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Taking The Easy Way Out Is Like Choosing Your Own Cage

We’ve all been at a stage where we didn’t know what to do with life. Despite what most people say, choices in life don’t become easier just because you’re a 100 years old and have lots of experience. If anything, it becomes harder because you have the weight of your previous choices.

Back to what I was saying, just because you’re just 18 years old, high school’s over and you don’t know what’s happening in life, doesn’t mean you have it easier than someone who’s going through a mid-life crisis. That being said, please don’t compare yourself to a 45-year old who’s going through a divorce and might possibly get kicked out of his job. Seriously, NOT the same situation.

I’ve been there, and I’ve thought about the easy way out too… so believe me when I tell you, it’s a bad idea.

Right after my high school graduation, I was absolutely jobless for a period of 6 months. Nothing to do, no homework, no stress. It was golden… for the first two months. Then, I realized that an over-thinking personality like mine should NEVER be left alone for that long. So I decided to call up a few friends, see what they were doing. Basically, to just find some relief in the fact that they were as miserable as me.

Except, what I found wasn’t especially relieving. They were busy as hell. Applying to colleges, finding new hobbies, pursuing what they liked, blah blah blah. I could’ve done the same of course, but not only was I lazy about picking up a hobby (I was never particularly good at, or engaged enough in, anything for it to become a long-term thing), but I knew where I was going for college. It was this tiny branch of a state college in my city that I had applied to and gotten accepted.

There were a bunch of reasons why I decided on that college. I had applied to plenty, even ones abroad, but a number of factors like finance, security etc. held me back. Finally, I decided to go with what my best friend was going for. It was nearby, I could afford it and I didn’t have to leave my comfort zone. Overall, it was very very convenient. Plus, the degree was good enough.

So, I spent my free time going through my list of movies and shows to watch, with no care in the world.

One day, I got a call from my bestie and we got to talking about the college, and she offhandedly mentioned how I had wanted to go abroad. So I asked her what she was up to. I was curious as to why she picked what was to me, an easy way out.

Although her answer made sense, it gave me way too many sleepless nights thinking about it.

She told me, “It’s perfect here, you know! I have my family, most of my friends are going there, plus I know this city like the back of my hand!”

It makes perfect sense right? Except, it finally kicked my brain into realizing that I didn’t want that. I wanted to explore, travel, learn the world! Not stay in a small town, attend college there, and possibly later settle down there itself. It was safe and convenient, but I KNEW that if I took it, I’d regret it for the rest of my life!

It’s like this knowing you have, a gut feeling when you’re about to do something incredibly stupid. Like that time I thought I could kick an arcade game into giving me more prize tickets. Believe me, being almost crushed to death by one of those things is the OPPOSITE of fun.

Actually, no it is not… but it was right that time.

Anyway, after lots and lots of thinking, I applied to one of the best colleges in the country, in its biggest city, Dubai. I couldn’t go abroad, so this was the next best thing. It was expensive and I could only manage to get a small scholarship as opposed to what I was offered here. The cherry on top? It was a 2-hour drive from my city and since I had no car and couldn’t move to the dorms, I would have to take the almost 4-hour public transport route. Imagine having to travel 7 to 8 hours to make it to college and back…

In the 2 months before college started, I had thought and rethought my decision to the nth degree. I made a pros and cons list, asked anybody and everybody for advice, talked to my high school counsellor, even Googled ‘how to make a hard decision’ (yup, I actually did that). Truth be told, I drove myself crazy.

It wasn’t the money or even the ridiculous amount of travel. Quite frankly, I was scared. I knew no one there. I was a small-town girl, and an introvert at that. Dubai was such a hub of human activity, and I’d be more exposed than ever because of the travel I’d be doing day in and day out. The need I had, to stick to what I knew, what I could handle, was a steel vice around my throat.

I finally told myself to shut up, stop being a baby, and deal with it. I was doing this, and that was that.

So I did. On my first day, I woke up at 4 am in the morning to get my bus on time and made it to class by 8. I searched the hell out of Google maps, looking for metro routes, and which bus would take me where. I asked a lot of people for directions. You know the person at the bus stop or the train station who looks absolutely clueless, and stands in front of the huge map reading it like it would lead them to Narnia? Yeah, that was me.

I got lost more times in that first week in Dubai than I have ever in my life, even while I was a curious 4-year old. I took the wrong trains, got off at the wrong stations, been late to class because of it, and throughout all that, I was quaking in my shoes waiting for me to finally give up. In that one week, I even managed to end up in a creepy looking alley with no idea as to where I am, surrounded by people who were definitely up to no good. As dramatic as I can be, I remember thinking, “Yup, this is how I die. No cool gunfights, not even heroically trying to save a child from drowning or something. If I had a gravestone, it would read ‘stupid moron died of stubbornness’.”

My point is, three years down the line, I’m thrilled I decided to throw caution to the wind. Everybody expected me to give up, even me, and I couldn’t be happier that I didn’t. Everything I am, every aspect of my view of the world is shaped by that decision, by the exposure I’ve had, and the people I’ve met since then.

Of course, I’ve had my fair share of tears and moments I’ve wished I had stayed in my town, and I’m aware that this whole thing could’ve gone downhill. But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that nobody should choose not to live. Nobody should choose the easier way out just on the chance that it could go wrong. Because things could go wrong regardless of your choices.

You could opt for the path laden with the softest of petals you can find, and there still might be a fallen tree up ahead. So might as well go with some thorns so you know what to expect. Besides, it's rarely the easy choices that give you memories.

That being said, please don’t jump headfirst into something without thinking it through. You wanna quit your job and try a new career? Sure, but plan it, and be ready with the necessary savings and finances to support yourself and anybody who’s dependent on you. Feel like going cliff diving? Carry the necessary equipment with you, and follow all safety measures.

You get what I mean. Take risks, make hard choices, but be smart about it. Because otherwise, you are choosing to put yourself in a cage. A pretty, shiny, well-equipped, spacious and comfortable cage, but a cage nonetheless. And, your views on reincarnation aside, why would you do that with the only life you have?

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