So I just had a birthday.
To put it in the terms my family uses, we celebrated me surviving another year and coming one year closer to death.
I enjoy birthdays for another reason–because I get to shock most people with my age. They tend to think I’m 18 or so, especially when I’m in my Culver’s uniform. The mixed reactions when they find out my actual age brings no end of pleasure.
As of this week, I’m actually 25.
Sometimes, when I take time to think, I muse over how much life has changed for me the past few years. Two brothers in the marines. A younger sister getting married. Becoming a manager. Writing. Publishing.
And still, I end up slightly depressed.
Yes, I’ve done things. But it always seems like I should have done more. I started writing seriously at a later age than some of my friends. They are four or five years younger and they have similar skill levels.
Or I observe others, picking out all my peers who have accomplished things I want to do.
Time slips away. And everyone else seems to be getting more done or doing what I wish I could be doing. At quarter of a century old, I should be getting somewhere, right?
We tend to make mistakes as humans. Plenty of them. But one of the mistakes we make in this culture is equating where we are on our journey of life by how much we have to physically show for it.
Because, well, humans are idiots sometimes.
We have to stop, to breath. To remember what is the point of all of this?
Because frankly, the point of life isn’t how fast we reach each goal and rush past it. It’s just thing, thing, thing. A book. A bestseller. A glowing review. Who storming cares in the end?
The point is how we get to these goals. Journey before destination. Are we rushing and running over others and ignoring people? Or are we helping others as we go? Building relationships? Growing spiritually?
No one set up a map that said we all had to reach particular life points at particular ages. Each person has their own path. Their own journey and their own pace.
Just because another author friend publishes in a magazine or wins a contest, doesn’t mean I need to do the same. Our final goal is to glorify God in all we do, but we each do this in different ways according to our varied skills. If we spend all our time rushing around trying to meet the same ‘checkpoints’ other authors are arriving at, we won’t get anywhere in our own journey.
Not to mention it’s impossible anyway.
Everyone has their heroes. I have people I look up to. They have other people they look to. Those authors have their own heroes. No matter what we do, there is always something else to do and someone else to be like.
Sometimes life seems to pass you by. Or maybe sometimes we just focus on the wrong things.
Don’t compare yourself to others. What’s best for the life and path of another may not be the best for you. I mean, the journey physically ends in death anyway, so…
Hey, it’s true. Deal with it.
Make each step of your path a step worth walking. Live the life before you. Create goals and strive towards them, yes. But don’t lose focus on what the point of this life is really about. If you can keep that in your sights, it won’t matter what everyone else is doing. You will know you are where you should be for your time in life, doing the best you can with what you can.
And that it is enough.