Think with me here for a minute. Ugh, I know. Such an outlandish demand for me to make, asking you to think before you read the rest of this. Bummer dudes, but I’m thinking too. We’ll be fine, promise.
—> When was the last time you did something because you thought that’s what you should do because that’s what other people did? (No this won’t be a tired peer pressure speech you heard prior to your middle school years, btw.)
—> Now, when was the last time you did something because YOU actually thought it’s what you wanted/what was best for you?
See the difference there? In the first scenario, peer pressure, societal rules and thoughts, and all that political-slapstick-hippie dippie- back and forth mess shines its flaming light and somehow takes charge of your life. Yes, society often plays a more starring role in our lives than we do, but that’s my point. While all this influence from others, the media, and the entire ‘outside’ world in general can be (and is) super helpful in helping us journey through life deciding what to do, it can be just as detrimental for us in that it can steer us in directions with which our souls are clearly not down.
There is this perception in our culture (just pinching around at the US in this case) that there’s a finish line to be crossed. For example, say someone is striving for a really bomb-dot-com high paying job, a lifetime spent with a significant other, a degree, a home, or whatever (insert your wish here) thing. Graduations, weddings, jobs, awards and honors, and other life happenings, or milestones if you will, should be celebrated for those that choose to embrace and experience them. These milestones are important for us to move forward. *A quick note of praise, admiration, and congratulations to any of you who have/are experiencing milestones (big or small) in your lives. Kudos!* Sometimes though, these milestones turn into “finish lines”. Yes, when you graduate you have ‘finished’ that part of schooling or when you land that job that everyone exclaims is totally and utterly ‘worthy and good’, you may be ‘finished’ job searching for the time being. What I mean by finish lines, is the idea that once we complete some milestone, we automatically cross a magic line that says ‘nice going kid, you made it’. What is that line? Where is it? Who gets to cross it? And with what milestones or life experiences? GREY AREA like whoa. Life usually isn’t clear-cut, so why are we trying to slice it up with this definitive line of completion?
I was reading last night and came across a thought that stopped me mid-sentence. I read about the notion of people living vertically instead of horizontally. As I read this, my mind went to a graph of radical proportions with lots of brightly colored spiked vertical lines and stable, solid horizontal ones. I thought, ‘gee, those vertical lines sure look like they’re having a good time’! Living vertically, to me, means laughing, having fun everyday, going on adventures, taking risks, being terrified, letting go, and figuring out how rad you are. Living horizontally makes me think of stability, comfort, being terrified, calmness, ease, and apprehension. Both these vertical and horizontal attributes can be positive and negative in their own right and all are definitely parts of my life. However, personally, I feel more comfortable being in the uncomfortable lands of those vertical leaps and jumps, than I do skating along on the path of horizontal times. It seems that a more vertical lifestyle makes the route to that imaginary finish line more difficult, right? Since that line doesn’t actually exist though, that vertical-ness looks a whole heap more intriguing now, no?
Moral of the story: STOP RACING TO THE FINISH LINE! It’s not there. If something doesn’t feel right for you (or you flat-out know it’s not), get creative and find something that does work for you. Stop worrying about trying to do everything all at once, right now because you saw someone else do it or someone once said you should do that too. You have time. Take some time to think (again..!) about what it is that you want for yourself. It’s totally fine to live horizontally if that’s what works for you. It’s also ok to jump around a bit and visit the vertical lines in life. Maybe you need a delicate balance of both. All I’m saying is to work with you, wherever you are, to create the best YOU possible.
Friday love and hope to you all–I’ll see you somewhere on that graph bouncing and gliding around. 😉