“Make sure you finish your studies and graduate at the right time—no delays. Then head straight to finding a job. Go work your way up the corporate ladder until you reach the highest position. If you’ve reached it, work even harder and never ever stop. Quick, or time is going to leave you. Keep grinding and keep on moving.”
Do those sentences hit close to home to you as it did mine?
My whole life felt like I was participating in a rat race with no finish line in sight—just lots of obstacles and thousands of people competing with and against me. I try my best and hardest to surpass those challenges, yes, but when will I finally reach that finish line so I can finally rest? I have been running and sprinting for so long that I am afraid I do not know how to stop anymore.
I grew up scared of disappointing others so I had to portray an image that I was not spending my time to waste. I was pressured and rushed to figure out what my dreams are. Unfortunately, I realized my dreams a little too late so I “wasted” a lot of time going for “goals” that I thought would help me be successful and fulfilled.
But honestly? I just wanted at least a day off to be with myself. But how can I do that if the people around me are urging me to sprint every single day? My (ex) boss used to message me late at night and early in the morning as if making a wake up call that my job is never done. “Don’t miss the train”, he always say.
Another instance is when I am with my friends and all we talk about are our careers, accomplishments, and plans for the next day which sometimes feel like we are competing against each other. It is like we are silently asking each other “Who makes more money?”, “Who gets more praise from their boss?”, “Who is busier?”
As if being busy is the only acceptable image for people to consider that you are making the most out of your life.
I always used to be proud that I am a “skilled” multi-tasker but when I really thought about it, is it really something that does well to me?
Being a multi-tasker, I basically have to juggle all these deadlines and requirements in a short amount of time to the point that when I finish all of it, I am not fulfilled at all. I am busy, yes, but I am also exhausted, burnt-out, and uninspired.
Why can’t we just sit down, even for a second, and laugh about the mundane things we did for the day? Why can’t we talk about how we tripped while hopping down the stairs? Or how we saw a cute corgi with its huge butt walking across the road?
Why can’t we just stop rushing and hit the brakes for a little while? Maybe then you will discover what you really are meant to be.
Like what happened to me.
I finally got tired of the race. I quit and lost interest in sprinting my way to reach that finish line.
I realized that the reason I am participating in this race is not for me, but for others. I am rushing my way through life just so I can prove to others that I know what I am doing and I am not wasting even a second of my time. I wanted others to look at me like I have a direction I am following and a life path that is already well laid-out in front of me.
I realized I am living my life for others and I needed that to change.
The first step I made was to leave my job. It brought me all levels of anxiety and fears during the process but it was all worth it and I don’t think I am returning back to the corporate scene any sooner. That corporate ladder isn’t just for me to climb on.
So now, I spend my day living life like how I dreamt it should be: Getting 8 hours of sleep each day, eating complete meals, drinking lots of water, reading books, and discovering new skills. I finally got to take care of my body and do some workout.
I spend time with my family and friends I haven’t seen in a long time. I cut my hours off on social media (or sometimes completely ignored it) and I felt loads lighter. I do not ask how my friends are at work or what their current career plans are and I do not feel pressured to force myself to do things anymore.
More importantly, I have never missed a sunset (my favorite thing in the world) ever again.
I am now actually more inspired to conquer life… but at my own pace.
I started to spend my life walking and soaking in my surroundings until my dream—my true calling—was the one that made its way to me.
Because I had so much time in my hands and my heart is light and at ease, I was able to write again. Before, I just wrote everything and anything under the stars; more of a hobby if you must say. But now, being with myself and slowly discovering my skills has helped me and my craft find its purpose.
I want to inspire others through my writing. I want to give career and personal advice and help people in their journey of self growth and development. I want to push people to be their very best while still enjoying what life has to offer—and there is a lot to offer.
So now that I know what I want to do, am I finally re-joining the race? Maybe. Or maybe I am just starting a race on my own. A race where I can walk, sometimes run, jog, and hit the brakes when necessary.
Remember that as long as it is for you, your self-growth, and self-discovery, you are wasting no time at all so hang in there and don’t feel the need that you have to rush your way into everything.
Trust me, life is definitely more worth living if you’re living for yourself.