I was an A student but I had no idea what subjects I wanted to keep studying. Sometimes when I have no idea about something, it’s because I don’t care about that and want to do something else. But I didn’t quite know that then.
I knew I wanted to keep studying P.E. (physical education) because I loved basketball, and I liked most other sports. But… what then? Drama, maybe? Definitely not Maths. Definitely not English.
Nothing seemed right.
And then my friend told me he was going to a “basketball college,” run by the people whose basketball camp we’d just been to.
A basketball college? I didn’t even know they existed. In England, anyway. And I’d always thought that I’d study for my A-Levels, then get my degree, then get a Masters degree… and then I’d get some sort of job.
I wouldn’t have known and I definitely wouldn’t have thought about this basketball college if it wasn’t for my friend. That’s why I think we need other people to help us be who we are.
Going to this basketball college was the right thing. I didn’t need my friend to tell me, or my parents to tell me, or my teachers to tell me. I didn’t need anyone to tell me. Because I knew. I knew in my gut and I knew in my heart.
This was the decision I had to make. Well, this was the decision I had to make if being happy was important to me.
I told my parents and they were worried because this was a deviation from our plan. This was unexpected. Especially as I was more than clever enough to study A-Levels, and studying sport and exercise science while I played basketball everyday maybe seemed like a waste of who I was. Who we wanted me to be.
They also worried that I wouldn’t get into university. Because, at least at the time, universities massively favoured A-Levels over BTECs, the qualification I’d receive.
And what if I didn’t get into university? What would happen then? How would I ever get a job?
But I didn’t care about that. That wasn’t important to me. Not in the moment anyway. What was important to me was doing something that I knew with all of me was the right thing to do.
Not for anyone else. For me.
It might’ve been the first time I’d ever done that. That I’d chosen myself over everyone else. It felt so good. And right. And like that was how I wanted to live.
I think I knew it was the right thing because my parents, the people who loved me more than anyone and who I loved more than anyone, didn’t think it was right. Not at first, anyway. They wholeheartedly supported me when I actually went to basketball college, and I’ve chosen those words carefully. But I’m grateful that they weren’t quite as excited as me to begin with. Because it gave me a chance to understand that they could be wrong and I could be right.
They were usually always right. But not this time. I knew I was right. I knew it as certainly as I’d ever known anything.
I made a decision that wholeheartedly supported who I was without ever knowing exactly who I was.
If someone had asked me who I was, I don’t think I would’ve been able to give the best answer. But if someone had asked me whether or not I knew I was making the right decision, I would’ve had no hesitation, and I would’ve had a lot of happiness, in saying “YES!”
What I’m saying is this:
Maybe it was only for one decision, one choice, one moment in your life. But you’ve been that person.
How did it feel? How did it feel to know you were making exactly the right decision? How did it feel to know that you were being you?
You’ve been who you know you really are and that means you’re self-aware.
When will you stop convincing yourself that you aren’t?
Matt Hearnden is a writer from the UK. He mostly tells stories only he can tell. He blogs twice a week at www.matthearnden.com just self-published his first book:42. Matt writes every day because he loves it and because it stops him watching Netflix. And, probably more importantly, he plays basketball and has lots of tattoos. Youc can find him on Twitter, IG & Quora.
Image courtesy of Jared Erondu.