I walk down into the underground subway and into a maze of people.
Everyone is rushing in one direction or another. They have their blinders on. I am invigorated by all of the action and saddened all at once.
I wonder how many of these people are happy in their day to day lives and where their goals will lead them.
Did the man in the suit get promoted to a bigger office? Does the extra legroom and cash for post-work whiskeys and fast cars fulfill him? Maybe. Maybe he has a loving family at home that make it all worth it.
But how many of us are obsessed with pursuing things that will never make us happy? Do some of our goals take away from more meaningful pursuits?
“I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I have spent a lot of my life chasing dreams bigger than myself. I love this. I do it for the chase. But sometimes I get so caught up in thinking about what will bring me that shiny exterior that I stop thinking about how it will make me feel inside.
When I chase after things like money, success that will be approved by others, or an image of what I think I’m supposed to be I’m often left disappointed.
When I was 17-years-old I reached the distorted goal of becoming underweight was struck with incredible sadness. Where did this goal take me? To an antisocial life, a malnourished body, and health risks I’d never even known. It was not love. It was not serving anybody.
I recently came to a point in my life where I thought I had it all together. I was building an image of success. Working towards a career that could bring me money. It took getting away from everything to realize that this was making me miserable.
I will always be ambitious but I want to focus my ambitions on goals that will truly make me happy and at the very least bring me more experiences.
“Adhere to your purpose and you will soon feel as well as you ever did. On the contrary, if you falter, and give up, you will lose the power of keeping any resolution, and will regret it all your life.”
At the same time I want to train myself to live in the moment. To appreciate the small stuff. To savour those quiet moments spent sitting with my family, a ray of light through the window of the subway in the morning, or walking alone in the brisk winter air at night while the stores light up the sidewalk. All of it.