I am not living. Have you ever said this sentence out loud to someone else?
Maybe you think it’s late at night when you are still up reading emails and drinking your fourth cup of coffee for the day. Maybe it crosses your mind while you’re stuck in traffic for the fifth time this week and all you can think about are all of the things you would rather be doing and all of the places you would rather be than in your car on a road called an expressway that is somehow anything but fast. But have you ever said it out loud? Have you ever let your guard down long enough to be honest with someone when they ask how you are doing? Most of us are never good when we say we are. Why do we do this?
Why do we pretend to have it all together when most days we are struggling to even get out of bed?
I think we are all afraid. We are all afraid to admit that the perfectly curated lives we have been taught to boast about are not as they may seem. We have taken to living behind a filter instead of facing our pain, and we have all grown so used to seeing these facades that we have started to accept them as reality. This cannot be how we were meant to live our lives.
We spend our days working and our nights awake worrying. We are so afraid of what comes next that often we do not take advantage of the opportunities that come our way. We have been conditioned to believe that we are unworthy unless we work ourselves half to death; our world has made happiness synonymous with productivity. I don’t think any of us are truly living.
We lose ourselves to jobs that wouldn’t think twice about having to let us go. So much of our lives are spent sitting behind desks doing work that drains us, but this is what we have always known, so this is what we do. When we dream of something beyond what the world has prescribed for us, we are often treated as less than for trying to choose a different path. The artist is no less productive than the doctor; no one’s work is less worthy than another’s. The world we live in wouldn’t be possible without each piece holding it together. We all have value and are needed here. And I hope one day you will believe that, even if you have always been told otherwise.
If you want to change your life, you need to start by living it. Going through the motions will only take you so far; eventually, you will no longer be able to pretend. You have to take care of yourself physically and mentally. You have to tell yourself that you deserve to live the life you have always dreamed of, even if the dream you have is vastly different from what someone might have wanted for you. Please don’t spend your years living the way you think you are supposed to just to please everyone around you. If every decision you make and all of the work you choose to do is based upon what someone else wants for you, you are hurting yourself more than you might ever realize. If you woke up today and someone asked if you were living the life you wanted to, what would your answer be?
If it isn’t yes, I hope you let yourself pursue all of the things that will make your life what you want it to be. If it isn’t yes, please don’t give up on yourself.
Today is always the perfect day to start living.