Making Your Mark In An Ever-Changing World
"I have to live by the world's expectations!" said NO ONE ever!
“Life is a tapestry. It's ok if your path is not linear.”
There’s a lot of expectations that we put on ourselves…. “I must be married/own a car or a house/have a Masters degree by the time I am x years old”. Sometimes, the expectations are not material, but nevertheless, they serve as benchmarks that we’ve put for ourselves. It’s great to have goals, but it’s terrible to be so focused on them that not achieving them robs you of your joy. Or worse still, it leads you to a life of comparison against other people because if it happened for them, why not you?
If there’s one thing I believe and live by, it is that life is for discovery. I think the way society is currently structured had made us so linear with expectations that we have forgotten that we have this one chance to live and discover life. Granted, having an aim to make money is important because after all, who doesn’t want to be comfortable? At the back of that, though, we need to remember that we were born, we are here for a certain number of years which we don’t know, and we will die. With this chance - the present, which we are in and are aware of - would it not make sense to live life without being in a conveyor belt of school, work and retirement? Here are a few tips to help you discover your life and the reason for your being:
1. Make a List
Yeah. Of anything and everything that you ever want to do. Your own bucket list that if you reach the end of life, you’d be sure glad that you got a chance to do those things. Mine included skydiving, writing a book, buying my own house, spending afternoons at the Nairobi Arboretum, etc. Whenever I wake up and feel like I don’t want to do anything, I look for my list and try to see what’s the easiest and most achievable thing I can do. For those that require planning, I try to save up enough money to make it happen. Some of it takes years to happen. Some haven’t happened. But the list is true to only me and allows me to escape life’s routine.
2. Show Me Your Friends
“You know the sayings: birds of a feather flock together; show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Hang out with people that build you and help you follow your dreams - whether by inspiration or by them being an accountability mechanism. I wanted to write a book since high school. It was so hard to just start. And then my friends suggested we write one together! Knowing that I couldn’t show up to the next meeting with no progress was enough of an incentive to write a few words a day. Essentially, try to find your tribe. The people who are pursuing the same dreams as you - no matter how many dreams those may be - so that when you aren’t able to do it alone, there is someone or a group of people who will cheer you on.
3. Don’t Drop Your Hobbies
Is it only me or do you find yourself with less and less time to follow up on your hobbies? If you’re like me, work and life, in general, leave you exhausted, and sometimes all you want at the end of a long day is some peace and quiet. And before you know it it’s time for bed and the routine starts all over again the next day. You have to be selfish and carve out time for yourself, just as you carve out time to do things for people or for your boss. YOU ALSO MATTER. Life’s little joys are achieved when you engage yourself in little pleasures that have no other purpose other than to make you happy or leave you feeling satisfied and content. The environment may never be perfect. But if you don’t make time for yourself, eventually your physical and mental health will pay in time.
4. Everyone is On Their Own Lane
One of my teachers in high school used to threaten us with “You came here alone and you will leave alone!” whenever we were too cliquey. Now that I am older, I see it in a different light. My journey is mine alone. It’s my life, my decisions, my choices … because ultimately, I am the one that directly bears any consequence. With this in mind, be kind to yourself and allow your own journey to run its course and at its own pace. Like a weft or warp, sometimes you go over, sometimes under. Sometimes your life has colour and sometimes it’s gray. But when you step back and look at it holistically, you realize that all those experiences, in their totality, create the beautiful tapestry that is your life. That way, you’ll be able to wish for the stars afar and appreciate the flowers at your feet all at once without focusing too much on the future and forgetting the present.