Why It’s Okay To Take A Step Back

Forever focusing on the future can be a suffocating way to live. As much as we like to plan and prioritize tomorrow rather than yesterday, taking a step back isn’t the same as getting lost in the strides you’ve already taken. For a while now, I’ve been one to plan prematurely and follow accordingly. And yet, I recently made the decision to digress from my previously anticipated path in hopes that it would benefit me now.

Professionally, my goal was always clear and I took strategic routes to get there. Although personally, the future became a scary place to be when I began taking strides towards it. When you’re young and find yourself planning too far in advance, time melts and you get trapped in this ideal reality that has yet to happen. Add another person into the mix and that future seems untouchable.

Months ago I could tell you where I would be five years from now. I knew what I wanted in all respects. I was verbally planning far into my late twenties as if my plans were set in stone. Then, I got scared. I got frustrated with myself for allowing these years to pass in my mind and settling at the only conclusion I could come up with (not to say that that conclusion wasn’t a happy one). There was no excitement or anticipation. The youth drained out of me as I fell into a tedious routine day after day. Normativity and orderliness took control. I became dependent on others when my independence was formerly what I was most proud of.

So I made a choice, to take a step back and embrace growing up. I’m not thirty-five and I don’t have to act like it. By the age of twenty-two, you haven’t figured yourself out. Your twenties are a decade for changing and learning. I don’t have to settle in and I don’t want to. The impact of planning precisely ruins the beauty of living and I’m unwilling to give up on spontaneous adventures or courageous curiosity. I refuse to skip over my youth to settle into the life I’ll want when I’m ten years down the road.

As I said, taking a step back is okay sometimes. Giving yourself a moment to breathe is healthy. Rushing into a pre-planned, by the book future is nonsense when you know that’s not what you’re ready for. Using intuition and reflection to gain the insight you were previously pushing beneath the surface is respected. Don’t let others control where your next step takes you because when it comes down to it, you will be the only one facing in that direction.

1 Comment

  1. Patrick says: Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to write this. Your quote sums it up well here:

    “Don’t let others control where your next step takes you because when it comes down to it, you will be the only one facing in that direction.”

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