We all struggle with doing things with conviction. Remember the time when things didn’t work out in your way, and doubt begin to shroud your choices, as you start to second guess your abilities. The tinge of regret, accompanied by the would haves, and should haves begin to arise subconsciously as you fantasized about what could have been if life led you on another path instead. I’m sure we all have been there before, some more than others.

For me, whenever difficulty strikes, when fatigue begin to seep in, and especially when I’m faced with disappointment, I’ll start backing away from my decision and start conceiving about the should haves. These days have been exceptionally tough. It’s the first week of my internship, and with every alternate evenings being occupied with training, the other 2 days and the entire Saturday with tuition, the earliest I’ve been home is at 11pm. Besides, the need for me to wake up at 545am every morning to prep my meals make me doubt everything that I’ve once believed in and wanted.

As I browse through Instagram, I see photos of my friends having the time of their lives, being all around the world, ingesting the sights and sounds, satisfying their palates with the flavors of local cuisines while there I was, standing in class gesturing to the board 5 times in a minute, rushing to school every other day just to run my pants off, waking up to the worst pain in my back, before cooking the same meal for myself everyday. Is this how a 22 year old is supposed to live?

I begin to worry that I am becoming that peer whom is always busy earning money and in her aimless pursuit, forget to enjoy life, and not indulging in the YOLO movement, so they say. I begin to believe that I am that peer because I am that lifeless person that your Thought Catalog and Elite Daily articles have been referring to, just because I am not living the life of the list of things you should do in your 20s. I am here giving up my life to my internship and staying committed to training, albeit my unwillingness, instead of the recommended bungee jumping, sky diving, and traveling the world. Apparently, I have yet to turn 22, but mentally and physically, I feel like 32 with the 5 hour sleep and 19 hours of activity everyday. Yet, as sulky as I may make myself sound to be, I wouldn’t exactly say I hate what I am doing, the fatigue just gets to me at times, and on bad days, this conviction wavers.

I think whenever we feel ourselves starting to look left and right for other, presumably better choices, and back to regret upon our decisions, instead of focusing ahead on what we are doing presently, conviction is reminding yourself why you started on what you have in the first place. The fact that, I could’ve gone to Stanford in a couple of days time, makes me second guess my decision to sign on to 5 months of this crazy routine. The fact that I wasn’t even fat to start with when I was eating all the junk I was eating in the past 20 years of my life, makes wonder the actual need of eating clean and being dedicated to such a lifestyle. The fact that I had a choice of leaving the team, and yet I did not, stabs me over and over again, because these days, it’s getting so difficult, that I can break down every time after training.

Yet, I know that everything we do in the present stems from choices that we had once thoroughly considered before making that decision to embark on what we are sailing on right now. We wanted this at one point of our lives, badly even, so why are we regretting or having second thoughts now? What was that driving force that convinced you to go aboard on this journey? What was the motivation that made this decision stand out amongst the rest? It may not feel like it, but it is still there, lying deep beneath us, dormant; under the layers and layers of disappointment, denial and fatigue. What we have to do is just to keep reminding ourselves of that reason, relive that surge of motivation and excitement when we first decided that this was the path we wanted to head straight on, and wash away the disappointment and fatigue, because we all know that tough times don’t last, tough people do. Besides digging deep into the sediments of our motivation, look for more reasons to carry on, and tell yourself it is going to be worthwhile.

This conviction is what has been keeping me gritted on my goals and my decisions, despite the unyielding challenges. I don’t deny that I waver in face of the knowledge of common age peers having the time of their lives right now, however, I do not harbor a tiniest bit of regret because I know this life was what I wanted, and it is what I want right now. Despite not living the “perfect life” the internet has defined for us, I have a personal definition of perfection. Perfection is the ability and opportunity to empower others around you, inspiring people and being able to constantly challenge yourself in life because that keeps you from settling and propels you ahead. I do not need the self satisfaction by material sucesses because I strive and thrive in making a difference in places that I go. These are the joys and influences that stay not only with you, but with others too. You build yourself as you build them up, and that, to me, is living the dream, because not many 20 year olds are doing so, and not even in the life time of some.

It has just been a week in Pathlight, and it sure feels like a month, or maybe a year. I am definitely not having the time of my life here, but I’ve seen so much, and gained so much insight about myself that I would never trade this experience for any other. Everything else have not been smooth sailing either, but I am not giving up because this was what I really wanted. I don’t know if this struggle would be worth its while, but what I do know, is that you’ve got to finish what you’ve started, and this conviction to head full steam to the finish line will keep me going. Everyday.

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