Do you ever do that thing where you see someone you know coming towards you on the street, but you pretend you’re busy texting or looking for some restaurant/cafe so that you don’t have to stop and talk? I do that all the time. I’ve heard people say (and I’ve even thought it myself) that anyone who does that is stuck up or thinks they’re ‘better than’.
Yet whenever I happen to do that, it’s the opposite, it’s coz I think I’m imferior in a way. It’s usually coz I don’t wanna answer the usual ‘what are you doing these days?’, with an ‘I’m not sure’. I don’t want to admit that, even afters a Masters, I’m still not entirely sure. I don’t wanna say that although I’ve accomplished so much, I feel like I’m not doing enough.
There’s an idea a philosopher named Alan Watts talks about. It’s this idea that we’re conditioned by our culture to always seek the end. To seek the goal. We go to school and the goal is to finish, but when we do it’s suddenly not enough, and so we go to college. When we finish college that’s also not enough so we have to get the perfect job, but then that job isn’t enough and so our lives are a constant cycle of goals and disatisfaction. None of us concentrate on the right now, because we’re too busy rushing to the end. We don’t focus the journey, or the process, or whatever you want to call it. We focus on getting to our destination.
Watts famously argues that this is wrong. He uses music as a metaphor for our lives. He says that when you listen to music that you never skip to the very end because that’s ‘the best part’. No. The music is all about enjoying it as it happens amd Watts argues life should be much the same.
In the context of my own life, I find myself worrying a lot that I’m not where I want to be yet. I’m also not meant to be. However, if I focus too much on getting there, I’ll unappreciate completely how it is that I got there. We’re not meant to have everything sorted out in our 20s. Some of us do, and that can be frustrating, but that’s more because you compare yourself with other people too much. Run your own race because at some point you’ll realize you’re only racing yourself.
I guess what I’m saying here is, don’t let how you think people perceive you, define you. Don’t hate yourself for not being exactly where you want to be. You’ll get there eventually. You may as well appreciate how you get there, instead of skipping to the end.