Don’t Let Your Search For Fulfillment Stop You From Truly Living

A woman in an off-the-shoulder sweater leans forward while laughing in front of a stone wall
Brooke Cagle / Unsplash

There’s nothing worse than a life unlived. It’s frightening, the thought that we can one day reach the end of our time on this earth and realize we didn’t live it the way we should have, the way we really wanted to. Whether that the because of fear, of overthinking, because we were afraid of being judged and what others would think.

That doubt follows us; the never knowing, the indecision that can hang above our heads. Especially when we’re faced with making the big decisions that can shape our lives forever. So we question our ability to make those decisions. Sometimes too much. We look back and wonder if we could have done better if we’re in the process of wasting the finite time we have.

The frustrating thing is that we’ll never have a concrete answer to any of these questions. No one can ever quench our doubts in any sort of satisfying way. Because every single person has a different version of how to best put a life to use. We all have different ideas of success, of happiness, of fulfillment. There’s no step-by-step tutorial to show you the right steps, no quiz in any magazine to teach you how to live your best life.

So instead, we do the best we can.

We try until we feel like we want to give up until our bones ache. We keep at this pursuit of absolute fulfillment until we have nothing left to give.

But no matter how hard we search, no matter how much we exhaust ourselves, we’ll never know the if the way we are choosing to navigate life is the “right” one.

We’ll always find ourselves at crossroads, continue to feel lost at certain points in the journey. We’ll make the best decisions we can make with the resources available to us at the time. We’ll keep trying; we’ll do our best.

That’s all we can ever really do. There’s no secret hack, no right or wrong way. What made your parents fulfilled when they were your age won’t necessarily make you feel the same. The path your friends are on may not be the one that will make you happiest. That’s okay. And it’s normal to compare, to wonder why our choices look so different from everyone else’s.

But there is more than one way to live, more than one way to feel happy and satisfied with the life you lead. So really, when we take it all into consideration, there’s only one thing to do to guarantee a life fully lived.

And that’s to live your truth.

To create something that is authentically yours by definition. To allow yourself to sketch your own map, to turn the signs on the side of the highway in whichever direction you choose.

If you’re lucky, you won’t have to confront the end of it all until you’re old and gray. But the absolute luckiest of us are able to look back on life and feel content, to know that we made the choices that were right for us and only us. To know that we shaped a life for ourselves that we’re not only proud of, but one that we enjoyed fully and wholeheartedly.

Our time in this place is in no way finite, but it’s ours.

That’s the way it was all designed. We were all meant to take life into our hands and carve it into exactly what makes us happy. Don’t let that slip through your fingers. Don’t let comparison kill your ability for choice. Until that last breath, learn to love the sound of your own heartbeat; it means your living. That you’re conscious. That you’re still at a point where you are able to thrive under the jurisdiction of your own choice. TC mark

A writer of creative non-fiction who drinks copious amounts of coffee.

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