I’ve gone through much of my life under the assumption of a sort of 'universal order’; a way that all things should be mapped out, approached, and achieved. That there is a necessary order to the pattern of rites of passage many of us go through — adolescence, education, starting a career, getting married, buying property, having kids — and I looked upon all this as the orderly way to 'do' one's life. The way to get it ‘right’, as though these milestones were just boxes to be checked off some ultimate to-do list.
Somewhere along the line, though, my personal trajectory veered out of sync with this universal order. I was the student who got the undergrad degree, but then went back to college. Twice. I was the one who, eschewing my 4 years spent majoring in English and Philosophy, chose to become first a professional pastry chef / chocolatier. 8 years later I pulled a total one-eighty and reinvented myself as a personal trainer. After all that, I hadn't even begun to tackle the marriage/house/children milestones.
I was doing my life out of order. According to my rigid thinking, this meant I was doing it all wrong.
I criticized myself harshly for this seemingly disjointed sequence of events. I thought of myself as a failure for not achieving a certain level of success, one which I thought was not only marked by hitting the above mentioned rites of passage, but meeting them in the order prescribed. I was unable to appreciate the things I HAD achieved or the richness of my past experiences, because all I could see were the ‘failures’ I perceived via my lens of ‘right-ness.'
Life wasn't proving to be very joyous or rewarding, limited as I was in my actions by my view of the world. I would catch myself in these moments, and gradually began to question why I was so hung up on this idea of the 'right' way to do things. The more I examined the way I led my life, I started to see how much the 'right' way of doing things showed up everywhere: there was a right way to do the dishes, the right route to get to work, the right feelings to express, the right type of person to be — and with who. It went on and on, from the minute details of daily life to thoughts that were capable of disrupting my sense of self to the very core.
So I decided to let it go. It was by no means an easy feat. But, slowly, I allowed myself the freedom to be, and do, and pursue things in no particular order other than that which inspired me most. Things at which I thought I had failed no longer seemed like failures, but instead were simply different paths taken on the road to my own version of success. A life that I had previously deemed unfulfilling became one brimming with unforeseen opportunities, new adventures, new people, and new milestones that had never even been on the old, 'right', to-do list.
I let go of the right way of doing things and instead found my way of doing things. Disordered, disjointed, impulsive, or wrong - whatever anyone might call my life story - at least it’s mine. Let’s call it alternatively-ordered, joined by myriad experiences, spontaneous, and (gleefully, irreverently, imperfectly) RIGHT.
A life lived by my own design.
About the Athlete
Sarah DesRoches is a certified personal trainer, life coach, dancer, yogi, Red Seal Pastry Chef, and word nerd. Through her training and coaching she hopes to inspire individuals to make positive changes in their lives by helping them realize each of us is capable of things far beyond what we think is possible.