Today I am a little bit angry with myself. Not because I did something wrong, but mainly because I put myself in a situation where I was sitting at a table, with six other people, none of which with I could meaningfully communicate. It’s not that I felt alone. You can’t really feel alone when you are content with yourself. But I was alone among others. Much worse, wouldn’t you agree?

That’s the problem with intellectual beings; they never stop thinking. The mind is a powerful tool and only few seem to use it.

Observing their mouths as meaningless words came out, I thought: “Is this what I really want from life? Hearing about a girl’s sex life – who, by the way, I hardly know?” A little bit of gossip never hurt anybody. Looking at my companion with a sophisticated look, pretending to be all ears about some random girl’s one-night stand, I had a flashback.

“My aspiration in life is to be happy.” My seventeen-year-old self stated looking down at her desk. It was during my Junior year in High School when I had been asked, for the very first time, what my aspiration in life was. At first, it seems like quite a simple question. Very easily understood but very difficult to be answered. I was nearly an adult by that time, yet I hadn’t really thought about what my aspirations should be as everything was already planned for me by my parents.

As expected, I would commence my studies abroad and hopefully graduate from the top university, into which I had so proudly gotten accepted – naturally with a good grade. Maybe later I would apply for a Master’s degree. And then perhaps I would find a job with a good salary. Within two or three years, maximum, I will have saved enough money to settle down.

The next step would be to look for a handsome husband. A couple of kids, of course, after that, so my parents have something to focus on when they retire from work. Aren’t all these the things that the majority of people are expected to do –and eventually do– anyway? Go to school, go to college, graduate, find a job, work till you drop, save money, find a husband, get married (or you will be considered as a spinster), have kids and then boom – your life is gone.

I remember feeling irritated with myself; I am still. This kind of thinking was –and is– simply not me, it doesn’t represent me.

My teacher asked me to repeat my statement, even louder this time. “My aspiration in life is to be happy.” I said once more and sat down. My cheeks felt warmer than ever with all this unwanted attention.

Six years later and only now have I come to realize that your one and only goal in this life should be for you to feel good with yourself – to love your life. You ought to be the designer of your own life.

I love my parents and I sincerely feel grateful for everything they have offered me. Like all loving parents, they have dreams for my progress and future. For that reason, I listen with respect to what they have to say. Just because I listen without arguing, does not necessarily mean that I agree with them, though. To this very day, if someone asks me what my aspiration in life is, I’ll give them the very same response I gave my teacher six years ago.

My priority is to be happy; single or not, well paid or not, childless or not.

I set goals and accomplish them for two main reasons. Firstly, I do it for me. I wanted to look at myself in the mirror and be like: “You did it, woman. Be proud of yourself.” Secondly, I did it so I could look at those motherfuckers’ doubting faces and force them to turn their gaze away – I had proved them once again wrong.

Don’t you know that when a person really wants something, they’ll do anything to achieve it?

To get where I am now standing, things surely didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of rearrangements, twists and turns, a lot of cursing and crying as there were times that things did not turn out the way I wanted. And as I think about it now, it’s better that things ended up this way. My journey so far has included a lot of laughter; and lots of dismissals with me cutting people off from my life as well. Not because I stopped loving them but mainly because our mutual journey had come to an end.

Yes, I’ve made many mistakes. If it wasn’t for those mistakes however, I wouldn’t be here writing this article for you to read. Trust me, I know better.

Just do what you have to do for you.

Your path might not resemble to the others’. And that is totally fine, as long as this is what makes you feel complete at the end of each day.

In order to achieve the extraordinary, not only do you have to believe that it is but to also work on it.

My aspiration in life is to be happy. What’s yours?


Author: Marianna Ioannou

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