“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
When people come to me with unsettling issues, there’s usually an underlying theme: A lack of life satisfaction. Over the past several weeks, my friends have confessed to me their feelings of unhappiness. They aren’t satisfied with how their life is turning out. We’re all mostly in our mid to late twenties, so this quarter life crisis thing is becoming a bit more common then everyone believes.
“I’m just not where I want to be, Lara. When I was 20, I had this whole vision of myself for the future. And now, here I am, and it’s nothing like I imagined it. I’m so scared about the future. What if I fail?”
That’s precisely what my best friend said to me a few weeks ago. I asked him if he was happy in this very moment. He replied, yes. I asked him if he absolutely hated his life. He replied, no. So I told him to “Just be happy.” He gave me the most awkward look ever. So I told him:
“We’ve been best friends for over a decade. I’ve watched you grow into the man you are today and I am unbelievably proud of everything you have accomplished. But I have noticed your unsettling emotions over the past year. Do you realize you’ve spent almost an entire year worrying? You’ve spent this whole time so focused on the past and so nervous for the future that you forgot to be comfortable in the “now.” When you die, what you did with your life is going to be secondary to how you lived it. Nobody is going to care if you were the CEO of some large corporation and you spent every second of your life dedicated to a job that holds nothing but a title. They’re going to reflect on the life you LED. How happy you were. How you loved your family. How you LOVED your LIFE. Don’t you want people to think those things about you? You can’t shoot for the stars unless you have a safe and proper take off. Be happy with yourself NOW. Relax a little. Have a good time. Once you start to feel happy and like yourself again, everything else will fall into place. You’ll be on your path again in no time. Just don’t focus on the end result. Focus on the journey you’re taking to get there. Make it an unforgettable one.
And just like that, he applied to college two days ago. I’m so unbelievably proud of him.
If you ever feel like you’re going through the same thing as him-if you feel like you’re not satisfied with your life because you aren’t “successful” or living the life you thought you would have years ago, try thinking about your funeral. No, really. In the most non-morbid way possible. What do you think people would say about you? What would you want people to say about you? Really think about it and write it all down. THAT’S how you should be living your life. That’s how you should be feeling at this very moment.
“Don’t miss the sun today by worrying about the rain coming tomorrow.”