Ready, set, go.
We’re running. Sprinting. Falling. Crying. Aimlessly, without even knowing what we’re doing or where we’re going. We’re looking forward, but never truly looking at what’s happening in the moment. We’re following this pre-determined path that we don’t even know if we want to be on. Why? Because that’s what everyone has told us to do.
This path is leading us through life. It’s leading us through school, jobs, friendships, relationships, and careers. With each pit-stop, we pull out our list and check off a box, one by one. Just as quickly as we got there, we disappear, striving to check off the next box.
It has been this way since the beginning.
Go to school, do your homework, get a part-time job, graduate high school, go to college, get the “college experience” (but make sure you have at least a 3.5 GPA), obtain at least 2 internships (or you’ll never find a job), graduate, get a job, get married, have children, and raise them to be exceptional individuals.
As if it weren’t stressful enough to get this all accomplished, you look up and realize you’re in last place. Oh, we didn’t mention that? This is a race, and you’re losing.
But everything on my list is checked off… How.. I feel like I was doing so well… I don’t understand.
Yes, maybe you have everything checked off. Yes, you managed to get everything accomplished exceptionally fast, but this is a different kind of race. This race is not about how fast you can get everything done, it’s about the quality of what you get done.
What knowledge can you take out of each checkmark? What experiences have you gained by checking off each individual box? What have you learned that you want others to know? That is how you determine your standing in this amazing race.
The quantity of what you have accomplished is not nearly as important as the quality of what you have accomplished. You can be 22 years old, graduated, married, with a child on the way, but with no actual real-world experience. You feel completely lost, and you do not know who you truly are. You’re in last place.
On the other hand, you can be 40 years old, just deciding to go to college, simply dating people, with no children, but knowing how the real world works. You feel confident in yourself, and you know what you need to do to go far in life. You’re in first place.
There is an immense amount of pressure on each and every one of us to follow this predetermined path. Everyone wants to know what your next step will be, and they have no desire to know how your current step is going. While it’s beneficial to think ahead, there’s so much to learn when you relish in the moment.
While I encourage you to check off every single box on your list, do not make that your first priority. You are missing so much by only looking forward, and not taking the time to look around. Sit back for a moment, and enjoy where you are without worrying about where you are going to be. After all, there’s no guarantee that you will even live to see that next step.