encourage you, no matter how ridiculous your dreams might sound. That’s when you know they’re there for the full ride.

I’m curious to hear about how you discovered your happiness and when you realized things were changing for the better. Life works in mysterious ways, and I’m hoping that someday I will look back at the jagged path and realize it was all part of a bigger plan.

Because if the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.

Photo: Deidre Fuller

6 thoughts on “Just because they don’t understand you, doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path

  1. Curious says:

    I found my happiness when I realized happiness is just an emotion, like anger, and that I could feel happy anytime I wanted to. I think too many people have this idea that happiness is this ‘thing’ to chase and either you have it or you don’t.

    I believe people who are happy are simply people who are in a state of happiness a greater percentage of their life than people who are seen as unhappy. No one is happy 24/7, we all have our ups and downs. Same as people who are angry, they’re not angry 24/7, only when something triggers that anger.

    Happiness is a feeling that can be triggered just like any other emotion. The problem is when we set up our lives in a way where those triggers are always out of reach or super hard to activate such as when we buy into the idea that we need a shit load of money and fancy toys and this many kids by this age to be happy. For some of these people, they’re always chasing happiness.

    I think babies and kids are the happiest people in the world simply because they have no expectations and don’t have any rules and standards to live up to. They can laugh at just about anything and just about anything can make them happy. As they grow up though, they’re taught this or that has to happen before they can feel good and soon enough, “this or that” becomes too much and they end up being unhappy and frustrated most of the time.

    So I think happiness lies in understanding that it’s just an emotion that we create and the easier it is for us to create it, the happier we will be and that any achievements we obtain in life is just a bonus.

    As cheesy as it sounds, if you want to add a little bit more happiness in your life, think happier thoughts.

    Just my 2 cents… or 1 cent…. I’m broke. LOL.

    • shannon says:

      I agree. I think society tries to impose a mold on what the standard for happiness should be. I guess everything is perspective; a positive one is better than an angry/negative one any day. 🙂

  2. Phil says:

    This is stance is so refreshing. Enjoy self first and the rest will follow. Why are ‘people’ so obsessed with acting like sheep and following the masses? For me kids are a ball and chain ; there’s so much to enjoy for self and with a partner that shares the same commitment of fun, and being a partner in crime, why be burdened? The world is full enough already and would I want to bring new life into this world anyway? No. So I live my life by the best of both worlds. Would be refreshing if more were ‘non conformist’! BTW, the Bed, Bath and Beyond statement was hilarious, and true!

    • shannon says:

      I totally agree. I think as long as we are happy, it doesn’t really matter what we are doing! We all have something great to contribute to this world and it’s not necessarily always the same for everyone 🙂

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