I’m currently reading a book by Oprah (Winfrey in case anyone wondered… 😂). If I remember correctly it’s called “What I know for sure”. It’s not at all a self help book, but it motivates me to consider whether I’ve made the right choices… Like – am I where I want to be at this stage and age? Did I follow my dreams, or have I mostly done what was expected from me?
I think so many of us make choices based on expectations, traditions and logical reflections. I feel lucky to have made some choices I know are based on my own heart and gut feeling, but I know I have made my share of other choices based on what was expected of me.
I had an aunt, my fathers oldest sister. She was fabulous and so glamorous in so many ways. She lived in New York for more than a decade. She studied to be and worked as a physical therapist in the big apple. She would travel and hang out with friends from across the world, send us exclusive gifts and I remember her always serving the grownups the cosmopolitan drink, Manhattan when she visited us and my grandmother on our small island, Stord. When she moved back to Norway in – I think it must have been around the mid 70s, she studied in Oslo to become a doctor. Later on she became a psychiatrist. She had boyfriends, but she never married and had children. She was glamorous in a somewhat eccentric way, running her bike with painted toenails in high heeled sandals, even during the winter. She loved to wear her long masculine raincoats, and completing her outfits with one of her numerous Hermes silk scarves. I imagine her colleagues either loved or hated her. She was special… In both good and bad ways, to be quite honest. But she was my aunt and we had a close relationship all the way up until I became a mother and had my own family to tend to.
One of my clearest recollections from our conversations, was when I had to make a decision I have later come to recognise as a defining moment for me.
I can’t remember how old I was, but I think up until I was around twenty, I always wanted to work as an air stewardess. I know it’s “every girls dream” at a certain age, but I really wanted this, and I do think it was in my blood. I loved to travel, I went to London with my cousin when we were 13 – loving the fact that we were allowed to travel by ourselves (we were staying with one of my mother’s closest friend – relax, they weren’t that crazy!). I went to visit my beloved family in Michigan when I was 15 – loving the travelling part this time as well. I still get this excited feeling when I travel by plane. Oh, yey! 😁 Anyway, I got a job as an air stewardess with Gulf Air. (I must have been around 20-21). Of course I should grabbed the opportunity, but I had promised my mother to help her out with her shop at the time, and I really wanted that too! But my aunt was astonished. I remember she said to me that this was going to be my path in life (sorry, I don’t know if you can even say that in English, but that’s what she said). She told me she was so disappointed that I was becoming a grown woman, and not able to see and know what was best for me. She was convinced I had made such a big mistake – that the choice I had made was based on the feeling of obligations to help my mother out, and not on what was best for me. Maybe she was right – I’ll never know, but I don’t go around regretting my mistakes, it’s such a waste of time 🙃
But – I am so glad she said that to me!
I thought about it a lot then, and I think a lot about it now.
She made me so aware how important it is to stay true to yourself. She made me realise it’s not easy always to know what’s best for yourself, but if you search, you will find….😉
She made me aware of how important it is for me to pass this on to my girls. I’m grateful to her for this, although it feels strange to idealise her – she really wasn’t that good with her family-relations, but that’s a different story…. Anyway, I want to pay this forward to my girls – actually I want to pass it on to anyone.
I think we spend way too much time making choices based on what is expected of us. At home, at work, in our social life, in most aspects of our lives. And maybe that feels right for you, but if you’re not sure, take some time to consider or reconsider, before you make your choice. To be able to really do that, you have to be able to think, fast and slow…. (I strongly recommend Daniel Kahneman’s book, if you want to learn some more about that!).
Think, consider and reconsider. And if you want to make some changes? It’s never ever too late! You can start the planning process today already! 😍
Lots of luck to you!
And peace & love of course….