Chasing validation, gaining it, quickly losing it and getting back into the race is something I've done repeatedly up until this point. So the next piece is choosing to change, choosing to change for the sake of living a joyous life.
Some of us meet the world's expectations only to realize that it failed to give us the fulfillment we sought within ourselves; some of us burnout mid-way trying to fulfill them; some of us realize that there has to be another way to find what we truly seek.
My sister told me something that I vowed to share with as many parents as possible: "When my kids were small, I made a conscious decision to never say, 'I'm proud of you.' Instead, I have always said to them, 'You must be so proud of yourself.'"