Can you believe that in this day and age of technological advancements and intense social awareness, there are still norms and stereotypes that don’t serve us well?
In this episode, Aimee shares with us why she didn’t come back straight away. She did a lot of experimenting and along came her realizations about life. She was a victim of societal norms and stereotypes and through this episode, she hopes to create a difference and call for a challenge so that other people will not experience the same.
BEING A VICTIM OF SOCIETAL NORMS & STEREOTYPES
Aimee mentioned that she was a victim of societal norms and stereotypes, and she added that “a lot of us are, and we don’t realize it until later on in life.” We may realize that we’ve always wanted to do something but are afraid that we’ll disappoint other people or our parents.
There are also instances where we don’t want to do something but out of pressure, we engage in it. We are led to believe that we want something but if we look within, we want to do something else.
We have what we call unconscious push or nudging that we get from people surrounding us. These people can be our parents or family members who don’t have bad intentions. They suggest paths that we should take out of their love and care.
This unconscious nudging is a product of societal norms and stereotypes. Out of their good intentions, they think that a particular career or life path will make us happy. But the thing is, do they really know what will make us happy? Do we even know what will make us happy?
THE STORY OF OORBEE ROY
Oorbee Roy is a 47-year-old skateboarder who started skateboarding in her 40s. She’s an Indian mom of two living in Toronto, Canada. Oorbee is a social media sensation known as Aunty Skates.
The reason why she started skateboarding in her 40s was that it wasn’t seen as an acceptable thing to do for an Indian girl or woman. By the time Oorbee turned 40, she developed the courage to brush aside what other people will think.
She’s now creating a movement that shows people what happens when we start defying stereotypes. Oorbee is on various social media platforms encouraging people to follow their dreams.
What Oorbee is doing is inspiring people that there’s no need to wait for the perfect time to pursue your passion. She wants us to save time and focus on the things that will make us happy and will give us a sense of purpose.
“We are where we are, it is what is, now, what do we do?”#chasingdreams
“The if's will twist you up and prevent you from moving forward.”#chasingdreams
“The thing about societal norms and stereotypes is it's everywhere and in almost everything.”
THE GLOBAL PRESSURE OF HAVING IT ALL TOGETHER BY 30
The world, media, and the pressure from people make us think that we should our lives together when we reach 30. It’s like saying that we have to follow a rigid model of how we should live our lives. The typical scenario of we have to go to college, get a degree, get a job, get married and have kids. If you achieve all these things by the age of 30, you’ve hit a bonus point.
People make these as indicators of true success. But the plan stops there, what happens after you get married or have kids? This framework makes us believe that our lives stop the moment we acquire all this, and we’re stuck in waiting time till death.
Around the early 1900s people think that this is the only formula for happiness, no one even bothers to ask what makes us happy. The sad reality is, we have accepted this norm and nobody dared to challenge it.
Aimee mentioned that she and her sisters have been getting pressured to get married by the age of 21. She added, “as I was young, I truly believe in arrange marriage system, it worked for my parents, my grandparents, and I’ve seen so many happy and healthy marriages from them.”
For Aimee, arrange marriage is like blind dating when you’re ready to get married. As she got older, people made her believe that there was something wrong with her because she didn’t get married. Other people were quick to judge that maybe it was because of her personality, body type, or she was too career-oriented.
Aimee said, “it was all on me when maybe that wasn’t the plan for me at that time.” But nobody thought about that. Aimee thought she was failing in life because she didn’t follow the norm.
When Aimee was around 26 years old she left what people thought was her dream job at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Although it was an amazing job, and she was surrounded by amazing people, Aimee felt that it wasn’t the right fit for her.
Aimee listened to her gut and told her parents that she was not meant for that job. They were in disbelief and this is because our parents have a different notion of what happiness is. For them, happiness is either getting a job in government or being in a palace where we don’t have to worry about money.
Our parents’ biggest fear is to see us struggling and hurting. They want us to be stable instantly. They fail to engrave to us that life is all about a fight. We have to fight for what we want. By putting a timeline in our lives, we struggle to conform even though we know in our hearts that it’s not what we want.
“A parent's biggest fear is you struggling and hurting.” #chasingdreams
“You have to live your life to the fullest.” #chasingdreams
“Life is about figuring it out.” #chasingdreams
“The world is full of possibilities, there is no limit to what you can do.” #chasingdreams
“People want you to be happy, the only thing is, their idea of happiness is what others are telling them.”
“You have to fight for your dreams, fight to figure out what you want.”
“It will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile.”
WHY WE NEED TO BE TRUE TO OURSELVES
With all the outside pressure that we’re experiencing, it can get confusing to figure out who we really are and what we really want. Aimee’s advice is, “you have to be true to yourself, don’t let other people tell you what is normal or right.”
There are things in life that we are not prepared for, but we have to deal with them. There are also things that we have to figure out on our own because that’s just how life is. You have to assess your situation, not what others perceive but what you know is true.
Upon evaluating our real circumstances, we can make decisions that will benefit our life. Figure out what is right for you. Aimee states that she wants people to feel empowered, so they can pass this on to their children.
Teaching the next generation that they are in charge of their life and life skills empowers them to live the life they want. Life is too short to not pursue your dreams just because other people don’t think the same way as you.
“There are things that life will not prepare you for.” #chasingdreams
“There are things that we have to figure out on our own, that's what life is.” #chasingdreams
“You have to figure out what is right for you.” #chasingdreams
“You have to be true to yourself. Don't let other people tell you what is normal or what is right.”
PUTTING YOUR OWN HAT FIRST
You may think that you are obligated to have everything figured out when you reach a certain age, you don’t. Aimee affirms, “life is crazy, what’s important is that you start today with living your life authentically and make the hard decisions.”
Ask yourself, “am I happy with where I am right now?” “are the choices I made my own?” Aimee states that it’s okay for people to give you their opinions or suggestions but “the problem is when you adopt them as your own.”
We wear multiple hats, we can either be a parent, an office worker, or a boss, Aimee advises “you have to put your own hat first.”
This means that we have to take care of our own desires, passions and start figuring out what exactly we want and need and execute it. When we do this, we begin living as ourselves, and it helps enhance all the other hats we have in life.
The significance of taking care of ourselves streams down to the next generation. They’ll look at you as a role model and believe that putting yourself first is the right thing to do.
“You have to put your own hat first. You have to take care of you.” #chasingdreams
“At the end of your life, it's just you.” #chasingdreams
“It may not be easy, but there is a way for you to follow your passions and help everybody else.” #chasingdreams
“Life is what you make it.” #chasingdreams
“What's important is you start today with living your life authentically, making the hard decisions, and take a step back and figure out if you're happy.”
Aimee’s Recommendation: ONE action for a dream chaser to take –
To fully recognize what you want in life, you have to challenge societal norms and stereotypes that you are facing. Figure out what you want, live the life you desire, and not the life others have defined for you.
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