In the age of over sharing on social media – blogs, facebook, twitter, instagram and various other platforms – sometimes you can’t help but go through your feed, see what other people have done for themselves and suddenly, gloom will wash over you as you feel like you’re not doing enough. Why couldn’t you? You see a lot of people online making the most in their lives: someone is backpacking across Europe and posts a photo every 5 or so minutes, someone is featured in an online press or local publication, someone has landed their dream job. It’s as if you’re lost in a sea of people who have found their calling and are insanely happy. Why does it feel like you have been cheated in life? You spent hours looking at your vision board and list of goals and think, what are you doing?
I would sit sometimes in self-pity; feeling like I haven’t done anything remarkable unlike everyone else and somehow, that means I am a complete failure. I would often feel like I’m being left behind as everyone around me are slowly getting their lives together. I would feel more of a mess than I already am.
Scour the Internet and you’ll find tons of articles, on tumblr, thought catalog or elite daily, about people undergoing through the same crisis. You’ll also find articles telling you to carpe diem your way in life. The thing is, the more we read about people listing down their goals for you, the more you’re subconsciously feeding into your mind that you have to be something in this world, be someone. And when you think about this, the more you’re convincing yourself that you have to be all of these before you reach a certain age.
Just because everyone else seem like they know what they’re doing doesn’t mean that you will never do. Like you, every now and then I have to remind myself that –
It’s okay. You are doing the best that you can.
It seems like the world is practically pressuring you to go out there and find yourself and your passion, create something out of it, focus on your next steps, go shoot for the stars, etc. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, that is okay. Your life is just starting out for you and you don’t have to figure everything out at once. I can assure you that no one has it figured out at all. Like you, everyone is simply trying out their best.
I spent a year repeatedly telling myself and my friends that I’m running out of time to achieve anything. This is because I have a timeline mapped out for myself since high school and it honestly felt like that for a time. It took a while for me to understand that there are billions of people out there, every single one of them embarking on different paths. Everyone has their own pace. You have yours. I know that with the wave of updates that we see from strangers each day, we can’t help but live in a world of constant comparison. It might seem like this one person is more successful than you because they’re able to achieve their goals at this point and you haven’t. That’s not true at all. Other people’s success is not your failure. You always have a chance to have what you want. Life isn’t a race. Success doesn’t have a deadline. Someday, you will get there too.
(photo from laughingbear at tumblr, drawing by not-a-robbery from tumblr)
What is success for you?
We all have different definitions of success; it could be traveling the world in your 20’s or settling down by the time you’re 30. It could be putting up your own firm, buying a house or graduating – it doesn’t matter. Overall success doesn’t happen in a day or two, it takes time. Remember that small achievements each day means success too. It’s finishing a paper before the deadline, remembering to water your plants, finishing a book, buying yourself that dress you’ve been eyeing for a while now. You don’t have to book that ticket to Europe if you feel like you can’t afford your dream trip at the moment. You don’t have to work your way up the career ladder within a year. It’s the small steps that get you there. If you are able to set aside money for your dream adventure in every allowance or paycheck, that already counts as success. If you are able to go to a place you haven’t been yet once a year, that is success too. There is no need to push yourself to have everything all at once. Big goals are achieved through small goals.
Will I be something? Am I something? And the answer comes: You already are. You always were. And you still have time to be. (Anis Mojgan)
You don’t have to do something worthwhile each day to become the person that you want to be. You don’t have to have press features or a wide range of medals and diplomas to matter. You don’t have to go to nearly every country in the world to be something. Sometimes, you just need a day. Sometimes, you just have to take pleasure in the little things, like making yourself the perfect cup of coffee in the morning, doing at least 20 minutes on the treadmill (especially if you’re the person who has a part that dies every time someone mentions working out), cleaning out your room, sending out a postcard to an online friend. Even if you feel like you’re not doing enough, know that you already are. Try to be kinder to yourself. The most simplest goals are already enough for you to live the life that you want. Remember that –
You are here, and that is enough.
You can also read this piece on Thought Catalog.