First and foremost, I just want my peers to understand that it’s okay not to have it altogether. It’s okay if you’re not balling right now, if you’re not working your dream job, if you didn’t get those A* grades or even if you haven’t reached your ‘glo up’ yet…
You don’t have to have your life together by 18, 19 or even your early 20’s.
I feel as if nowadays young people from the ages of 16-24-year-olds put themselves under tremendous pressure to have their lives together and for things to “fall into place” immediately. I can’t quite put my finger on why this is the case but one of the reasons I believe this is, is due to our “standards” and expectations we have on our lives based on the materialistic “goals” portrayed on social media; mostly perpetuated by ourselves and other “successful” individuals. Let’s face it, whether we like it or not social media (and the internet) is an incredibly influential platform and the greatest form of socialisation the world has seen to-date. Kind of like a modern “age of enlightenment”… We learn more about how to navigate through life, politics, history, culture, sex, relationships and more than we do through school, through our family and even experience.
Young women see the Kylie Jenner’s and Zendaya’s of the world on the catwalk and in front of the camera who appear to be living out their dreams and attaining high levels of success in their young years. Young men see the successful businessmen with the money or the respected rappers with ‘all the women’ and desire to have the same. Sometimes we even look at these successful people and ask ourselves “what am I really doing in life?”, “why am I not successful yet?” “Is it too late for me?”… It’s easy (but not wise) to compare where we are in our lives to where others are in theirs. We all have different circumstances. Some people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Some people worked their way from the bottom to the top. We are all at different stages in life for a reason.
Look at your life and your peers around you. Is everyone driving a Mercedes Benz? No. Are they all living their dreams and completely satisfied in life with no cares in the world? No. Are they all taking trips to a new country every weekend? No. Are they all 100% financially stable? No. Most probably, they’re taking life step by step and grinding – by any means necessary. See, what we have to instil in our minds is that material wealth is the ambition but not the standard for “winning” in life. What should it matter if person X has more money in their bank account than you do? Or if they obtained their wealth illegitimately? Your main concern shouldn’t be competing or getting one up on person X. You should be so focused on getting yours and not watching every single thing that others are doing.
Don’t succumb to the pressure from society to make it seem like you have your life together. Follow your own path. Quit idolising what others have and being intimidated by another person’s success.
I’m sure we all have goals in life. I have no doubt that our generation are driven and ambitious people. We all have a ‘why’: the driving force behind our motivation to succeed. I’m not suggesting that you scrap your goals or ditch your expensive taste. In fact, I’m encouraging you all to create goals and achieve them so that they become your lifestyle; not a false account of your life to stunt for Instagram. You can create the life you want without mimicking or idolising the lives of others.
Those “perfect” images on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and even what you see on reality TV shows are all constructed. These people seem to be living the life but that’s not always the case. Don’t let people fool you into thinking that these goals happen overnight or make you feel you must have certain things/be a certain way and if you don’t have them you don’t have anything. We don’t always receive immediate gratification, approval nor acceptance from doing x, y and z. Don’t let these perfect images fool you or give you false hope in believing you’re meant to live a certain lifestyle.
It’s amazing how we are so quick to catch on trends or so willing to try out every product under the sun spending our money on pointless things. But, what can we really do in our designer clothes? “Stunt” (literally) on Snapchat? because the superficial things we chase don’t help us grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually nor are they an investment in our futures. Maybe, the things we are into has changed but when we go out of our way, compromise our values and exhaust ourselves just for image then we need to realise a) we’re doing way too much to impress others and b) we’ve got our priorities messed up.
You see, when you attain a certain lifestyle because of image you’ll always be competing with someone else. The more you get the more you have to be accustomed to that lifestyle and the more you wear yourselves out doing so. Money is there to be used but it’s not the be all and end all. We like nice things but it doesn’t mean we should be a slave to it. Remember, once we get all these nice things our problems don’t just disappear. Those Balenciaga’s won’t make you happy forever.
Comparison is the thief of all joy and you will never be able to be happy in your life if you keep referring to others as perfect, the ‘standard’ or ‘goals’ by mimicking them and not being yourself. You can admire but don’t covet others.
As for now, the majority of us are in the same boat. I assume many 16-21 year olds in the UK are in formal education (so basically we’re all trying to make it out here). There’s no cheat code for getting what you want or discovering your life’s purpose. You live it out by experimenting and working with what you’re good at, what draws you, what you love, what wakes you up in the morning. You need to consider the meaning, priority of and the timing in the things you seek in life. If you know what you want then what’s for you will be for you. If you work for it, it will come to fruition.
We are intelligent and ambitious individuals. We all have that one thing we would love to accomplish before we leave this earth – that one goal that is precious and we hold dear to our heart. I want you to know that the meaning of success is subjective. If you’re still finding it hard to focus on walking your path and think someone else’s life seems so “easy”, look at it from this point of view: Nobody really shows off they’re struggles. Be discerning. Create a strong sense of self-worth and value so nothing can knock you down. Next time you doubt what yourself and achievements know you are a working progress. You have so much more great things to come if you stay focused – don’t just take things at face value. There are lessons to learn in hardships.
You’re conviction is your conviction and what is yours will be yours. Understand no one can be better at being you than you. So, whatever you’re working at just make sure it’s what you want, not what society tells you should have. We’re only susceptible to feeling inferior or intimidated when we don’t believe in our selves and abilities. Please, don’t be so hard on yourself! There’s a difference between knowing you can do better and discontentedness. Live your life in freedom, not in fear. When you FOCUS on getting yourself together and not comparing to what you have and others all will be well. You’ll be secure in your decisions and at peace in your mind.
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at will change.
First published on SnatchedXO.