Getting your first pap smear. Going to the dentist. Researching apartments. Filling out your Linkedin profile and job searching. Attending career fairs. Paying your car bill. Prioritizing getting that essay done over hanging out with friends.
Welcome to the world of adulting.
It looks differently for everyone, but it all has the same meaning. Adulting is the act of doing something that takes care of yourself, for yourself, and by yourself. It pretty much means getting your shit done.
We live in a world that defines success differently and in a variety of categories. Family, relationships/friendships, career, academics, finances, personal health (mental/physical), and spirituality. These categories are all put under a microscope when looking at success, hence it’s very difficult for people to know if they are being successful.
What do we define as success? What do we define as independent?
These are the questions I’ve found myself soul-searching for these past couple of weeks.
Less than a month away from 22, I am reflecting on how my 20s has gone so far. I think about all the hours spent on social media, watching pointless videos on YouTube, and just being lazy. I think about the times where I stressed the f*@k out over going to the dentist, going to the doctors, and finally making that leap to get contacts. I think about my grades and my academic goals that I thought I wanted, but am no longer sure. I think about my social life, or rather, lack of, and what I wish I did. Finally, I think about my finances and where I thought I’d be, but am certainly not.
Point is, these past couple weeks have been a hell of a rollercoaster in looking within myself. It hurt. There was a lot of disappointment and a lot of regrets. It just felt like shit to be honest.
I realize that I’m not where I wanted to be, but I also realized that my goals that I imposed on myself where ridiculously unattainable.
When our society defines success in more than 5 different categories, we feel so overwhelmed and like failures because we try to really focus on ALL those categories. We always feel like we are failing because there’s 1, 2, or even 3 categories that we haven’t really focused on. We can never even celebrate our wins because we just remember the failure/ lack of success in another category.
We never celebrate our wins because we remember the failures/ lack of success in other categories of societal success.
So, I ask you these quesitons:
What is your version/vision of success?
What does success mean to you?
Look at yourself in this very moment, the present. Don’t look towards the future and don’t think about “what ifs” or “shoulds”. Don’t worry about what it looks like, whether it’s a thought, sentence, word, drawing, whatever.
What does success look like to you RIGHT NOW?!
For me, success is financial independence, security, good grades, understanding all my classes’ objectives, creative writing, peace of mind, good health, learning, keeping tabs on my “nuclear” family (sociology term), and planning my career/move out plan.
Yours might be different. It might be having kids, career success, relationship, friendships, faith, and all those other endless possibilities.
Success to you is success.
It’s okay if you think of the small things like walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator. Success is success no matter how small. You don’t have to justify or seek validation from anyone on your version of success. Nobody sees the vision you see for yourself.
Success is success no matter how small.
You do not have to justify or seek validation from anyone on what success means to you.
There’s been so much on my mind when it comes to success and what I want to be. Something I’ve realized though is that it’s not always what I want to be, but rather what the world needs from me.
It’s so easy to forget that we are not the center of it all, that we come from something so much greater than ourselves.
So, I’m working on it. I’m working on what success means to me, what I need to do to get there, and checking with myself every so often to see if that’s still what I want. What we want now isn’t necessarily what we want in the future. We are constantly changing and evolving. As we grow, our needs, desires, and priorities change.
What we want now isn’t always what we want in the future. Check yourself every now and then and reevaluate.
The things I’m working on now are things I didn’t even think about a couple years ago. Dating, working on clear communication, overcoming my fear of going to the doctors, trying something new with my appearance, and learning to let certain toxic people/things go.
There is so much to look forward to in life. There is so much life to be lived and we constantly only worry and reflect on our failures. Yes, it’s important to improve, but do not allow those feelings of regret, guilt, shame, and depression into your decisions for the present.
Let yourself thrive in this new chapter. This beautiful chapter of empty blank space, waiting to be filled with all the highs and lows in your life.
A brand new chapter.