If I think about who I was and who I wanted to be five years ago I am filled with a plethora of emotions. I feel nostalgic, sad, happy, disappointed, and triumphant. I am filled with mixed emotions because the person I was five years ago is not the person I am today. And I no longer aspire to be who I wanted to be back then. I can’t aspire to be someone I’m not.
Five years ago at the age of 21, I was at university studying Journalism in the heart of Melbourne. My eyes were being opened to small bundles of stereotypes, and different groups of people, that growing up in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, I had yet to be exposed to. My mind was also being introduced to class and culture and though I had always prided myself on being well-mannered, never swearing, and never staying out late, I wasn’t familiar with people who were more educated than I, or accustomed to being in the company of those who came from more affluent families.
Sure: someone can be wealthy and uneducated and totally lacking in any sort of sophistication but there are also many people in Melbourne who are just so damn broke yet so damn educated in so many different ways; be it in the art of gardening or be it that they are well-travelled. It might be that they are educated in the way they think, always making informed decisions and never deciding anything on a whim. It might even be the simple fact that they are educated enough to understand that “being educated” means one can be educated in many different ways, and not in the sole sense that they have a degree. It took me a long time to realise this. Tira five years ago did not realise this. Hence why she was trying to obtain a Journalism degree she neither wanted nor needed.
The Tira of five years ago blindly believed the only way she could be perceived as being educated by her peers and the rest of Melbourne, was if she had a degree to her name. Now that I am older and wiser, I have come to realise that I was going about “being educated” in entirely the wrong way!
The older me knows that whilst displays of wealth can be an indicator of success, they won’t always be the deciding factor in whether someone is educated or not. I have learned that what most educates a person is the number of times their life trajectory changes. And what one learns from those new life paths becomes the pool of knowledge a person will refer to on their next path and their next path. Many people will call these paths “life experience” – but these new trajectories are so much more than that!
I would say I am on my second trajectory. My first trajectory occurred when I was three years old and was adopted and then raised by another family who I wasn’t related to in any way. My second trajectory occurred 2.5 years ago when I moved out of the family home to live alone and cut ties with all the people I have ever known. Tira of five years ago could never foresee my future being as it is today – working in retail, happily, living alone, and without material ambitions. Tira five years ago was a very material person. But my current self knows that society makes many people this way by giving the world the idea that accumulating possessions is the only way in which any of us in a developed world can be happy. My current self knows that owning material items does not induce happiness within anyone. Don’t get me wrong – I still love shopping. But I don’t shop to the point where I own twelve different trench coats, 140 pairs of shoes, 30 teapots, and 40 pots of nail polish that I will never wear!
I am no longer excessive because material items do not equal happiness! And this is something I learned after I was thrown into Trajectory#2.
Now here I am happily existing within my third life path. It has taken me 2.5 years to become accustomed to my life and what it now resembles/represents. Tira from five years ago was extremely sure of herself because she knew she was educated and well-mannered, she knew she would have a degree to her name, and she was surrounded by people who loved her, and unbeknown to her, she would always be surrounded by these people. Fast-forward five years and I know I will never go to university again because despite having my eyes opened to so many things I know degrees are so fucking overrated, I will never get married.
Let me reflect on the concept of upbringing. I see that moving away from the nest and cutting ties with my family, not only changed the course of my life, but it also stripped me from the things I had been conditioned to believe. And being stripped of one’s conditioning has to be the most liberating achievement in a person’s lifetime. It gives one the permission to decide what they believe in without parameters! Without anyone saying “you shouldn’t do that” or “you should do this”.
My life trajectory has changed a few times now. And I have adjusted to my new life each time. Whether that shows that I can adapt or not I’m not sure. But it does show me that life has several trajectories that will spring up on us at any given moment. We are foolish to think that our lives are set in stone and that they are concrete. Because they are not. I used to be scared of my life changing. But now I embrace it because we are thrown onto these new trajectories for a reason. We do never know what those reasons are though.
Just like the life path line on your hand. If you visited a palm reader and they showed you your life path line what would you think? You would think your life is on one trajectory right? Right. Like I did. But I was naive to think that.
I can’t read my own palm, but if I could I know it would show diverts and detours along my life path line every now and then. Because the trajectory of my life has changed a few times now.