Having finished the uni semester about two weeks ago, I’m feeling peculiarly relaxed at the present time. Only two jobs and one volunteering position are currently fighting for my time, and to be perfectly honest, it’s a bit of a shock to the system to have nothing pressing to work on while enjoying my days at home.
It’s brought to mind something I’ve been dwelling over with increasing frequency as of late. Who are we when we’re not achieving?
I understand that this may sound petulant and childish to some, but it’s really been bugging me. I’ve been struggling to find that delicate balance between being calm and happy to be alive, and being bored out of my brain. So much of my life is driven by the need to get things done – the next assignment, the next day at work, striving to get good grades, to do the right thing by my boss, to support others, to get enough sleep.
When that’s all taken away, and semester ends, and my grades fleetingly make me happy but are then added to a pile of ‘Past Successes’, with the future the more real and pressing issue, I can’t help but wonder what I’m missing out on by constantly being stuck in tomorrow. I remind myself of the excellent Humans of New York post discussing one’s future self, but think that perhaps my short term self is missing out.
I had a good conversation with my lovely father recently. Amongst pontificating about animal species and interrogating me about my studies, he gave me a piece of very good advice – life is not a race, and being the most stressed out, the hardest worker, or the most overextended, does not mean you’re ‘winning’. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and reminding myself regularly – life is not a race.
I’ll leave you with a song that’s captured some of my mood lately, in the form of ‘Happy Healthy Citizen of the Developed World Blues.