by Marilù Gasparo

Sooner or later in everyone’s life, we reach a moment of realization where we understand that it’s time to take charge of our own choices.

It’s the moment we once eagerly anticipated as children and that we now suddenly want to postpone.

Suddenly the possibility of “failing” is frightening. 

The possibility of disappointing someone, being judged, or even just having to listen to a bunch of “advice” that isn’t always welcome can be almost oppressive.

True, sometimes we ourselves are the worst judges. But sometimes we humans tend to apply our personal experiences to the lives of others. 

We believe that something that has worked for someone will always work the same way for everyone.

But instead, we young people sometimes need more than advice, namely encouragement and confidence.

I can’t tell you how many months it took me to make a decision that was very difficult for me: to return to Italy, my home country. And even when I made this decision and quit my job here in Germany… how many doubts!

I will probably board my plane to Italy still being full of fears and doubts, because there is no decision without fears.

During those months, my inner voices alone were already very loud. Too loud to listen to the outer voices, the voices of others, who told me to reconsider or who told me their frustrations about their own decisions as if they had something to do with my story.

In these months, I have realised that lists of pros and cons can be helpful, but ultimately won’t provide the answer. 

I have realised that the voices from outside are not ours and that others will have forgotten their advice in a month while you are living your life.

I realised that when we are at a crossroads or even just feel the need for a change, the right choice is not always the one with the most advantages. Sometimes the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, but we need this decision for the seemingly “more difficult” path at that moment, no matter how many disadvantages it entails.

I realised that the best advice is to follow your heart, as trivial as that may sound.

Follow your heart, 

not the fear of failure.

If you feel the need to make a decision, have the courage to change!

We have a duty to go our own way, our personal way.

We have a duty to make our decisions and mistakes something we are proud of, so that we don’t let our lives slip out of our hands out of fear or the need to please others.

I want to believe that our heart knows what we need!

Listen to it, even if someone tries to dissuade you from this decision.

Those who support you know that the only way to live a fulfilling life is to follow your heart, even at the risk of learning and failing.

Translated by Joeline O’Reilly

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