Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Your Own Place

My parents grew up in the same city. Over the years I repeatedly heard their fond memories and tons of remember-when stories. My view of that same location is different from that of my parents. The same place where they've seen a pleasant backdrop to their coming-of-age story, I see pain and loss. 

The place my family loves and loves visiting is one that is has become increasingly difficult for me to return. They are flooded with nostalgia and longing; I feel anxiety and heartache. They perceive their beloved hometown as a breath of fresh air; I find it difficult to breathe. I tried convincing myself to experience the city in the same light as my family. I thought it would be easier to comply and not rock the boat. What I had to learn, despite any misunderstanding or pressure—whether intentional or not—is that I am not required to thrive in the same places as others.

You were not designed to live out your success story in the same place as others. It is possible for an identical situation—a career choice, a marital status, the decision to become a parent, a location, etc.—to produce very different, even opposite outcomes. An ideal position for one can be toxic for you. What can bring about the perfect circumstances for someone to flourish can siphon the oxygen from your dreams. The same city that tugs my family's heartstrings has broken mine.

Don’t force your experiences, talents, skills, and life story into someone else’s expectations or shadow. You have your own path and it was designed specifically for you. How, where, or when others thrive is not a predictor of your future. You were created to thrive in your own way, on your own time, and in your own place.

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