“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward” – Victor Kiam
Recently, I’ve been feeling as though I’m behind in my life — social media paints such a vivid picture of what our lives should look like at every given age that we often forget what we’re aiming at. Luxury cars, moving out with our significant other, getting married… If you look too closely, you’ll find that there’s no shortage of achievements we need to have at a certain age.
I’m here to remind you (and myself for that matter) that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now, and perhaps it’s time we took accountability for our lives and the metrics that we judge ourselves by. There is no schedule or timetable that we must adhere to. It is all made up. We are all vastly unique with different aspirations, dreams, and lives that will make us feel the most fulfilled — but this looks different for everyone, and so will your path.
Instead of focusing on these external metrics, let’s focus instead on what’s inside of us—the parts of us that make us human. These are the things that luxury can’t buy, and ultimately, the things that matter most when we look back at our lives:
1. Instead of focusing on your social life, how are the quality of your relationships?
If the quantity of your relationships serves as a metric for the quality, then we need to change our standards. The quality of our relationships will dictate how connected we feel to those around us; if we aren’t connected on an emotional, authentic, deep level to the people that we love, then we may always feel alone no matter who or what we surround ourselves with.
Focus on quality, not quantity. The two are not one of the same.
2. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.
If you don’t necessarily have the career that you’ve dreamt of, what are you working towards in this moment now? If you are working towards a goal that’s true and authentic to who you are, then you are not behind in your life, you are simply working towards something bigger than most people are. Not only is this commendable, but it will pay off immensely over time. Delaying gratification is perhaps one of the most vital skills there is to living a fulfilling life.
3. Instead of focusing on how your life looks, focus on how it feels.
It’s so easy to judge our lives from the outside — but in doing so, we forget to judge the quality of our lives on the inside and how we feel on a regular basis. So many people’s lives may look amazing on the outside, but they aren’t feeling fulfilled on the inside. It’s so important to begin changing the belief that we have to have all these things in our lives in order to be happy. It’s time to change that narrative and create a new one based on our own personal values.
4. Instead of focusing on your past mistakes, focus on the growth you’ve made.
There is so much you have to be proud of. You may not be able to change the past but you always have the opportunity to look towards the future, taking the lessons that came from your past to build and create a better life for yourself. This is a gift — don’t take it for granted. Focus on the growth you’ve made, not your perceived shortcomings that hold you back.
5. Instead of focusing on the future, focus on the present.
The only experience we ever have is this moment now. No matter what we desire to have, the mind has a funny way of telling us that we are or don’t have enough. If we live our lives constantly wanting and believing that we need more, we can never fully immerse ourselves in this moment now. While it’s important to save, plan, and consciously work towards a future, never allow the future to cloud your appreciation for the present moment. It’s in the moment now that we are able to find real joy in the things that we do, the people that we surround ourselves with, and the memories we can create for ourselves.
I hope these words serve as a gentle reminder that you are doing just fine. I hope these words give you the courage to breathe, relax, and know that if you are doing the best that you can, then you should be proud of where life has taken you now. Your life is not on anyone else’s schedule. Your life is your own. Never forget that.