What is it about modern-day life that makes you feel like you’re playing a constant game of catch-up? Sometimes I feel like I’ve only just closed the book on one challenge before I start thinking about how to conquer what’s next. It seems as though the satisfaction gleaned from achieving something, however great, is always fleeting – a momentary jolt of pride that dissipates quicker than it arrived as your brain starts to cloud itself with future hopes, dreams, worries and anxieties.
Maybe its a generation Y thing. Born into the age of technology and instantaneous gratification, perhaps we’ve been conditioned from a young age to expect our personal and professional development to advance at the speed of lightning. We’ve forgotten what it means to let something run its course; because surely there’s a way to circumvent the waiting time of said course – there must be some shortcut, a quick fix. Not only do we expect our lives to run like clockwork, but we place immense pressure on ourselves to ensure that they do, and subsequent blame and disparagement in the (highly likely) event that they don’t.
These realisations come after four years of channelling my heart soul and energy into my career throughout which I’ve been lucky to have been commended and rewarded. While it felt incredible to be acknowledged and know that effort and commitment I exerted towards my career had not been in vain – I hardly let myself enjoy success the way I should have. I barely even meditated on what it meant to have achieved what I had or how it made me feel – I immediately started looking ahead to new horizons and trying to strategize how I would climb the next monstrous mountain peak of unrealistic goals I set myself.
Some call it blind ambition, or the “need to succeed” syndrome – but I call it a crying shame. It took a few sobering conversations with loved ones to make me realize just how little I credit or celebrate my own achievements, and how obsessed I am with keeping the proverbial graph of life at a constant upwards curve.
At the risk of sounding like the unfortunately yet undeniably catchy “YOLO” song, I think we can all stand to live in the moment sometimes. Too often do we get stuck on one element of our lives, singling it out as the make-or-break contributing factor to our personal happiness and fulfilment. Life, and happiness for that matter, is the sum of all parts. It’s a big, wonderful pie with all kinds of different flavoured slices in varying shapes and sizes that come together to form a strange but exciting and delicious combination.
Set time aside to take stock of all the things in life that make you happy – whether it’s family and friends, loved ones, your career, hobbies and interests or even material possessions. Count your blessings and acknowledge that there is no super-goal or life event that will bestow unlimited bliss upon you. Know that its very okay to not know what life has in store for you, and that you don’t have to conform to the cookie-cutter standards of what makes a “happy and successful life”. No two people’s pies are ever the same, nor should they be.
Until next time, dear readers.