By Sage Offutt
Throughout human history, the question of how life is supposed to be lived has always been an unanswered question. We all grow up being asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up”. However, as you get older the fantasy of life and what you want to be as a kid changes. I know in my life, I want to be happy, free from worry and contribute as I can to make a difference. In my opinion, life is what you make of it and the experiences that you create for yourself.
Growing up there is a lot of pressure put on kids to do things a certain way and to have everything figured out by the time you enter high school. However, I am completing my sophomore year and I have absolutely no idea what I want to do later in my life. I do not think there should be that amount of pressure put on an individual especially considering your religion, family, culture, and community you grow up in greatly influence what one might be capable in achieving. Although there may be restrictions and guidelines in life, you still have the ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to and live your life to the fullest extent. Living life is not sitting at a desk in school everyday and then growing up to sit at a desk in a cubical. Life is about taking risks and looking past your so called limitations from what people believe is impossible.
There are no limitations with almost everything life throws at you. Often times it tends to throw very unexpected and unfortunate situations at us. Whether it is a minor event or something major like a death or personal health issues, you never know the direction it will take you. For example, my own personal health issues have greatly affected my life in recent days. I was recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Type Three Hypermobility Syndrome. Going from being a star athlete, outgoing, fearless to not being able to do hardly anything and in constant pain. I was told I could not run, do sports and even needed to be careful with the amount of writing and typing did. It completely limited many of the things I enjoyed in life like academics, sports and even greeting my customers on the beach. It sometimes feels like you are tied to a chair and cannot move. My doctors told me that there is no way to fix it and I will go through the rest of my life having to moderate many activities.
I soon realized that having this syndrome could get the best of you and put limitations in my life if I let it. So I was determined that this bump in the road wouldn’t distract me from doing the activities that I love to do. Having to completely rethink the way of doing everything in life sometimes feels impossible at first, but it is your choice to confront obstacles, pick yourself up, and push beyond them. Since my diagnosis, I have chosen to look at EDS as another challenge and to push myself further of what others have said would be my limitations. Everyday I wake up and promise myself to always live life and experience everything possible regardless of the pain and try to turn a difficulty – ultimately into a strength.
We are all prone to limit ourselves due to the fear of what could happen like success or failure. The willingness to tackle these challenges and overcome fears is a critical element in building confidence in oneself and providing motivation to succeed. I know this was the case when I first started my business Sage Paddle Company. Now in its 4th year it has grown well beyond my expectations. Over that time it has taught me that overcoming fear, taking risks and pushing beyond my comfort zone can lead to something great and unexpected. Sometimes the act of facing difficult challenges can actually lead to successes, as what is done out of necessity is inevitably more powerful than what comes easily.