A question for you, dear reader.

So here's the deal

I'm seriously considering not taking the bar exam at all. (Oh my God, the world is going to end).

You know when people say, "well if you are so unhappy with your life, then change something!" or, "I don't understand why that person would stay in such a bad situation, I would just completely change my life."?

Well, you see, its a really scary thing to just decide to change everything. It is especially scary to make a change in your life when you have already put so much time and effort into getting to where you are right now. Experiencing the uproar from most of the other people in my life has constantly made me feel guilty about even just taking a year off for myself for my own wellbeing. 

Imagine how bad it will be when I come out with the whole maybe not sure I'm going to practice law thing. I've already heard completely unprompted tastes of it from my dad, "my son is not going to work at a retail store with a law degree!" Maybe he could see that I was unhappy and thought that some real, forceful encouragement would snap me out of it. This strategy has hurt his cause more than it has helped it, honestly. I have a really strong sense of wanting to find my own way through all this, and damn it ... is it too much to ask for one year off from everything without being harassed every time you see your family? 

Since when is, "because I really don't want to" not a good reason to avoid doing anything. I have been extremely unhappy with the amount of stress and discomfort I have allowed myself to experience the last couple of years. A panic attack or two, gut-wrenching anxiety, migraines, and nope! I'm not doing it anymore, and I'm having trouble understanding everyone's negativity.

And the question:

Do you think we have a right to choose a simple life? 

Here's the lens through which I want you to think about your answer, though you can feel free to answer in any way you wish. What if, with all the potential in the world, someone decides that they are happier digging ditches in the sun than they are doing something that fully realizes that potential. What if a brilliant trauma surgeon, who could save hundreds of lives throughout a long and well-respected career just decided that he wanted to make and sell furniture instead. 

You are the trauma surgeon now. Doctor, do you think you should stop practicing, or should you continue your practice as a surgeon and make yourself unhappy while doing it? 

Imagine all of the stress, the lives lost, the high cost of a single tiny mistake, and all the second guessing that surgeon would experience when someone did die under his care. Think of all that potential unhappiness. Lets say that the surgeon could support himself, live simply in a house of his own construction on a small property out in the woods somewhere, and truly enjoy his life making furniture. 

Lets take your answer from just above and apply it to my case. Do I have a right to choose a simple life?

Even if it is just for a little while, I would beg for the answer to be yes. It seems, so often, that the answer is usually no. Of course, the surgeon example is hyperbolic. There is no crushing weight of knowing that people's lives are in my hands, and the day to day stress and potential unhappiness is no where near as extreme. That high level of potential unhappiness warrants a change in lifestyle for the surgeon. My level of potential unhappiness isn't that high.

Fair enough, but the idea is there right? After "X" amount of unhappiness the threshold of unhappiness is reached, then it is acceptable to change your life. After "X" unhappiness you are allowed to throw everything away and start again if you want to.

What is "X"?

How unhappy do I have to be to deserve to make a change without being shamed for it?

Some thoughts

You know, I have often had a problem understanding why people can't change their life to be happy. Sure, there are obstacles by why can't people just go for it and make it happen? I think I get it now though.

Compared to what many go through, I'm sure my little conflicts with my family are more like little  speed bumps. Sure I feel terrible, but there isn't really anything truly stopping me from making a change. Think about how much worse it could be, and the size of the obstacles others face. There are so many people that want so desperately to change their lives, and have very little hope that they will be able to do so. I have great empathy for anyone who feels this way.

No matter the size of your obstacle or the nature of your doubts, I hope that you are able to choose happiness for yourself.