…or it can burst a pipe.
I’ve been thinking about existence and the value of life.
I have come across, in various forms, this idea of “falling behind.” First I heard it in a song called Comparison Kills by Jonathan McReynolds:
“The grass was fine
‘Til it looked greener on the other side
Now you’re believing
That you fell behind”
Not long after hearing that song and loving it (the whole album is great, by the way #MakeRoom) one of my friends was talking about feeling like he was behind. And Chrissy Metz had an Instagram post about “falling behind” and that not being a real thing. It isn’t a real thing.
When I resigned from my job, one of the things I kept mentioning to everyone around me – my boss, my co-workers, my family, was that there was this pressure to pursue what they wanted for me. Go back to school. Get your masters. You want to be a counselor, right? You can go to school for organizational psychology, industrial psychology, leadership development… And they weren’t exactly outside of what I have considered; they were just pushing me. The thing was, when I didn’t entirely seem interested, it didn’t stop the pushing. Don’t get me wrong, I am no less than blessed to have people in my life who believe in me. What I found unbearable was the external pressure to obtain this “higher level” that I wasn’t ready for.
I spent the next seven months without a job. My uncle was gracious enough to open his home. While that doesn’t sound like the same opportunity for growth as grad school, I can guarantee you I was challenged and grew. I had to sit with me 24/7. That was a lot of time thinking, avoiding, processing, learning, hoping, wishing, crying, relaxing, exhaling, rebuilding, recharging, questioning, being humbled and grateful.
I needed that. Only I knew that. So many people were unsure about my decision. “You don’t quit a job without having another one lined up.” I knew what I needed and that is my point. There is no barometer for success but the one we set for ourselves. If you want 7 Ph.D.’s, then get yo 7 doctorates! If you want to be a full-time musician, artist…do that! I think success is defined by growth, is not always on the surface and whether or not success has been “achieved” is an intrinsic determination.
Nonetheless, we get caught up in what society tells us should be the next step. We see what everyone else is doing, how “great” their lives look, how much they have accomplished by whatever age and measure that to where we are/were at that moment.
But you know what?
you. aren’t. them. Two different people with two different skill sets and, probably, two different desires. Your paths to success do not have to look the same!
The next couple lines of that song I referenced earlier is, “But why try to match what should be one of a kind / You’re one of a kind” There is no “behind.” Behind where? You are where are supposed to be. Make the most of that moment because it doesn’t last forever. Life doesn’t last forever.
I did not, do not, want to spend my life under unnecessary pressure that threatens to burst me instead of helping shape me into the bright, shiny, glistening diamond I am to become. Pressure itself is not bad – which is obvious considering how many people are walking around with diamonds on their wrist, neck and grills; but it is important to not beat yourself up chasing someone else’s dream, causing undue stress and shaving years off of this beautiful life.
Life is for living. Enjoy it.
…just my thoughts…
P.S. By the way, diamonds are thought to be billions of years old. They weren’t rushed.