*I apologise in advance for my liberal use of quotation marks in this piece
Being an overthinker is really hard work. I have a life crisis every other week because I constantly analyse whether I am doing the “right” thing with my life. Of course I realise that there is no definitive answer or even guideline for what the right thing is, but that doesn’t stop my preoccupation with it.
I think ideas of what constitutes success have changed. Suddenly, being a self-made millionaire or celebrity isn’t something we blink an eye at. The internet has opened up seemingly infinite ways of creating and showcasing your own brand. Instagram is full of people who appear to be living their dream and making money from it. Meanwhile we are being sold the idea that we can have it all too- and maybe we can. But for me, this idea makes me feel under an immense amount of pressure to find my “thing”.
As much as I wish it were different, I am not in a position right now that I can just quit my job and magically get paid for writing. For some reason the fact that I can’t, despite having not really tried yet, makes me feel like I have already failed. People seem to skip over that time when they had to work jobs that weren’t “feeding their soul” or bringing them closer to finding their #tribe.
However, I had an interesting conversation that made me think a bit differently about what my own personal goals are. My partner asked me to ignore jobs and money for a minute, and think about what it is that makes me feel happy and fulfilled. It took me longer than expected to come up with an answer. I guess I am so used to trying to work out how fulfilment can come from employment, I haven’t thought it about it in a more general sense in a long time.
What I eventually decided, was that I feel my happiest when I am pushing my limits and learning new things. Whether that’s seeing my fitness and flexibility improve or when I am reading a book that I can just barely understand. It might sound a bit pretentious but it genuinely makes me feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment. That being said I don’t exactly live a life of non-stop adventure. In fact I have had a few frustrating months in terms of how much I’ve been capable of doing, as my body keeps demanding rest.
The reason that thinking about this made me feel positive, is because there are loads of things I can do right now to feel more stretched and fulfilled. I don’t have to quit my job (yet). Maybe I just need to master something new or even just finish one of the many projects I have put to the side.
The other thing that I found encouraging was that my partner had a completely different answer to me. He said that what makes him happy is just being silly and having a laugh, it doesn’t matter to him what he’s doing. If everyone is different, then maybe I can stop being jealous of those instagram celebs and life coaches. Maybe I would hate keeping up with the demands that come along with that and leaving myself open to public scrutiny.
Maybe I need to alter my measure of success completely. I mean I just put a load of washing on and made a delicious roast dinner. That’s some pretty successful adulting right there if you ask me!