It’s easy to put people, events, achievements, possessions, goals, and milestones on a pedestal.
We think of them in a strangely glorified light. In the competitive, individualistic society we live in today, it’s become all too natural to have idealized visions of such things, and the place they will take in our lives – unfortunately, we’re sometimes disappointed by them when they become actualized. We often spend so much time and effort holding them to these arbitrary standards we set in our minds, and often it turns out, what we want in life is not always what we need.
At the end of it all, we’re left asking questions of ourselves: “Was it worth it?” “Was it supposed to be like this?” “Did I do something wrong?” “Am I enough?” And the truth is, yes. It’s all worth it in the end, and no matter what route we take to get there, we’re better for it. It’s normal for our priorities and our opinions to shift as we go through life.
I’m not saying that we should start setting ourselves up for disappointment, but life is – at its essence – unpredictable and sometimes even cruel. It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasies, false realities, and notions. It’s easy to consume ourselves with the idea of things working out exactly the way we want them to turn out. But it’s far more rewarding in the end to be brutally honest with yourself from the start.
I’ve been trying to view life (and its inherent struggles) through easier analogies. Let’s be cliche for a moment – life is like a puzzle – one of those puzzles where nearly all of the pieces look identical, and right now, all you have are the borders of the puzzle. It’s a blank slate, a foundation for what we build the rest of our lives on.
At the same time – I’m guilty of this too – sometimes I wish that all the pieces of my life would fall into place right now, at this very moment, just the way I want it to. To be honest, I’m impatient. But most things in life don’t come without a fight. The harsh reality is, those promising-looking pieces, no matter how hard you try and try to wedge them in, just aren’t meant to be there. Those promising-looking pieces represent our struggles – all the lost friends, broken relationships, missed opportunities, failed jobs, countless letdowns, and the times we hurt ourselves and hurt others. Choose to forgive in those times.
Life is a never-ending game of trying over and over to fit the pieces of the puzzle, testing the waters as we go, and actually succeeding at placing some pieces where they belong. Some are more obvious, some will inevitably take effort and time. Sometimes we become increasingly frustrated when the seemingly perfect pieces don’t fit in the area of our lives that we’re currently working on. Part of our journey is accepting that’s okay.
Maybe those pieces don’t belong just quite yet. But as we grow in our confidence and through our experiences, those pieces we thought would be lost forever do come back to us later on in a whole new way. Maybe it wasn’t how we initially intended it to be, and that’s fine. But ultimately – just when we least expect it to – those pieces end up completing us.