It’s easy to feel beaten down by life’s struggles sometimes. It’s easy to be in a moment and convince yourself that you’re failing. To compare yourself to your friends with their mortgages and pets and fancy cars. It’s easy to hesitate over that girl from school’s engagement status or the image of her little blurry fetus inside her womb. It’s easy to wonder how other people seem to have it all together, yet you are stuck. You feel lost. You haven’t achieved anything.
But sweet girl, I bet if you look back over the past year you will recognize all of those times when you felt the same way. When you kept asking yourself if what you were doing was worth it. When you convinced yourself you should give up because it was too hard. I bet when you look back you will find strength in all of those tiny moments when all you felt was weak, unstable, lost.
Because greatness does not need to come from a huge promotion at work. Success does not need to be a huge ring on your fourth finger. Happiness mustn’t always come from a baby growing inside of you. It can be seen in the way you kept working the same shitty job because you needed to save money for college. It can be in staying living with your parents, even though you absolutely hate it, because what you really want is to one day travel the world. It can be in applying to jobs every day and not hearing back but continuing to do so because you know your dream is within reach. It can be setting your alarm for 5am and walking to work in the freezing cold, going over the same monotonous routine because you know that novel you’re working on will one day line bookstores.
It can be in believing in yourself and chasing after your dreams. It can be in realizing that just because these things aren’t all worthy of 100+ likes on social media, it doesn’t mean they aren’t meaningful. It can be in quietly pushing forward, quietly working hard at your dreams, quietly studying the textbooks, sticking to your word count target and saying no to parties because you know exactly what you want your future to look like.
So you aren’t stuck. You aren’t weak. You aren’t a failure.
Your dreams aren’t simply to match others. What you want isn’t easy, it isn’t a short road, it isn’t always glamorous. What you want is something which makes fireworks explode inside of you and makes your entire body feel alive when you talk about it. It is something which keeps you awake at night because you are forever thinking of ways to get there faster.
Success doesn’t always look how people expect but where you are now is miles from where you were this time last year. You may have finished your masters, you may have finally gotten a job within the field you want to be in, you may have finally saved enough money to begin your adventures around the world. You may have ended a toxic relationship. You may have started counseling. You may have lost weight or started working out. You may have learned a new skill or found friends who feel like family.
So don’t beat yourself up when you scroll through social media. Don’t convince yourself that just because you aren’t engaged or pregnant or starting a new glamorous, well paid job, you aren’t progressing. Stop comparing your life to those you don’t know. Stop wishing for things which will one day be yours.
Stop treating this life like it’s a race. Because it isn’t. Because you win every day when you get up and carry on.
Because you are success, in every way, every day. Because your journey just looks a little different to others and that’s okay.
That’s more than okay.