From the mundane to the momentous, choices of varying degrees shape and mold our daily lives. Eventually the culmination of substantial accumulation takes hold and we must deal with the totality of our decisions.
There was a specific period in my life in which I made several choices that steered me in a wayward direction. Eventually I came to a point of clarity through the help of mental mindfulness and an altered mindset. It wasn’t easy, however, and this juncture needed time to develop.
In my high school days, I would not have considered myself a math person. I was adequate at arithmetic laden courses such as physics and trigonometry but there was no burning passion to be found in the recesses of my heart and mind. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed my English and writing courses. I felt meaning and reason in the words that I wrote and read. And I felt happiness in the fabric of personal achievement.
For some reason, though, I decided to steer my life into another vector. I chose to apply to engineering programs because I felt it was the decision to be made in the scope of necessity and eventual wealth. But as any disgraced miser would say, money isn’t everything.
I didn’t follow my passion.
I experienced more of the same in college. I excelled in the few writing courses that I chose to take but I surrounded myself with calculations instead of words. Clearly, it didn’t take my long to realize that engineering wasn’t right for me. I felt restricted mentally and creatively so I decided to shift into another direction. So what was the next logical step to foster my creative mind? Finance, of course.
The main impetus behind this decision was the same faulty premise that I held in the years prior. I felt that the prospect of money and wealth conquered the opportunity to be a writer, at least in the framework of academic study. The voices around and in my head told me that STEM degrees were the only means to future and secure wealth. Going to school for creative writing or an English degree would seem foolish, or at least I thought. I fell victim to shameful doubt.
I didn’t follow my passion.
I didn’t follow my passion.
Before I knew it, I had become another cog in the corporate machine. Apathy and contradiction were my rulers. I didn’t care about the banalities of the corporate man but I didn’t make any effort to change my trajectory. Life was colored drab and painted meaningless. I felt like an obsolete tool when I pondered my place in life. I didn’t complain to my superiors because I felt I was just doing what I “had to do.”
Regrettably, my problems remained entirely invisible but they held genuine merit. Eventually my discontent bled into my daily life outside of work. I didn’t have the energy to pursue activities that I once cherished. I was constantly tired. I didn’t have any motivation to exercise. I couldn’t even find solace on the weekend because my mind was preoccupied thinking about the bleakness of the upcoming workweek. Suffice to say, my mental health needed to be addressed.
A thought started to form in my head towards the end of my time in the traditional corporate world. Why should I give everything I have to a company? Why should I sacrifice my wellbeing, my mental acuity, and my emotional livelihood? With any job there is an exchange of monetary value and time but my problems seemed to run deeper than that notion. The vein that coursed through my psyche and lifeline was pinched and it was begging for some respite. There needed to be a reallocation of my personal resources.
Vision analysis and recognition of my mental health was my means of escaping the path that I set into motion. I realized that these concepts were more intertwined than I once thought.
A cogent vision is an absolutely necessary part of fulfillment and wellbeing. It is by no accident that the most well renowned individuals in history achieved such lofty heights. It would be foolish to think that Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey didn’t spend ample amounts of time formulating end goals and overarching visions of what they wanted to achieve. They formulated their plans and held those plans sacrosanct regardless of naysayers and impediments.
At best, my old vision was underdeveloped and partially misguided. The foundation was flawed and my premise was mistaken because I thought that present suffering in the name of future wealth was best means to success and eventual happiness. Essentially, I fell victim to the popular mindset of the corporate warrior trope in which years are spent working for a less than ideal 9-5 job in exchange for secure and eventual retirement.
But what if the suffering could be feasibly eschewed in favor of happiness in the present and future? Hardship is something that we must all deal with regardless of predicament and profession, but that should not be confused with superfluous mental suffering. I needed to adjust my vision so that I could allocate my time in a capacity that brought me wealth, not at the expense of, but along with happiness and a healthy mental wellbeing.
I realized that I shouldn’t cull my passions for writing and reading. Instead I embraced my strengths and interests and I used them to pivot to a new career as a writer. Upon leaving my previous job, I felt instantaneous relief and I knew that I had made the correct decision. A world that was once gloomy and predictable became exciting once again.
Thus, the relationship between my mental health and overall health was established. It only makes sense though. If life is to be perceived through the lens of the individual mind, then maladies of the connecting body and mind are sure to affect the experience. Bodies are not mere vessels for our minds. The two are but one collective entity. I am my physical self but I am also my thoughts and experiences.
At the peak of my dissatisfaction, my saturnine moods directly influenced my all encompassing health. By taking a risk and following my passion, my mental health and overall outlook on life improved infinitely.
I must live with my past choices but that doesn’t mean I cannot learn from my past mistakes. Instead of burying my apprehensions, I chose to embrace the signals I previously ignored. In the name of overall wellbeing, I made a change in my life. It is too early to say if my latest momentous decision is the correct one but at least I can say I’m proud of my trajectory. Ultimately, “What’s past is prologue,” and I can decisively say that I am now following my passion.