She left a life that to many was the epitome of success and potential. She changed phone numbers, deleted her Facebook page, switched bank accounts and moved. Is this a woman on the run or an undercover FBI agent? No, it’s an Ivy League student, Nayla Kidd (19) who decided to make a drastic decision to change a life that she simply couldn’t stand to be in anymore.
“I needed to break from my old life of high pressure and unreasonable expectations.” It’s a feeling that’s a lot more common than we’d want to admit, and even though completely switching lives is quite extreme, it’s easy to understand how it can happen and identify with all the pressures that cause it. Society has built life on specific things beauty, perfection, wealth, work and relationships that are framed as common, but aren’t exactly a world view that everyone shares. Being different and wanting different things is seen as a betrayal of that image but the problem is that same image is making so many of us miserable.
For someone whose life appeared so together, Nayla was struggling and she just couldn’t see a way out that didn’t require a huge shift. It’s a shift that’s extreme and obviously outlandish so it makes her seem like an anomaly. While her actions are rare - the feelings and circumstances that it informed them aren’t. It does happen, and it is happening.
There are probably hundreds of thousands of people who find themselves under incredible pressure. They have the world at their feet, plenty going for them - success, beauty, fame, popularity and the trappings of a good life but secretly they drown everyday in pressure, self-doubt and a pain that many don’t see and wouldn’t believe. It’s even worse when you have what everyone sees as the perfect life.
In our work towards creating a fulfilling life, the roads we take can bring us closer to the opposite of who we want to be. Some actions are taken to fit in, and to be what everyone else expects us to be, and the problems begin when these actions make us feel alien to ourselves. At that point what’s the way forward, do we fight or flee? Do we accept that life as is it or do we find ways to fight against it and move against the trap of what everyone else considers inevitable?
I’d imagine that this is what Nayla thought about as she woke up morning after morning, inching closer to her greatest fears. A life of high pressure comes in many forms – from intelligence, to physical perfection and wealth, it’s easy to become trapped in the image of success that’s expected instead of working our way towards our own interpretation of it.
It’s a struggle we see Sandra fight in “No Lies Told Then” and hopefully it’s one we see her win by finding and writing her own truth. The best outcome is to never have to run away or be assumed missing by our loved ones. The best way it can turn out is to discover where you need to be without having to change phone numbers and bank accounts.
Are You Living on Unreasonable Expectations: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself
1. Happy people don’t have to ask if they are happy, it’s just a state of mind that exists freely. If you find yourself feeling like happiness is far away that’s not a good sign.
2. Does it feel like it takes a huge amount of effort to get you through one day? It’s often the constant feeling of carrying a load that’s too heavy or failing to find joy or satisfaction in anything. This suggests that you’re not living a life that represents your own personal truth.
3. Do you feel like your life is more about meeting milestones that are seen as successful by other people? True success comes from fulfilling a path that’s defined by your own ideas, perspectives and the things that bring you joy.