“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” These words from Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken‘ were part of my readings in high school, but little did I know the profound impact they would have in my life and how they’d sum up my core thoughts as a single 20-something adult. Sometimes, I don’t really feel like admitting that I am now officially in my late 20s and single by choice. But ultimately, I have no regrets. Here’s what I’ve learned, and how I changed for the better, while following along on my path:
1. Expand your inner-circle
Until a couple of months ago, I was happy living in my own space with a decent job, active professional lifestyle, and a monotonous personal life. Though people would consider me an extrovert professionally, I’m quite an introvert in my personal life. But these days, I’ve learned how important it is grow my friendships. I have taken up the initiative to slowly explore new horizons. By taking paint nights, going to the gym and hiking, I’ve made a lot of new friends who share my interests. I’ve also found that more girls’ nights out keep me more engaged than staying in my own comfort-laden cocoon.
2. Mellow down
It’s hard to imagine that once upon a time, I was so hot-headed and short-tempered. Now, I feel I have mellowed down my emotions and care a little less about things that don’t mean the end of the world. As I’ve matured, I’ve gotten more empathetic, too. That’s helped me to not sweat the small stuff and learn to relax.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others
I don’t try hard to impress people and I still feel confident about who I am. But Facebook continuously drowns me in pictures of friends enjoying their marital bliss, some sending their first kid to school or having their second kid, and I’ve started to second-guess myself. While my friends from undergrad were getting married, I was stubborn about getting my first masters degree. While my contemporaries who had finished their masters were getting married, I felt I wanted to do my second masters degree and get a step closer towards my career aspirations.
I am still proud of the choices that I have made in my life, though some haven’t yielded the expected results. But, I would strongly say, do things that bring you happiness. Even though you might feel the pinch in the short term, it will pay off in the long run. So, stop comparing your life with others. Keep the naysayers at bay, and this applies to anyone who tries to demoralize you or poke at your individuality and aspirations. Having goals in your life is not a sin, but something you should feel proud of.