In a first world country here in North America, the constant emphasis in the younger generation to do well in highschool and continuing on to a well recognized university preferably, or college isn’t short of obsessive.
That might seem like an aggressive way to describe how our way of life should be, but I really do believe it can be overwhelming, thus obsessive. Knowing people in Jamaica or Africa, being third and fourth world countries, I have witnessed those who can testify that entering North America is so fast paced it’s almost as though time has it’s own agenda, and if you don’t get the memo it’s your loss. My thought today is more then thinking about the way we not necessarily choose to live, but just live.
More specifically I reflected on my own self.
“We are very good at preparing to live,
but not very good at living”
I turned 26 years old today and I guess I am experiencing a mini post-quarter of a century crisis! I took the time to analyze my years of being out of highschool.
My conclusion is that I am guilty of being so caught up in our system of living, the way society portrays it.
We hear it in songs about earning money, we see it on the media.
The show Suits for example contributes to our thinking on either a conscious or subconscious level, don’t get me wrong it’s an excellent show, it just portrays an unrealistic, almost unattainable lifestyle that not just everyone can have.
Even if you do have it all, money, the looks, cars, homes, etc it almost seems like with all the sacrificing of time, money and energy that really in the end were merely sacrificing ourselves, were wearing ourselves thin.
It’s funny because people, especially myself, take so long to prepare to live life. I have and did.
I researched university’s while finishing high school, after secondary school I attended classes of interest, with no set plan in mind but just to ween out, like weeds, what I like and dislike. I eventually found something I liked, I got married, yet there’s still expectations to achieve more, have more, earn more, obtain more.
I realized since turning 26 and looking back on my life, that I have spent the better part of it preparing for “the future”.
Well the future becomes the present, until the past takes over and we look ahead for the future.
The never ending cycle of time, yet when the future becomes my present, I still don’t feel prepared.
I date back further, to elementary school, middle school, it all required preparing for the next phases of life.
I stopped and thought about all this and again I’ll say it, I think a lot of us (not all) people in North America do a great job at preparing to live, but we have lost touch with what it means to truly be living. Humans are funny, we know how to sacrifice years for a diploma of some sort, as I mentioned prior.
We are willing to work so hard just to get those shoes, that car, that job, that promotion, that dress, that wedding, that house and so on and so forth.
We strive to attain what we can’t have or aspire to have and tire our selves out while doing it.
We seem to have a difficult time with remembering why we are living and that we are alive in the present moment, which is the only moment for us to be alive.
No matter your religious denomination surely everyone must wonder “what’s the point” and “what does this all mean” , sound familiar?
If you really think about it, we literally chase the future and yet when the future comes, we chuck it in the past searching for more goals to stress us out and behave insane over.
Aspiring to obtain short term as well as long term goals is healthy but not when we forget what lies beyond these superficial things.
Life is short, anything can happen, we should make something of ourselves, absolutely!
However I don’t think we are equipped as a society to know how to truly live, we just know how to prepare, complain, compare, forget, yearn and prepare more.
I decided that at 26, and it wont be perfect mind you, but I really decided to challenge myself.
I vow to myself that I will learn to relish in the moment and enjoy the present.
As, it is in a sense a gift, it was once the future becoming my present time, and why not enjoy it?
I will this year learn that I don’t need to suddenly have my future career in my hands.
Sure I have obtained post secondary schooling, I plan to finish my degree and eventually obtain a masters.
However I don’t have to own a house, have a degree, be married, have kids, have 3 hobbies, traveled the world and own a cute pet just like “Sally” next door has.
Were all completely different and thus our journey’s will not resemble alike.
I will attempt to take each day as it comes and not obsess over the loans I have to pay off, panicking about how long it’s taking me to get on my degree, compare how I haven’t even started having kids yet, envying those who aren’t going through marital issues, desiring to own a home and the list could literally..go..on..
After realizing how many years I spend stressing over these things our society is comfortable with stressing about, I really feel conflicted with taking a moment and accepting where I’m at and truly living in the moment, with the life I’ve painted for myself versus getting caught up in life’s busy whirlwind.
I wonder what our culture would look like if we knew how to live in the now rather then vicariously through our future selves?
I challenge anyone that reads this to ask yourself, “Do you spend more time living or preparing to live?” “Do you do better at preparing to live or by actually living?”