Understand that life is not a straight line. Life is not a fixed timeline of milestones. It’s okay if you don’t finish school, get married, get a job that supports you, have a family, earn and live comfortably at this or that age.
It is okay if you do, as long as you understand that if you are not married by 25, or vice-president by 30, or even happy, the world will not condemn you. You can go back.
You can figure out what inspires you. You have time, and I think we often forget that. We choose a program right after high school because the right thing to do is to go straight to college. We choose a job right after college, even if we don’t like the program, because we just invested time in it.
We go to work every morning because we feel the need to support ourselves in abundance. We take the next step, and the next step, and the next step again, thinking we are fulfilling some checklist for life, and one day we wake up depressed. We wake up stressed. We feel pressured and we don’t know why. That’s how we ruin our lives.
And what about our need to accelerate relationships? Why are we so in love with the idea of becoming someone’s rather than someone first? Believe me when I tell you that a love generated by convenience, a love that blossoms from the need to sleep next to someone, a love that satisfies our need for attention rather than passion, is a love that will not inspire you at 6 a.m. when you roll over and embrace it.
Strive to discover foundational love, the kind of relationship that motivates you to be a better man or woman, the kind of intimacy that is rare and not there. “But I don’t want to be alone,” we often exclaim..
Being alone. Eating alone, going out with friends, sleeping alone. In the midst of all this you will learn about yourself. You will grow, you will discover what inspires you, you will cherish your dreams, your beliefs, your incredible clarity, and when you meet the person who makes your cells dance, you will be certain, because you are certain of yourself. Expect. I urge you to wait for it, to strive for it if you have already found it, because it is the most beautiful thing your heart will ever experience.
You ruin your life by letting your past rule it. It is normal for certain things to happen in life. There will be heartbreak, confusion, days when you feel you are not special or have no purpose.
There are moments that will stay with you, words that will stay with you. You cannot allow these things to define you: they were simply moments, they were simply words. If you allow every negative event in your life to shape the way you see yourself, you will see the world around you in a negative way.
You will lose opportunities because you did not get that promotion five years ago, convincing yourself that you were stupid. You will lose affection because you thought your past love left you because you weren’t good enough, and now you don’t believe the man or woman pushing you to believe that you are.
This is a self-fulfilling cyclical prophecy. If you do not allow yourself to get past what happened, what was said, what was felt, you will look at your future through that lens and nothing can break that judgment. You will continue to justify, relive and nurture a perception that should never have existed.
You ruin your life when you compare yourself to others. The number of Instagram followers does not decrease or increase your worth. The amount of money in your bank account does not affect your compassion, intelligence or happiness. Those who have twice your assets do not have twice the joy or merit. We get carried away with what our friends like, what our partners follow, and in the end this not only ruins our lives but ruins ourselves. It creates in us the need to feel important, and in many cases we tend to belittle others to achieve this.
We ruin our lives by desensitizing ourselves. We are all afraid to say too much, to feel too deeply, to let people know what they mean to us. Caring is not synonymous with insanity. Expressing to someone how special they are to you will make you vulnerable. This is undeniable. However, there is no shame in it. There is something extraordinarily beautiful about the moments of small magic that occur when we bare our souls and are honest with those who are important to us. Let that girl know that she inspires you. Tell your mother that you love her in front of your friends. Express, express, express. Open up, don’t stiffen in front of the world, and be courageous with who and how you love. There is courage in that.
If you tolerate it, you ruin your life. At the end of the day you should be thrilled to be alive. When you settle for anything less than what you innately desire, you destroy the possibility that lives within you and in doing so you betray yourself and the world of your potential. The next Michelangelo could be sitting behind a Macbook right now writing a bill with paper clips, because that is how you pay your bills, or because it is convenient, or because you can tolerate it. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t ruin your life this way. Life and work, life and love are not independent of each other. They are intrinsically linked. We must strive to do extraordinary work, we must strive to find extraordinary love. Only then can we access an extraordinary blissful life.