From a young age, we’re taught what to believe in. We’re bombarded with facts and figures, incessantly told what we need to do to get from A to B in life and made to feel like everything that happens in the classroom is the only thing that matters. But what if, when all is said and done, you don’t get to stand on that podium of success? What if, despite everything you did, it wasn’t your calling? Or that, maybe, you did your best and aced every test, but here you are, 10 years later, staring at the reflection of somebody who you didn’t think you’d see?
Does it make me half a person because I’m not there yet?
Modern-day living is dominated by this way of thinking. Stressors outside of our control test us every day, stymieing our journeys from the little to the large. We’re often late to work thanks to nuisance traffic lights, we fail to achieve that “perfect” body because of time-constraints and temptations, we see our friends and family less because our workload becomes more, finding love feels like a pointless treasure hunt and experiencing limitless joy seems like it’s only for the movies – no matter how we try and juggle things, an external force always seems to have the upper-hand on our happiness.
But, there are some things in this world that need to be held of dearer value than what we’re taught or feel obliged to follow. As much as we’d like to, we can’t do everything. We are only human, after all. Some things need prioritizing. So, for those of us who fall short of the socially accepted success story, this is what you need to remember.
1. Good love can’t be bought – Be it with friends or family, as long as you have love in your life, you will never feel alone. Money can only buy you what you need in the material world. But your heart, however, requires a different kind of investment. So remember to focus on those who care most about you. Find yourself a friend who brings color to your life, puts a spring in your step and a smile on your face, and know that – above all else – they need you more than anything in the world. No matter what life may bring, realize they’re the ones who will keep you strong. Without a doubt, good love will always give you more than any job ever could.
2. Dreams can come true – Not everything that happens within the classroom denotes ultimate success. Some of the strongest contenders on life’s game-board are those who got out and experienced life itself. While you had your nose in a book, racking up a perpetual debt, others gave up the idea that there was only one acceptable path to walk down and found another. Despite what they tell you, there are other ways to go – there are other paths to follow. Never forget, this is your life. You need to do what makes you happy.
Hindsight has shown me that looking back is blindsiding. With the past so far gone, attempting to recreate it or wishing it had been different serves no real purpose. To be totally honest, all it does is bring pain. Just because there’s an expected timeline for things to fall into place doesn’t mean that it always works out that way. We’re not all wired the same. Our lives don’t always go according to plan. Therefore, we shouldn’t be angry at ourselves when things don’t replicate that same pattern. You’re not an outlier or exception to the rule because, in actual fact, there is no real “rule” – only a guideline.
So, as of today, I want you to use everything you know as a rough template, not an undeniable fact. To stop comparing yourself with others and start measuring what someone similar to you did to reach their end goal. And lastly, to remind yourself every day to cherish what good you have in your life, to think carefully about what you want, be realistic with your goals, plan smartly for the future and finally, listen to your heart, because nobody else but you knows where you want to be.
Remember, it’s not worth looking back – you’re not going that way.