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Helena Önneby

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Dare To Live The Life That You Want To Live

It takes courage to live a life true to oneself. The societal norm is so incredibly strong. From how we should live, what we should do for a living, what we should long for, how we should spend our vacation, what we should eat to how we should socialize. There is a template for the most things. I’m not saying the template is wrong. But I want to urge you to know if it’s right for you.

Feel into this thesis; there are no right or wrong, there are only consequences. If that were true, then there are no must’s or should’s either.

You do not have to climb the career ladder. The consequence of opting out may be that some friends raise their eyebrows or that you have a little less money to spend.

If your brain says that you should vacuum every week, think instead about whether you might prefer the consequence of a little dust rats in the corners after a while or that it tickles your nose if you are allergic.

You do not have to long for a traditional family. The consequence of not choosing it may be that you need to find new contexts to socialize in or answer curious questions from your elderly relative.

If someone says you should call that friend who always makes you feel guilty because you don’t call often enough. Maybe you prefer the consequence that they turns to someone else or is a little disappointed in you.

You do not have to eat healthy and exercise regularly and sleep 8 hours every night. The consequence if you don’t may be that you feel a little tired and over time get a little diffuse symptoms and health challenges.

Maybe you think you should pick up the kids early from preschool. Or you choose instead to work a little longer and have a less time with them before bedtime or that someone you know thinks you’re priorities are off.

All choices are okay. All consequences are okay. You are free to choose. What do you want to choose? What is important to you? If you start from what you want or need right now. What do you choose then?

For many years I lived a very conventional life, quite standard in our society. I climbed the career ladder, I drove a Volvo, I bought an apartment, I went to the pub on the weekends, I dreamed of the next sunny vacation trip. Since a few years, I have started to make different choices. Not because there was anything wrong with my previous choices but because they are no longer in line with the life I want to live, the person I want to be.

It’s not about how your life looks on the surface, it’s about how it feels to you. It’s okay to downsize and move into a van. It’s okay to quit your prosperous career and make a lot less money on what feels more meaningful. It’s okay to break up with friends who make you feel bad. It’s okay to choose to live in an open relationship. It’s okay to choose not to have children. It’s okay to say no to consumption. It’s okay to move into a collective and adopt 5 dogs. It’s okay to celebrate the divorce as big as you celebrated the wedding. It’s okay to disappoint mom and dad.

Just because it’s normal, does not mean it’s not insane.
– Eckhart Tolle

I really do not want to paint a new template at all, I want to help you skip the template altogether. There are so many ways to live a life. Only you know what’s right for you right now. That may change. That will change. And it’s not that everyone needs to jump out of the hamster wheel at the same time, but I’m convinced that if we all dared to be more true to ourselves, we would have more diversity in what we see around us and the choices we make.

If you felt completely free to choose, what would you choose?

This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

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