“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.” – Socrates
Lately I’ve realised something: so many people experience feelings of unhappiness because they feel like they haven’t managed to live up to their expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people do actually set out to achieve what they intend to, God only knows how, but I take my hat off to these magical unicorns, welldone.
What I’ve noticed on the flipside however, is that due to feelings of dissatisfaction which occur when targets aren’t met at the anticipated times, often people will rush into things (sometimes before they’re truly ready) all in a bid to catch up to the version of themselves that they think they should’ve evolved into by now. Or worse still, the version of themselves that they believe that those around them expect them to be (I think that made sense 😛 ).
And then far on the other end of the spectrum looking like a tiny dot is me, waving my hands in the air like a lunatic. I’m constantly setting myself targets, yes, but they’re mostly short term ones, i.e. never further than one year down the line (and even that’s a stretch for me!). I’ve got a bunch of random goals that I’d like to achieve, sure, but honestly in my mind there’s never been a time limit to achieve them. Generally, I just tend not to expect too much; if it happens, great, if it doesn’t, I’ll just keep swimming is essentially the Finding Nemo- inspired mantra that I live by.
I’ve always been this way though and to be honest I only really notice my overly laid back attitude to life when I talk to people who have a polar opposite mindset, the types of go-getter people who know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it. It can be quite full on and intimidating at times when I encounter such aliens.
Ok no, truth be told, they’re probably the normal ones in this scenario; I am the alien. So does that mean that there’s something wrong with me? Should I too crave a more structured and certain life? Do I need to start seeing things in black and white as opposed to various shades of grey? I don’t know. Maybe I should start by figuring out why I have this mindset in the first place. Could it be because I’m immature? Or perhaps I shy away from responsibility? Or else it’s plausible that I fear the backlash of expecting too much and things not panning out as I hope…ah how I enjoy playing therapist!
But no seriously, I don’t think that there’s one definitive answer. One thing I know for sure is that the mindset that I have shields me from a lot of unnecessary stress, because I tend to deal with things as they come my way, rather than anticipating what I’ll do if/when said event occurs. And all in all, I’m ok with that. I lead a real life, not a hypothetical one. And most importantly, I have faith in myself so I know that I’ll always be ok.
The way I see it, right now I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and I honestly have no regrets. No I haven’t ticked off everything on my to-do list, I’m not even close, but you know what, I’ll get round to it. And if I don’t, meh, it’s my list at the end of the day, I can always scribble it out and make another one. 😛