Life. There’s so much to say about it. The most common phrase is “Life is so short.”

My favourite reply to that is “You say life is short, but it’s literally the longest thing you do”. There’s one thing we all have in common and that is the process of life and death. But that’s not what this is about. Death seems easy – well easy for the deceased and not so much for those they leave behind. There’s another great saying about death: “Death is like stupidity – it really only hard on those around you”. It’s living that’s hard. Society has dictated what we do and how we live our lives. Well for the most part that is. We’re born, go to school, get a job, work until we retire and then wait to die. The fragility and possibility of death at any time is what prompts people to “live every day as if it is their last.”

I believe as we go through each stage of our life our views on life as we know it change. As a kid, I’m sure I speak for most in saying I could not wait to grow up. There’s a rushing urgency to be independent and get to do whatever you like, whenever you like. Having grown up somewhat and lamenting on the days of my youth, I can without a doubt say the excitement to grow up I had is one of the dumbest things ever. As you grow up, the responsibilities you’re burdened with grow with you and that is by no means fun.

The best feeling to describe life when responsibilities and duties become overwhelming is that of drowning. You’re helpless to do anything but take in water and hopefully you’ll claw your way up to breath. I feel I, as well as many people who haven’t yet found their exact “calling” in life feel this drowning sensation. The feeling of being lost and hopeless. Personally, I envy those people who have a clear cut vision of exactly what it is they want to do in life. We go to school and further on to university if we’re fortunate enough to have parents to provide that for us and with the education we receive over these years should mould us and point us in the direction of what we should do for the rest of our lives. But that isn’t always the case unfortunately. You can study something for 20 years but at the end of it you can still feel unfulfilled and lost.

The ever asked question by the older generation of “Have you thought about what you’re going to do in life?” doesn’t help ease the pressure already afflicting the lost and confused youth. Media and social media does nothing to help this pressure as all we see on tv are glamorous and rich people having the time of their lives. We all attain to be like these people and if we don’t harbour colossal amounts in our accounts then we feel we haven’t accomplished anything. Not everyone feels this way but when it comes down to the harsh reality of life, money makes the world. You need money to survive. To do the things you want to do. So as much as people say “Money doesn’t matter.” – it does. I firmly believe the people that say money doesn’t matter, are people who have money and so don’t NEED to worry.

These pressures and expectations often lead us down destructive paths if we don’t reach milestones we set or we just feel we have underperformed. These self destructive habits might be drinking, doing drugs of some sort – anything to transport them from their sad unfulfilled lives to somewhere substance induced where they don’t feel like they’re drowning. Some resort to physical self harm. Maiming their bodies to punish themselves for their short comings. It’s no secret a lot of people feel this way, but the sad part is most of us are too ashamed or proud to talk about the way we feel. When these feelings of self loathing almost get to their climax, people often do the unthinkable and resort to taking their own lives. That’s why I said earlier that living is the hard part.

We, as a society need to figure out a way to encourage people who are going through these issues to talk and deal with them in self loving and positive ways. We all need to learn to love ourselves, as cliché as that sounds – and move away from the self isolation we force upon ourselves and find the strength to open up and confide in people who might know how better to handle and cope with the situation. As individuals we need to be able to be content with what we accomplish and take failures as stepping stones to build up to success. We need to shy away from the need for outside validation and be able to take success and failure as part of life. Money and possessions should not define how happy we are. Small victories in every day life should be something to celebrate. We should find joy and happiness in life and the ways in which we can enrich the lives of us and those around us. Whether it’s helping an old lady cross the street, greeting a cleaner or simply smiling at someone who looks like they’re having a bad day.

Life isn’t easy. But that’s what makes it bitter sweet. “You can’t have sunshine without a little rain.”

This reigns true because if we didn’t experience hardships and disappointments, we would not be able to fully appreciate when good things happen to us. We should take each day as it comes and do what we can to just be well and truly happy – regardless of money and wealth, we need to find inner happiness. Money and material goods may come and go. But if we’re able to finally love ourselves and be happy regardless of the outside world without the constant need to amass money – then,and only then will we be on the road to finding our “calling in life”.

It’s okay to not know what you want to do in life, or where you want to be. Find inner peace and happiness and you’re one step closer to living a fulfilling life.

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