Time to Listen Now聆聽時刻
4 min readAug 23, 2021


D1 — “Can,” “Want,” and “Should” in Life

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“When we feel trapped by ‘should,’ we often think that these ‘shoulds’ are imposed on us by others, but in reality, it is our own choice to be trapped. And the ability to let go has always been within ourselves.” — Hiroko Mizushima

At different stages of life, we often have people around us telling us what we “should” do now. These people can be our parents, partners, or even ourselves. However, we rarely pay attention to whether we truly want to do those things.

Today, I want to share a story. The protagonist is an ordinary office worker with a stable job and income. She has been married for many years and has two grown-up daughters. Throughout her life, she has always been obedient. She listened to her parents, studied hard, got into a good school, and entered the workforce. She always followed her superiors’ instructions and steadily progressed in her career. In her family life, she was seen as a good wife and mother, always accommodating everyone’s preferences and habits. In the journey of life, she was always regarded as a good daughter, wife, and mother by others.

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Life seemed peaceful, and this kind of life appeared to be wonderful. However, one day, she quit her job and proposed to her husband to live separately. After several months of contemplation, her husband finally agreed to her decision. Everyone was shocked by this news. How could someone who was such a good employee, wife, and mother do such a thing? Rumors started spreading in the community.

Before she moved out of her home, her daughter asked her about the reason behind her decision and why she insisted on doing this despite facing criticism from everyone. She said, “In the first half of my life, I lived a life that others expected of me. When I was young, my parents told me that I should study hard, get into a good school, and find a good job, so I worked hard. When I was dating your father, he said that I should know how to cook and dress well, so I made efforts to change. At the age of 28, your grandmother said that we should get married and have children, so I got married to your father. The first half of my life was filled with many ‘shoulds,’ but no one ever cared if I wanted to do those things. I even forgot to care about my own feelings. Now that you’ve grown up and don’t need my care anymore, in the second half of my life, I want to rediscover what I ‘can’ and ‘want’ to do, without being attached to anyone else. I hope to live the way I truly desire in the second half of my life.”

At different times in life, we take on different roles and identities, each carrying its own responsibilities. We busily navigate through these roles every day, gradually forgetting about “ourselves.”

After reading this story, many people’s initial reaction is to criticize the protagonist’s behavior as selfish. How could she satisfy herself and abandon her family? Whether it is selfish or not is not for others to decide. Since her husband and daughter agreed, others need not add fuel to the fire.

I’ll end the story sharing here today, hoping that you can also find your own journey in life.

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