Creating the Life We Want


When I think about my life now, where I am and what I’m doing and just generally the state of my existence, it becomes clear to me that I’ve created it. I have very intentionally built for myself the life I want, and at no time is that more apparent than when I think back on my most difficult decisions.

I do believe there are things beyond our control, absolutely. When bad things happen there sometimes truly aren’t any good choices; there are only lesser evils and rocks and hard places. Sometimes there are tragedies. Sometimes there are things we can’t even believe are happening.

I don’t believe in fate. I do believe that sometimes we have to slog through shit to get to sunshine. I do believe that hardship can make us stronger. I do believe that beauty can come from heartbreak. I believe in chance. I believe in chaos. But I also believe in choice.

And choice, at the crux of it, is what allows us to create the life we want.

It can be indescribably difficult sometimes, to follow through with our desires. For me, the main push-back comes from intangible societal pressures. I don’t want to care what others think about me, but holy crap do I ever. I really care. I want people to like me. (Why is that made into such a despicable sentiment? Doesn’t everyone want to be liked?) More importantly, I want people to respect me – or at least accept my choices. The problem, then, arises when what I want isn’t what society wants me to want, and I must overcome that natural instinct and step beyond its draw.

Two decisions stand out to me as the hardest and most life-altering I’ve had to make so far. Without getting into two very long and emotional stories, those were: 1) to graduate early in order to move cities and live with my boyfriend (now husband), and 2) to use the inheritance when my dad died to stay home and write fulltime instead of taking the job offer I received for a position at an advertising agency.

It would be difficult to explain how tortured I was in making those decisions. I had to stand up under the weight of so much societal pressure it’s a wonder I didn’t simply crack. I still have to stand sometimes. How often have people asked me about getting “a real job,” or called me a “stay at home wife”? Even right now; I’ve just deleted 500 words of explanation for each of those choices. I deleted them because I don’t need to justify why I chose what I chose. I shouldn’t need to defend what’s important to me, because it’s my life, not anyone else’s.

I believe in choosing the life we want. I believe in making it happen. Because of that (and more than a little happenstance), today I have a spouse I love, a beautifully healthy relationship, my dream job, and I’m exquisitely happy. So happy it feels almost illegal, like I shouldn’t be allowed this. But I chose it. Yes, some of it was luck. Some of it was chance. Some of it was completely beyond my control. But some of it, my friends, was choice.

Not all choices are so weighty. There are choices that we must re-choose over and over again. Each time I get a rejection for a short story and send it back out, I’m choosing to be a writer. I’m choosing to keep pursuing a goal. I’m constantly creating the life I want. We all are. We can acknowledge things beyond our control, but we can also employ the things that are within our reach. It’s never too late to start, to change, to redesign the structure of your desire and make the choices that fulfill it.

What was the last decision you made to help create the life you want? Is it time to make another?

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