man in white and black striped long sleeve shirt

Let’s Stop Treating Our Lives Like It Progresses in a Straight Line

We tend to think that life is a progression of milestones because we compare ourselves to the norm. We go to school, then we get the job, then we get married, have the kids, get the house, and here comes the promotion. Is the person who does not decide to go to college a failure? What if you’re not receiving your first full-time position when you’re 35? In the age of social media, we are even supposed to be happy at a young age. I see it. If I post something happy on my Instagram, I get way more likes than something that I post that shows genuinely how I feel. If you don’t follow these steps, you’re condemned. It’s better for you to stay in a job you don’t like then take a step back.

Take a Step Back

I have news for anyone who feels like their life is not going in the always upward trajectory. You are allowed to go backwards. You are allowed to stop what you’re doing right now to figure out what inspires you. I don’t think we give ourselves enough time to actually what we want. I remember choosing my university only because it was the closest school to home. It had nothing to do with what I really wanted to learn. I started majoring in business economics and did not like it. Luckily, I chose to make that change at the beginning of my second quarter. If I kept going, I would have probably felt like I was to vested in the major to change.

We go to the job we continue to complain about every day because we need the money. Once we make more money, we get deeper into not ever making a change because we are afraid that the new job that we receive won’t support our lifestyle. If we are a manager, we do not dare choose a specialist job in an industry that you have passion for because you’ll be “starting over.” It kind of feels like life is nothing but a checklist of things to do. Even though we go accomplish these things, we aren’t happier for it.

Why Are You in Love?

Let’s talk about love. We find our mate, we have the kids, but what if you’re no longer in love? It could the case that you pursued a long-term relationship through obligation alone. I know your auntie has been asking you when are you going to have kids. There is no set deadline to have any. Or to be in love for that matter. Love created from convenience usually ends in divorce. It’s not inspirational love if you only require a warm body with you when you wake up. Loneliness is a huge motivator, but it really shouldn’t be. I have a significant other, loneliness is checked off the list.

It’s okay to be alone. Eat alone. Go on dates with yourself. Lil Uzi Vert can teach you a little about dating yourself. When you hang out with yourself, you learn more about yourself. You will be allowed to know what you want and curate your own dreams without relying on another person. When it comes to meeting that special someone, you will know. Why? Because you know yourself. There’s no time limit to being in love. Sorry ladies, but your biological clock isn’t ticking. If you use that as an excuse, you’ll have your child without knowing if your relationship is truly from love.

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

Setbacks happen, but just like everything in life, they are not permanent. There will be days where you’re filled with purpose and other days where you don’t want to get out of bed. Both moods are perfectly fine. Let us not be defined by those not so stellar moments because that’s all that they are… moments. If you have an outlook of negativity because you’ve had negative outcomes, they will continue to occur. If you missed out on a promotion, you’ll be less inclined to go after a new job because you weren’t good enough in your own company. You won’t find love because you believe the last person that was with you left because you weren’t good enough. That next special someone will come into your life and hype you up as this beautiful, charming person. You won’t believe it. Not being good enough seeps into your being. Backtracking happens. Failure happens. Just because it does, doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself further from where you were before.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

If you read my blogs, you really don’t have to read this section. Life is not a race because we are not on the same track. If we were, we’re all starting from different places. There’s no conceivable way to compare anything to anyone. Let me put a new spin on this idea. Instead of comparing against people with what we can see like money, or Instagram followers, how about we start comparing ourselves to the values that we want? Wow, I wish I was as helpful as Mother Teresa. I wish I had the same type of self-control as Martin Luther King Jr. The amount of money in your bank account will never influence the amount of happiness you can receive and give. It’s hard. I get it. Even on LinkedIn, we see someone just posted that they started their dream job at Google. You’re still trying to find a salary job. Instead of envying that person, tell that person about how much they inspire you. Ask for advice. See where the help can take you on your path.

Express Yourself

Don’t be afraid to be out of the box. Even if people try to bring you down. Something I’m still learning myself. It’s okay to be the oddball. It’s okay to tell people how you really feel, and express yourself in a way that is authentic to you. I believe a good cause of our depression is the fact that we are not allowed to express ourselves in any way. We aren’t allowed to cry when we are sad. It makes us look soft. We aren’t allowed to express anger when we’re mad. It makes us look crazy. If you can’t express yourself then you depress yourself. Imagine feeling depressed because you don’t feel like you’re not on the wrong path. What is the right path? You create it.

I write all this to say that we should be living our lives. The day we put our obligations over our love and passions is the day we die. I never said going off the unbeaten path was easy, but it will always be worth it. When we settle for less than what we desire, we destroy all potential that the world has given us on our birth day. It is the greatest gift. Many of us squander it. As I’m typing, the next great artist could be creating her Mona Lisa, but she’s calculating invoices and tidying the books for the next quarter. She only does it because it pays the bills. Do what you love. Love and work shouldn’t be a separate as church and state. Once you make a living doing what you love, and I mean truly love, only then will you feel like you’ve progressed.