One day it hit me. I’ve been living my life apologetically.
Like many people, I have multiple responsibilities in life, perhaps more than what you would think a person should take on. I’m a full-time student, and I work 3 days a week. I have a leadership responsibility in my Buddhist community, while I sit on two boards of directors. I’m a wife, daughter, sister, friend… and the list goes on.
I am happy with my life and everything I’ve committed myself to, but there are days I am exhausted and feel like I’m losing all grounds. Then I hear the voices: you should slow down, you should scale down your commitments.
Those whispers reminds me of the times I felt sorry for not being able to see friends whom I care about, because I had 500 pages to read for school. I’ve felt sorry for deciding to go back to school AND working at the same time, when family expects me to have kids now and settle down. I’m often told I’m either too ambitious, or that I spread myself too thin. My dreams are idealistic and naive in some people’s eyes. And I somewhat have felt sorry for that.
Life is at times about competing priorities, and the truth is that sometimes the two competing things are equally important to you. The same goes for bigger things, like pursuing your dreams vs. being there for your family. At times you are amazed how you can find the path that would let you achieve two seemingly conflicting goals. Sometimes, you just have to choose one.
Over time I realized being apologetic for my decisions didn’t make things better. It actually just made them worse. I was feeling judged for my decisions, only because my insecurities told me so. When I’m sorry for my decisions, the person that loses is me; in those moments, I’m at cross purposes with myself, and thus I’m really nowhere, rather than giving 100% in the present moment. Likewise I’ve felt sorry for my dreams and for dedicating myself to the non-lucrative career of, well, transforming the world, when I should be nothing less than proud of it. Because these things define who I am and my most sincere beliefs.
The only decision we ultimately have to make is to live life to the fullest and take full responsibility, and everything will fall into places.
So I am not sorry for the decisions I make. I am not sorry to say no to that invite (though I so wish I knew how to be at two different places at once so I can enjoy your company), because I know that whatever reason I have to miss it is good enough.
Nor am I sorry for being who I am. It doesn’t mean I won’t make mistakes, and I will remain humble. But if I cannot be proud of the person that I am, then who would?