Sometimes I find it difficult to live in the present. My mind is always racing ahead of me and thinking about my next project, about my future goals and the future life I want to lead. Just now I am living in Russia. I’ve been here for 6 months, which is crazy in itself, and I’m already seeing the endpoint lying in wait in the not-so-distant future. I’m constantly thinking of what I want to do next, of where I want to go and even just of getting settled back in to my everyday routine back home with my familiar settings and familiar comforts. And I worry that it’s making me lose touch with what is surrounding me in the present, something that I think is a result of the fast-paced and impatient lifestyle we live in.
Whilst our concept of “old age” continues to be redefined as life expectancy crawls ever onwards, the pressures of youth have not disappeared, and in fact seem to have become even more prominent. The scramble to achieve your life goals, find your dream job and be at least in the process of building a family by the age of 30 means that your 20s can be quite stressful.
I find my own fluctuating almost daily between highs and lows. Highs, when I feel positive about life. When I get this sense of optimism, which doesn’t necessarily involve the notion of myself as an individual, but of the world around me. The lows are far more based on my sense of self. I begin to question the point of everything and think that maybe I’m not actually destined to be successful or change the world, maybe I’m just average, maybe everyone else is better, maybe opportunities are passing me by due to my own laziness or lack of ability, maybe those highs are only a direct result of my privileged social standing and as such should not be considered highs but instead cause me to feel world-weary and sink with my thoughts, understanding that maybe I don’t actually deserve to be happy.
Now I try to accept these feelings, accepting low moments in the same way that I cherish the absolute gift of having a moment of joy. Our minds are the greatest barrier to success and it’s important to take a step back, outside of the confines of personal demons and hindrances to remember to be grateful that today, I am alive and healthy. That success shouldn’t just be measured by careers, money and comparison. That it can also mean being a good friend, appreciating the opportunities that I have and trying to extend those same rights for those who do not, being kind and honest. When the lows replace the highs, I try to find solace in the remarkableness of the unremarkable. I breathe.
And I wish that someday I will believe my own words.