We may spend countless moments of our lives questioning our value, wondering if we will truly meet our potential, or if we are simply a collection of our past experiences and achievements, strung together by a Facebook timeline, some photographs, and a couple of diplomas or employee of the year awards.
We may ask ourselves what it is that truly brings us joy, and why it is that we are expected to select one area of focus when we love so many things. Why can’t we do everything? Were we not given our lives to live them as we desire?
So often, we do that which we are told is beneficial; we do that in which we excel. We may not find our truest contentment there, but it pays the bills — or doesn’t — and allows us some freedom of expression in our own time, or so we hope.
Our need for survival outweighs our passion, and when we see someone else, friend or foe, sibling or schoolmate, achieving a little faster, we are told to feel guilty that we haven’t done it ourselves. Many of us will resent those people, even if, in reality, they’re just trying to do the same as us. Others will see this from the opposite side of the spectrum and use it as motivation to take our own paths — to step on the ground before us with just a bit more enthusiasm because we know we can afford to and that deep down inside, behind the terror, we are resilient. These are the more fortunate among us.
Our world tries to pin us against one another in any possible fashion. It puts women against women, men against men, and society against the individual. It puts those with privilege before those without and those without against each other.
Society consciously endeavors to make us viciously competitive and leads us to believe that there is not enough happiness to go around for all of us.
This is not true.
What is true is that we will never have enough time to do it all, but collectively, we can do a great deal. We may not have the ability to climb mountains, visit foreign lands, or even walk down the street for a coffee this afternoon. However, we can share in the experiences of others and live through their stories.
We are taught to focus on ourselves and spend time only with those who matter because life is short and abrupt and can end at any time. Yet, this advice discounts all of the interesting, bizarre, and wonderful encounters we will have with others and through the stories of those we do not yet know.
We should do our best to enjoy every last ounce of our personal experience, as well as the ones we can derive from others. We should not compete against each other, as this is a waste of energy better employed in doing our own good. We should strive with every fragment of scrap in our bodies to grasp for happiness in each moment of our day. We should feel grateful to feel, even if it is the most intense rage or the most forlorn hopelessness, but we should never dwell. These emotions are our basis for comparison to the most joyous moments of our lives, and we will want to fill more of these with pleasure than pain.
I cannot promise this change of perspective is simple, and I cannot say it will come with ease, but I can state with my strongest confidence that together we can weave a remarkable story; it is, in fact, with the firmest conviction that I say we each deserve, and have, a part in this world to play. To allow anyone or anything to rob us of that is to squander the most valuable resource we own: our time.