Instead Of Trying To Check Each Of Life’s Boxes, Write Your Own Damn List

Zoran Zonde Stojanovski / Unsplash

Life has become this never-ending grocery list of things we need to check off before we die.

They’re on our list because they’re on everyone else’s list. But we didn’t choose them. Most of us don’t even realize we have a choice. So we carry on like a blind flock of sheep.

Go to college, and get a job you might not like so you can buy shit you don’t need. Find a partner, get a mortgage (shit you don’t need), get married, pop some kids out, then stay in the same town for the next 20 years and live the life that YOU created for yourself.

You see, they might be telling you what you should be doing, but it’s your choice to listen.

I’m 27. So many people around me are buying houses in the town we grew up in, saving for their weddings, and climbing the corporate career ladder.

Yet so many of them are miserable. I know, because I used to be them.

I’ve got no house, an unsteady stream of income, and I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the past 6 months in Bali. I love my life and I can’t believe this is the one I get to wake up to every day. Hand on heart, I have never been happier.

Just a few years ago, I didn’t dare to dream this was possible.

Because, like you, I had been brainwashed into thinking this isn’t the “right” way to live my life.

It’s not what you’re supposed to do, is it?

You’re supposed to listen to your parents. You’re supposed to go to school and get yourself into debt, then put that ridiculously expensive degree to good use. You’re supposed to stay in a steady job and put pennies away for your retirement. And only then can you relax and start enjoying your life.

Just a few years ago, I thought I was destined to a life chained to a desk for 9 hours a day, with parole for a couple weeks each year, and celebrating the arrival of Friday.

I thought, there’s no way in hell I’m going to be able to make a living doing something I love while traveling the world.

You see, it’s those limiting beliefs that hold us down. 

And these are the beliefs we learn from the people we surround ourselves with, the people we listen to, the people we think know what’s best for us.

It’s those same people who always ask about the title of your job and the size of your paycheck.

They’ll ask if you’re going anywhere nice this year, in the few weeks that are truly yours.

They ask about the street you live on and the size of your house. Bonus points if you own it.

They always ask about your relationship status.

If you’re taken, they’ll ooo and ahh, and if you’re single they’ll aww and say, “don’t worry, you’ll find someone soon.” As if you can’t be happy or complete until your life becomes one half of another’s.

They always ask if you’re married. Say yes, and they’ll ask how many kids you’ve got. Say no, and they’ll say you’ve still got time.

You know what they don’t ask?

They don’t ask if you love Mondays.

They don’t ask if you wake up giddy, and excited to jump out of bed and face the day.

They don’t ask if any of your dreams have come true lately.

They don’t ask if the one you’re with loves you the way you deserve to be loved.

They don’t ask if you truly feel alive in this world.

And no one ever asks if you’re happy.

Are you happy? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Shani Jayawardena

I hold a mirror to your soul, so you can see how beautiful you are


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