Things have been going extraordinarily well, as of late. I’m employed at a fantastic company that I love, with awesome coworkers, good pay, and a real chance at learning and growing. I’m grateful for such an opportunity. My home life is also going pretty well. My lovely oldest younger sister is on a mission for our church and is currently in Utah for training before being sent off to Washington State. It’s super cool. I’m very proud of her. My brother is doing really well for himself, working for a pest control company. What was the first thing he bought? A ton of video games and an epic computer for gaming. My youngest sister is in the grip of mid-high school life, so it’s about as good as it could be for her (rough, but manageable). My parents are happy and my dad might even be able to get off insulin in a year. I might have an opportunity to move out sooner rather than later, and I’m starting up a tiny local business-thing to help me make some extra money. (Don’t worry. It’s not drugs. Yet.) Life is simple and good right now.
So then, why am I feeling so craptastic?
The long answer: I’m halfway into a relationship I don’t know will work, my self-image is crumbling, my health is in decline, I’m still nowhere near to releasing my first film, I’m tired most of the time, I get anxious about the dumbest things, yadda yadda.
The short answer: I’m not perfect.
I know, I know. You can’t be perfect. You can’t expect yourself (or be expected by others) to perform flawlessly and shoot to the top of the ladder at your job, relationship, or whatever else is in your life. You just can’t. To do so causes stress, and for a man who is 24 and has to live at home, that’s a pretty normal. I know, intellectually, that I’m imperfect and that I’m not supposed to be perfect. That said, I know I’m not at my best, that my potential is untapped, that I am nowhere near where I would like to be. It’s rough.
I want to be traveling the world. I want to be making movies. I want to be changing lives. I want to be helping people. I want to be independent. I want, I want, I want, but I don’t have. I’m failing to live up to my own expectations. So I came up with a couple solutions. The first is pretty obvious:
Lower your expectations of yourself.
This tends to be the go-to when I asked for advice on the matter. “You can’t be perfect,” and “you shouldn’t try to do too much,” were common responses. “You need to set lower standards,” was also popular. This might work for you, because your standards might be ridiculous. You might think that you have to raise those four kids, balance a check book, and end world hunger all before 8 in the morning. It’s admirable that you want to do all these things, but it might be a little foolish to try to do it all alone. Which brings me to my second solution:
Maybe your expectations and standards are within reach. You’d probably know better than I would. I personally don’t think my standards are that implausible. I want to live in my own apartment/condo/house, travel to a new place every month (even if it’s just to another city), and make enough money to support myself. It shouldn’t be that hard, yet for some reason it is. In fact, in my experience, this is basically impossible. Why? Because I’m not trying hard enough. I haven’t ever been able to completely focus or devote myself to any one thing – goal or otherwise – without assistance. Or rather, I haven’t forced myself to do so. When the going gets tough, the Tay got going. But that needs to change if I want to reach my goals.
To sum up, there are several roads you can take. You can change your standards, change your course in life, change how hard you work; whatever the case may be. You have the power. And I have the power. Believe.
That not good enough for you? The whole “just be positive” speech doesn’t carry as much thunder once you’ve heard it a dozen times. Allow me to present you with another fact:
Do what you need to do to reach your goal. Do it because there is no alternative. There just isn’t. I got home from a walk in the park a few minutes ago and my dad proceeded to lecture me about my eating habits (which are pretty bad). I’m now officially 70 pounds over my personal weight limit. I have plans to live forever and the gunk in my veins is going to clog up my heart before I get the chance to discover the cure for death. I have to be healthy. It’s no longer an option of “Well, I want abs to looks sexy.” Now it’s “I need to be healthy, or I’m going to die at 30.” There is no alternative. I have no other options.
Neither do you.
You want your life to change? You want to reach your goal? You want to be something more than you are today? Do you want to do something but just can’t find the motivation? Then remember the title of this post. Because you have to do it. You have to. THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. There’s no backup. There’s no checkpoint. There’s no restart. There’s this. This is it. Do not waste what life and time you have. You have to try. You have to do. Because there is no alternative. Humans have proven their resilience time and time again. It’s proof that you can persevere and do it too. It will be hard. It will seem impossible. But you have to. You have no other choice.
Don’t give up! Don’t give in! And always remember to DREAM BIG!