I’ve been doing some self reflection as of late, and one major theme emerged as I sifted through my memories.
Apathy – 1: lack of feeling or emotion: impassiveness 2: lack of interest or concern: indifference
The theme probably started when I was in high school. I had friends of convenience, meaning, people who sat together at lunch and hung out after school because our houses were close together, did we really share things in common aside from same school, same neighborhood, similar circumstances? Probably not.
I had accepted this as the norm and didn’t see the need to expand on my social circles, my fault, as I was never extroverted and was quite self conscious. I was always a great listener. The friend you could tell all your secrets to and nod. I felt as though I never had a voice.
So, at the time, apathy became a way I dealt with things because the focus that was demanded of me was good grades and the same theme carried over to my university years. Except, then, things began to fall apart.
My friends all left for different places, while I stayed in the same place.
I had two choices in schools, and my parents told me which one to do.
I couldn’t live on campus because of financial hardship.
The same commute everyday, eating up three hours of my time to and back from school.
The same lecture halls with the same strangers I never bothered to know.
Apathy, whether it was a B grade or an F, that’s how it went, it was how I was.
It was then I felt pointless, extremely unmotivated by the fact that it seemed – things never changed for me. The promises of college being this GREAT experience fell flat of what little expectation I had. At first, I began blaming my ultra conservative parents who didn’t believe in the same things I did. I began to retreat into my own world of indifference, while the world spun indifferently, and that didn’t seem to change until very recently, I was so sick of the formula of life that was imposed:
Birth -> School -> Get a job -> Work -> Die.
It was as if I had lived before my time, but at the same time, I was so inexperienced I didn’t know what life was.
That was until December 2012, when I decided I had enough of this state of existence and planned my first trip to Europe alone. I didn’t know, at the time it would be the best decision I’d ever make, at the time I just knew I need to finally do something for myself, something I’d actually like.
Then I told my parents – except they’d called my plan, frivolous – useless in the sense it was a waste of money – just like that one German class I took in university – but then, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter how many fights ensued afterwards with them, but I was an adult and they’d needed to acknowledge that.
So the first solo trip happened and at first I was scared, but at the end I was more than glad.
It was as if I had learned more about myself in those two weeks traveling alone, than I had five years staying in the same place. Being away from home showed me just how big the world truly is – and that there were so many good memories to be made.
I wish I had realized this sooner – that the world was bigger than the city I live in, that I could be on my own elsewhere, and that other peoples’ opinion (even those of your parents, or loved one) shouldn’t stand in the way of you and your happiness. Sometimes, you just got to stand up for yourself in order to make your life meaningful. If they’re onboard and supportive that’s great, however, if they aren’t, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue what you truly want. It is up to you to find ways to make your dreams come true!