As the new year approaches we often ask ourselves to change in some way or another. It could be to lose weight, do better in school, make more friends, etc. But, what we often don't realize is that we aren't just asking ourselves to drop a couple pounds a month, obtain a higher GPA, or even to text some new people occasionally. We are asking ourselves to change our lifestyle by: preparing healthier food, studying longer hours, or even putting ourselves out there more than we usually do. We place this immense pressure on our shoulders, expecting exceptional, effortless change, that cannot simply be achieved at the strike of 12. Although positive stress and pushing oneself is a good thing, and most successful people do it everyday, we can't expect ourselves to keep churning and doing better and better each year, without flaws and failures. We aren't machines and the society of our generation treats us like we are. Although saying this is hypocritical, cause I say and do the same things each and every year, I thought telling other people this, might make it stick better.
Our generation is frowned upon for relaxing and not looking for the next job, the next opportunity, or the next project to work on. We live in an individualistic society that puts us against each other, wanting clear 'winners' and clear 'losers.' We need to learn to relax, actually take deep breaths, and reflect. Being successful isn't everything; money and power come and go, and more importantly, time is finite.
Here are some things I have either read, heard, or been told. These quotes/bits of information helped change the way I think, in one way or another, and I hope they do that for you too.
"You must go towards something, not run away from something else"
This means a lot to me because it is what my mom said to me when I was deciding whether or not to transfer and leave the state. It made me realize that most of my problems can be solved with a reminder of this saying. We cannot live our lives in fear and/or by running away. We should change something or leave only if leaving will actually improve our situation. But not all situations can be improved by merely leaving.
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good" - John Steinbeck
I feel as if a lot of us, especially those of us who are anxious, strive for perfection. Something we think will make us look better and be better, often causes us a lot more pain. If we don't achieve perfection, we think we are just sub par, but that's not true. Perfection, it's impossible, and no one ever told us that. Being good is far more sustainable, achievable, and longer lasting than any form of perfection we may believe we can achieve.
The rest is just as important as the work"
This generation never wants us to stop working. Once you finish one project, you're racing to find another. Rest and relaxation is seen as weakness or laziness, but its importance is abundant. If we don't rest and give ourselves even a sliver of time to appreciate everything that is around us, our lives will pass us by. We must learn to rest, healthily and properly, because without it we are merely spiraling down a hole of work that will take everything out of us.
"Take one step to the side and it's all absurd" - Leonard Cohen
I like this quote because it really makes me think about life. How crazy being alive really is! We must step out of our own shoes to realize what's going on around us, and the brilliance of it, or we just might miss it. This quote reminds me to calm down and take a breath, because everything around us is nothing short of insane.
"Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it" - Anais Nin
We meet people everyday, smile at strangers, hold doors for people who have their hands full (or at least we used to). All these small interactions we used to take for granted, we yearn for. Everyone is quite different. No matter how hard you try, you will be living a completely different life than even your best friend. We are so unique and everyone you ever meet has something to offer you, whether it be some words of advice or a smile to brighten your day.
"We're all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing." - Charles Bukowski
We are all so self-centered, yet insecure that we forget that the one thing we all have in common and the one thing that spans generations is love. This anger and hate in our generation (although quite reasonably placed within ourselves) is slowly chipping away at the love we all share. Love is priceless and being extra kind or extra caring some days will do no harm.
"If it is unappetizing: Do not eat, date, or sign up for it. If the mere thought of it is depressing: Do not major in it, sit through it, or devote your life to it. If it is not important to you: Do not do it only because it is important to someone else."
We are only living our lives, no one else's, not our friends', nor our parents'. The decisions we make now are important and can affect our future in many different ways. So, unless we are obsessed with our lives we should change it (in reasonable ways) so we actually like it. We are living our lives to our deathbeds, and no one is coming with us, so we might as well enjoy the journey.
"Stop shrinking to fit place you've outgrown"
People change so often. We might not like the same things we once did, and that's ok. You don't have to be who you always were, because the person you are right now is not the same person you were two days ago. You owe nothing to anyone. Even if people have certain expectations or perceptions of you, you don't have to live up to every single one, that's ridiculously exhausting and not necessarily helpful to you. Peoples minds and personalities constantly grow, and we must make sure we never hinder that growth.
I hope in some shape or form these words will stay with you.