Omar Ochoa

Restarting/Adjusting

Written on

I believe making adjustments to your life and being able to restart is a valuable skill. I had an aversion to it in my past because I mistook making life adjustments to literally starting over. And I suppose for some people, in certain phases of their life, it may very well be that.

Its hard to make a change when that means looking at important parts of your life: relationships, jobs, careers, etc. We spend years trying to work our way up the ladder in our jobs. We spend years putting in the effort pursuing a specific career. And depending on the relationship, we may spend years trying to make it work. When we come to the realization that said job, career, relationship or other situation is causing us to be unhappy - we almost want to dismiss that thought altogether. We may have even spent a lot of time telling other people how happy we were and how everything was great. We lie to ourselves a lot and likewise try to convince others. Its difficult to come to terms with the fact that you put so much effort into something only to realize that its not going the way you imagined it and in fact it is making you unhappy. You want to come to some sort of conclusion that doesn't involve you seperating from that thing completely (because doing so would, in our vulnerable mind, render all that time and effort useless).

We don't like feeling like we wasted our time. We don't like admitting we're wrong. We don't like thinking people would laugh at us or feel sorry for us. We don't want to go back to our parents' house. We dont want to ask people for help. We don't want to go back to sqaure one. So much so that most of us would rather suffer through whatever situation we find ourselves in. I've seen it many times. I've seen it in myself, I've seen it in family members, in friends, in my neighbors, at the grocery checkout counter - I see it everywhere.

I was 21 years old the first time I made a major adjustment to my life. I had a part time job I hated and I was going to University studying things I didn't want to study. I told myself I was "lucky" to have that job. I was at the university just to make my parents happy; I was the first in my family to go to some sort of higher education. They were proud and I didn't want to disappoint them.

Meanwhile, I was unhealthy (fat) and deeply sad. Up to that point I had been taught and fed ideas that the proper way of doing things was to go to College and get a job. So to my 21 year old self that didn't know any better, the idea of leaving my job and leaving the university was like throwing everything away that we aspire to in life. What else would I have left? If the purpose of life is to go to college and get a job, and I was throwing those two things away, what the hell would I be? What would be my purpose? I would be without money, without a future, and without parents (because I feared that leaving the University would anger them so much that they'd kick me out of the house). In my mind, I would have to "start over" completely - no source of income, no family, completely alone.

But its not like I was actually starting over. Its not like the time spent and experiences gained in that job and attending the university would suddenly be completely wasted. Its not like my parents would stop loving me because I stopped doing something I was unhappy with. No. I'd still be 21 with the wisdom that comes from knowing the acedemic path is not for me. I'd still be 21 with the wisdom gained from having worked at a minimum wage job I hated. I'd still be 21 with loving parents that would support me through anything. I would still be 21 with a lot to look forward to. You don't think about that when you're in the moment though. That's part of what makes it so hard when you are considering making a serious change.

It was a very confusing and tough moment in my life. I'm so glad I made the plunge. My world didn't suddenly end. My parents didn't kick me out of the house. On the contrary, my state of being improved dramatically. To this day there hasn't been many days that have felt as good as the day after I quit school and my shitty job. I no longer had to do something that made me miserable - I was now free to pursue something I actually wanted to do. It was a very valuable lesson for me.

Since then, I've been sensitive to my needs. We all know what we want. We all know when we're unhappy. There's a feeling that we get when something isn't quite right. It might be very subtle or very obvious - and we might ignore it on purpose. But the undeniable truth is that we know its there. That feeling is what was constantly nagging at me during those dark days of depression. And ever since then I've strived to listen to that feeling and stay true to myself.

I'm in a point in my life where I'm starting to get that feeling again and I know I have to make some adjustments. I have an idea of what I need to do, but I'm still in the process of writing things out in my journal and really figuring out what I want and where I'm heading. And thanks to my past experience, I know that the fear I feel right now, while real, is not as great as how I'll feel when I get back on that path.