This is an open letter to the twenty-somethings (or the any-somethings) who are still moving through life on a timeclock. Those of us who are beating our brains over all of the things in our day-to-day lives we're "failing" at. Those of us who keep wondering "when am I going to have it all together?"
The answer is never baby.
I apologize if this comes off pessimistic or disappointing. No one with goals ever wants to believe that those goals won't come to fruition - and that's actually not what I'm preaching here. As a newly thirty-something who spent my twenties trying to get my shit together I'd be remiss if I didn't share the single most monumental lesson I've learned: aiming for a life well-lived is much more fulfilling than a life filled with completed checklists.
The idea of having it all together implies that as humans we are inherently perfect, that life is predictable, and that we can control most of what happens in our day-to-day. Sure we can aim for the perfect healthy eating record, spotless home, excellent job performance, a social image that garners envy and (insert other goals here) but life just doesn't work that way.
There will be days you don't feel like cooking or cleaning. The days will come where that job no longer feels fulfilling and it's time to move on. Relationships and partnerships will end and start again. The world we're navigating will not always hand you the ideal scenario. So if you're grading yourself on the ability to create an ideal life in an intrinsically unpredictable world - how is that fair to you?
In a previous episode of The Good Up Podcast, we discussed the importance of choosing joy and the different ways we've chosen to step away from societal pressures in search of joy. A huge part of the conversation on choosing joy requires us to reevaluate our goals and priorities and where within them we create space for our emotions. Choosing joy challenges us to set goals according to how we want to feel versus what we want to do.
If your goal isn't centered in your own joy or peace then what is the work and sacrifice for?
Today we're encouraging you to reevaluate the goals you've set for yourself and ask yourself how you'd like to feel after accomplishing those goals. Once you identify those feelings, think of other activities in life that might bring you the same kind of positive emotions. In a world determined to take away our joy in every facet it's up to us to seek and choose joy for ourselves.
Does this mean not to pursue the new job? The new degree? The health goal? No. It is, however, a challenge to question the motivations behind them and give yourself GRACE for not being able to do it all every single day.
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
-Dawna Markova, From "I Will Not Die an Unlived Life"