Stay in Your Lane

I often find myself comparing my journey to others on social media or people in my own life. Long story short: Stay in your lane.

I’m not defined by my education level, relationship status, or trauma. I’m learning not to let others lay my path for me. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of this daily. I’m often asked, “when are you going to have another baby?” See, once you become a mother, people seem to think it’s the only identity that defines you. To be able to provide Zion the best life possible, I need to find my own happiness in my personal life and career. I need to balance my goals and focus on achieving them as an example to her. I’ve heard stories of parents telling their children about all the dreams they gave up for them, but this never set well with me. It sounds like the blame is on the child for the parents giving up their goals. It’s possible to achieve everything you set out to do while parenting. While it’s true, parenting requires sacrifice, you need to find the balance that works for your situation.

As I reach my late twenties, I realize I only want what’s meant for me. I read an article on Blavity, Why I’m 27, Single And Doing Just Fine. The part that resonated most with me was when the writer said, “sometimes I wonder whether I should readjust my standards, change my requirements, maybe even go back to old flames who failed me the first time around. Sometimes, in all honesty, I do not feel good enough. I’ve had days when I’ve felt like I am not the type of woman that men want to marry.” You can apply this quote to almost any situation. I’ve applied for jobs that I didn’t feel I was qualified for despite having a masters degree. I’ve entertained relationships I knew weren’t good for me. I’ve allowed myself to swerve out of my lane in an effort to keep up with what I “feel” I should be doing.

Learning that I’m a whole woman because of my identities and my experiences, not in spite of them, is one of the hardest lessons I needed to learn. Find your alignment.

There may also be times where people think you’re doing just fine, but there are changes you still personally want to make. If you’re not satisfied with where you are, find your peace, despite what others may think—good or bad. If the energy isn’t right don’t stick around. God has her way of revealing what’s for you in the right time.

There are only three things you need to do in the meantime:

I refuse to sacrifice my goals because my daughter needs to see it’s possible to achieve all that I set out to do. Though sometimes it’s difficult, I find ways to stay motivated by goal setting, therapy, vision boards, and journaling.  

Do the work. Show up. Trust Yourself.

By doing the work, this means finding measurable ways to achieve your goals. Show up means believe in yourself when you feel you’re alone when you feel that you can’t go on any longer, show up for yourself. Trust yourself means to believe in yourself and trust your intuition. It doesn’t matter if other people box you in or make you feel you should take a different path just because they did. Projection is often another person's guilt because they felt they had to give up their goal for whatever reason.

Finally, I was able to see that if I had a contribution I wanted to make, I must do it, despite what others said. That I was OK the way I was. That it was all right to be strong.
— Wangari Maathai, 1991 interview with Priscilla Sears

Tips to stay in your lane: