Do you ever pause and anxiously scramble for that perfectly sculpted response to appear in your mind when people ask the unnerving question, “Where do you plan to be in five years?”
I usually avoid this question like the plague and take it as lightly as my heart will allow. But as I sit here now, meticulously pondering this question, I’ve come to realize it has more than likely been manifested by my undying fear of the unknown, rejection, and the apprehension that the future I had hoped for would result in crumbling dreams and aspirations.
Even the slightest thoughts about the future had previously made me sick to my stomach, and even now I still catch my wandering thoughts becoming obsessive at times. How could someone possibly think about where they hypothetically could be in five years when they can’t even figure out where they theoretically should be?
I think that a lot of people scramble for the answers that they don’t have rather than taking the time to truly discover themselves and their greatest potentials. At some point, you must just jump and become so comfortable within yourself that you can ask and answer the deepest questions about your soul without becoming hesitant. So instead of focusing on where I want to be, I’ll focus on WHO I want to be.
I want to be more selfless. I want to put other people before myself, passionately and wholeheartedly, not because I’m pretending to be a better person, but because I’m constantly trying to better myself than the day before. I want to be more assertive and say what’s on my mind when it’s on my mind without holding back, because people deserve translucent honesty.
I want to smile more and worry less. I want to laugh more, until my gut hurts and tears fall from my cheeks. I want to take more responsibility and accept the things that I do wrong by taking fault in my actions. I want to try new things, learn new things, and challenge myself instead of settling for the belief that I’ll never be good at any of the things I’m not good at. I want to let go of old burdens and mistakes, because everyone has and makes them—it’s all part of being human.
At some point you must quit fearing the maybe’s or what if’s and quit living your life regarding other people’s expectations and visions for you. Quit cheating yourself. Quit putting a limit on your dreams and your capabilities to flourish. Quit shaming creativity, individuality, diversity, and anomalies. Quit biting your tongue and speak up. Quit letting someone pass you by and then lying awake at night, unable to get the thought of them out of your mind. Quit keeping your feelings silenced. Quit waiting for life to give you a sign when this—right here, right now—is a sign!
Quit waiting for a better opportunity to present itself and go out and create one. Quit hating choices, unforeseen setbacks, and changes in life when they are the opportunity of growth and progression in ways that we could have possibly never imagined. Quit keeping toxic people in your life and then forgiving them every time they do you wrong. Quit letting the little things in life get you down.
Quit shaming people for their abilities or disabilities and defining them only by what they’re incapable of instead of all the things they ARE capable of. Quit taking everything so personally when somebody says something you don’t agree with and open yourself up to other fresh perspectives. Quit being a people pleaser, because you need time to love yourself too. Quit talking yourself down, and just as importantly, quit talking other people down, because you’re not above anyone. We’re all equal, and we may not be cut from the same cloth, but in the end we all just want people to relate to us, to understand us, to love us.
It’s time that we lift ourselves up and remind ourselves that it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to be lost, it’s okay to not know who you are, it’s okay to not have all the answers right now, it’s okay to feel like you have nowhere to run, no one to turn to. It’s okay. Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Raise yourself up. You’re beautiful, you’re daring, and you’re trying, and that’s all that matters. Because one day, you’ll make it.
The answers won’t come easily—they never do. But one day, you’ll have all the answers figured out. One day, you’ll look back on today and laugh to yourself, because in that moment, you’ll be astonished that there was ever a time that you were so consumed with doubt and self-destruction that you believed you’d never persevere.
I promise you you’ll see the end of this constant, antagonizing battle within yourself to find meaning. Strive to be fearless. Strive to do better; strive to be the best version of yourself, and when you get there, TRY HARDER. Strive to find happiness and pride within other people’s successes and empathize with their failures, because that’s how you know you’re content in the life that you live.
When you no longer try to be better than the people that you once tried so desperately to, you’ll find peace, and somewhere along uncertainty and despair, you’ll find yourself. You’ll find yourself and no longer will you feel the antagonizing apprehension from your unknown future, because instead, you’ll embrace it, own it, and create it.
This—right here, right now—is the first step you’ll take to recreate yourself. So what are you waiting for?