My birthday is in a few months. I’m turning 34.

I’ve believed that the older I got, the wiser I became. But after a recent discovery, maybe I’m not as smart as I thought?

Here’s what happened…

A few months ago, after a LONG day of menial computer tasks (you know, like copying/pasting a bajillion times), I sat and thought about my life.

hate my work

Pretty morbid but shows my exact feelings.

I was unhappy. I hated my job.

These thoughts made me think of the choices I’ve made to get to this point:

  • My childhood – Classes, friends, sports, hobbies
  • Extracurricular activities – Church mission, Eagle scout
  • Who I married – The right person for me?
  • Where I live – Do I really love it here?

And the list goes on. You get the idea.

I was having one of those depressing days that most people probably have all the time but think, “that’s life.”

After telling my wife how I was feeling, and spending every night after work (for a week) talking about it, she helped me realize my underlying problems were: 1) feeling a lack of control and 2) fearing judgement of others.

I’ve made choices because I feared the judgement of others…
and this is no way to live.

After that realization, I suddenly felt like Hiro from Heroes with a “yatta!” A sudden surge of “I did it! That makes perfect sense!” rushed through my body.

hiro heroes yatta

I felt like every single choice I’ve made was from feeling obligated to make others happy or that I would get severely judged if I chose something someone else didn’t want.

And that’s no way to live.

Example: My wife wants me to come with her to an acting-related party. I personally do not like parties because I’m an introvert, I don’t drink/smoke, and I don’t like loud places. Trying to start conversations with (actor) strangers is awkward and (partly) superficial. Every time I go – just to make her happy – she comes home feeling satisfied while I come home drained and empty. When I don’t go, she might have a fun time without me but will be sad that I’m not there experiencing the party with her. So it’s either me going and feeling empty or not going and making my wife sad.

Great outcome, right? #sarcasm.

alone at a party

This image shows how I feel at parties, but I wouldn’t be looking at some guy’s crotch.

Don’t get me wrong, I love making others happy…but not at my own expense.

Even little decisions like which movie we should see on date night made me feel like if I didn’t pick the one she wanted to see, she would be unhappy with me. All decisions I’ve made have been based on what others wanted.

And that’s where the old me ends.

While I was able to get by for 33 years making decisions based on others’ wants, I’ve changed.

I started making small, daily decisions based on what I wanted, just to test the waters…and life is much better now.

my recent realization

I have 100% control over my decisions. I love my job. I can get through an acting party without feeling drained. I’m living the life I wish I would have been living many years ago but I’m glad that I’ve learned how to live now rather than spending another 30 years in the dark.

Do any of you have similar experiences? Let me know in the comments below!