I was stuck! It was like being trapped underneath a boulder. No matter how much I struggled, no matter how much I tried to lift the weight off of me, I simply could not move. I laid there trapped for hours wondering if I’d get the strength to finally free myself or if I’d suffocate under the weight. Until, something happened. The weight seemed to dissipate and once again I could stand up.
Sometimes you set all these expectations for yourself. Sometimes the expectations are those thrust upon you by your parents. Then, as time goes on more expectations get added to the pile by your peers. You build up this existence where you start to feel as though you’re merely a puppet dancing while others are pulling the strings. At least, that’s how it’s been for me. Sitting at my desk looking at this unfulfilling laundry list of things to do that other people think are so cool but fulfill me in absolutely no way. “I DONT WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!” I silently screamed to myself with no one to talk to, no one who would understand or even care anyway.
Why am I doing this? That’s the only thing I could think of as I looked at my computer. I wasn’t sufficiently being rewarded emotionally. I wasn’t sufficiently being rewarded intellectually. I wasn’t sufficiently being rewarded socially. Did anyone important even remember my name? There was a time when I could easily answer yes to that question. I wasn’t definitely wasn’t sufficiently being rewarded financially. I asked myself, who’s expectations am I living to fulfill again? I didn’t even know but I knew they weren’t mine.
I look around this room and think how disenchanting it is to have the financial and social status that I do. I remember how I envisioned what my life would be like by now as I sat at my desk inside the United Nations, overlooking the Hudson, twenty years ago. I had plans, high hopes, and I was on the road to bring them all to life. I came to DC with a laser-focus vision. Interning at AED and working with the State Department’s Democracy and Governance unit, I knew I was were I belonged, among those who shaped society. It felt good.
Obligations had other plans, obligations to family, to motherhood, without guidance, without strength of will, I started to give up bit by bit on my vision. Doubt crept in and, although I did make some small strides along the way to find the path again, the road was too far out of sight. I could no longer see it. I could no longer even see myself on it.
I’ve been told many times throughout my life that my aspirations were unrealistic. I think over the past few years, I actually started to believe that might even be true. Why not be happy with just having a roof over my head when there were times in my life when I didn’t have a place of my own to call home? Why not be happy with any job that pays the bills? Never mind the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt and decades I spent educating myself so that I could be someone in this world.
Why do you care if you marry wealthy? Why are you so obsessed about your weight? Why do you feel the need to always be so dressed up? Why do you have to always act like you know so much more than everyone else? These and many other similar questions have been thrust upon me in an endless borage of attempts to put me in my place for as long as I can remember. Well, I’ve finally settled on the answer. I want a life that transcends my physical existence.
I work hard to be my best self. I want to be partnered with someone and surrounded by people who do the same, people who value intellect, who value health, and who understand that wealth is a key to freedom. I want to exude excellence in all things and I want to leave a mark of significance on this earth. I want to live in a community that nurtures my mind and my heart because I’ve learned that in order to get back on (and stay on) my path I need support.
As I look onward to turning 46 and having an empty nest, I’m reclaiming my life. I’m not accepting being mediocre anymore and I’m not apologizing to anyone for the steps I’m taking to course correct. Welcome to the Diane Griffin show!