So by the time I am 30: I will become a renowned author with a best selling book, become a personal trainer, become a doctor, marry the man of my dreams by 26, build an empire to be reckoned with, and walk in my God-given purpose!”
– Goals written for older self by my younger self.
I never planned to be in the place I’m in at 27 and with 30 quickly approaching I ask myself what happened to all the dreams I had for myself? By now I should be writing this on some exotic beach, watching the sun go down with the cold drink of my choice. Of course by now, I would have graduated with my doctorate, married, and maybe the attempts for children would have started by now as well.
We all have them. But who sets all of these guidelines of when and whom to marry, what career paths you take, and this so called “dream” that we must all fit into? And furthermore, who said we had to do it all by a certain age so that we aren’t the last ones in our circles, to be “unaccomplished”?
Perhaps I am pondering too hard but, maybe (just maybe) life is not a race. Maybe it’s not where you compete against other athletes to a finish line in order to be hailed ‘first place’. I mean what if we saw life as what it is and not a competition against the next person?
Maybe, just maybe we can celebrate the success of our peers without feeling threatened that our own success will somehow be thwarted. Weddings, graduations, business successes, would all celebrated as if it were our own. Celebration without feeling like there is some pot of success that will deplete and we will be left without because Tom, Suzy, or Nike took all of it. Let’s not be juvenile, there is enough success to go around, but somehow we still feel threatened, and our success dampened.
Maybe, God designed life so that we don’t all blossom at once, so that all of our seasons of life are not in sync, and we won’t mirror each other’s lives at every moment; and perhaps with good reason. Perchance the seasons that we have conquered make us advisors for those who are currently going through it. And instead of building a pedestal to sit on we offer a hand to others because we want their success as well. Like it is said:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1):”
As I grow older, I find myself less and less concerned with fitting into some preconceived notion of how my life ought to be. Or trying desperately to fit into what I thought my life should look like and comparing it to others. Gone are the days of comparison and trying desperately to fit into a box God never created me to fit in, competing and comparing, and participating in “rat races”.
Does the sun ask itself, “Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?” No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?” No it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?” No, it burns, it shines.”
Maybe God created each of us to bloom in different seasons with different gifts and callings specifically for that season. And just maybe, our lives were never intended to look at all like those around us and that’s perfectly fine. Maybe the only race we run is against ourselves…
Kelechi is a Nurse and aspiring writer, aiming to impact today’s youth to live their best lives through her writing. More of her work can be found at perfectwithpurpose.