Living in the city, there are times I miss my daily drive to and from school/work. In the years before I moved in to the city, the time I spent in my car was how I dealt with things – it was the only time I had alone most of the time and it was one of the few times I felt in control.
In the last couple of weeks, every time I’ve spent time with a couple of close girlfriends, I’ve fallen apart at the end. I completely lost track of how overwhelmed I’d been feeling and really let my life get out of my control.
So I went for a drive.
I drove to my old neighborhood in Virginia. I drove on the roads where many phone conversations happened back when my life was in chaos. People always say “Man, if these walls could talk…”
For me, it’s the road.
So I cleared my head. During that drive, I didn’t think about anything that’s happening in my life now. None of the decisions I’m making, none of the questions I had in my mind – none of it.
All I did was drive.
I felt in control.
It’s amazing how easy it is for control to slip out of your hands. No one tells you that one of the hardest things you’ll have to do is stay in control of your life because people will meddle. People will continue to have pissing contests all around, and sometimes, on you. You will want to take care of others, letting yourself slip – at all times.
Because there are people you love and sometimes, the number of people you love grows and you find yourself starting to consider the feelings of everyone around you for every single decision you make about your life.
So you stop wanting to make decisions. Because it will, inevitably, somehow hurt someone in your life.
So I stopped.
But you can’t just stop making decisions. Your life moves forward with or without you and once you start avoiding the decisions, no matter how hard, you start avoiding your life.
During my drive, I remembered the girl I used to be. I thought back to what my life was like, and how it just kept spiraling out of control.
The only time my life started making sense was when I learned to be a little selfish (though there are people who will argue that I’ve always been a selfish bitch).
See, we can’t all be selfless all the time. There has to be a balance and my best friends tell me this all the time but it’s hard when the noise never stops. It’s difficult to put yourself first when you can’t stop thinking about how everyone else in your life is doing at any given moment.
But you have to. I had to.
The day I made the decision to take control of my life, no matter how scared I was, was the day I began to grow up.
People will get hurt because you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Some people will refuse to understand why you decided one thing over an another. Because they’re not in your head, and they don’t see the pain in your heart.
After my drive, I made a decision. One that would be hard for some people in my life to understand and I knew that there would be attempts to talk me out of it.
Once I allowed myself to verbalize my decision, I felt back in control. Being in control of your life will mean that there will be people who disagree with your decisions. Those who truly love you will let you know why they disagree but they will continue to be by your side because they will trust that you have a reason for the path you’ve chosen.
As long as you don’t continue on a path of self-destruction.
Growing up means when the shit hits the fan, and you’re cleaning up the mess, you’ll learn the lessons necessary to move forward. It doesn’t mean you won’t mess up and you won’t make the wrong decisions at times. It just means you have to be true to yourself.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned about being a grown-up?
No one can live your life but you.
Take accountability for your actions, take control of your life and remember that sometimes, it’s OK to be a little selfish.