You know what one of the most awkward conversations in adulthood can be? The dreaded, "So, what have you been up to?". I honestly never really know quite how to answer that. Does anyone? I mean, unless you've really accomplished something super worth while since the last time you've seen the person asking. Other than that, what is there? They probably don't wanna hear how I managed to deep clean my entire apartment, or clear up 30 gigs of space on my hard drive (even though to me, those are major accomplishments). I'm sure if someone was doing something THAT monumental with their lives, they wouldn't need much prompting or prying...they'd probably just blurt it out. All in all, I hate that question. But I suppose that IS the basis of life. Progression. We are all expected to continually climb higher up the staircase of achievement until the day we die. If nothing changes in our lives, if we don't keep pushing for more, we are perceived as stagnant, or even worse, failing (you ever notice how all words associated with staying the same are negative? Stagnant, complacent, motionless, etc...). The thing is, after we DO complete a major milestone of our lives, how long is it before we need to begin working on the next?
Unfortunately, I happen to be one of those people who pat myself on the back after very minimal performance. You know those people who can only manage to do one major thing a day? Like get laundry done? Me after a day of doing laundry is often the equivalent of crossing the finish line of the New York marathon (the sad part about it is I actually drop off my laundry and have someone else do it). I'm sure there are others out there who go through similar scenarios, right? I've discovered that there are also people out there who never feel as though they are doing ENOUGH. I've know people who wake up super early in the morning, go to yoga, go to work, go volunteer, do errands, cook dinner, go to shows, hang with friends, and more, all in a day, yet still feel as though they are behind in life, and try to fit even more into an already crammed schedule. I've always wondered what big achievement those types were working towards. Is it ever just one achievement? Is life just a series of continually 1 upping ourselves?
I've always wondered what my next major step would be after creating this website and Motivational Monday. I mean, I've done other little stuff in between that's important to me, but as we all know, in life, it's not about being happy with yourself, it's about how happy you appear to be to others (sarcasm). I'm sure when people ask me what I've been up to, they'd love to hear that I was working on a tv show as a story writer, or just broke a million views on Youtube with my latest Gettin' By episode, or got married or something (ha). Fortunately, it's not a requirement to live based on other people's expectations of you, but I do understand that some momentum is necessary. Life is movement. However slowly that movement may occur, it's still moving. Pangaea took about 200 million years to break apart (still going), and look at it now! Things may not always look like they are changing at the alarming rates we want them to, but they ARE changing, moving, growing, all the time. If we accomplish even the smallest goal, perhaps only important to ourselves, we should still be able to revel as much as we want. For those over achievers who think you aren't doing enough, perhaps just don't entrust them with stories of your journey as much (I mean, just try to discern wether or not they really want to try and help motivate you, or just chastise you for not moving along at a pace THEY are comfortable with).
Deciding the next step in life can be very tricky, and maybe some people just want to think things through a bit before diving head first off the deep end of life's diving board. I know some people in relationships who are constantly moving forward at light speed, just because they think there has to be a next step within a certain amount of time. Some people actually think that after dating a certain number of years you MUST get engaged or break it off. What kinda nonsense? Also, some think that the next step after dating for a while is moving in. If you choose to never move in with your partner, does that mean that you're going nowhere in the relationship? Heck no! Sometimes being so concerned with reaching the destination, we forget to enjoy the ride. Look out the dang window! It's beautiful out there! If that means taking a pit stop, by all means, take one. Take as many as you want. The destination isn't going anywhere, and you'll get there when you get there ( I really hate time frames obviously).
We should all take a personal evaluation of our own goals in life and realize that we all have different needs and wants. I love moving forward actually. I love climbing the staircase and seeing how high I can go. I'm actually very curious to see where I'll be in the next 5 or 10 years. But even while I'm curious about the future, it's also really enlightening and inspiring to see how far I've come. 10 years AGO I was a completely different person. Completely! It may not really seem like a whole lot has changed, but one day you look up and realize everything is different (that sounds like a really awesome opening line to a physiological thriller/ coming of age movie that I'd totally watch). I'm gonna leave off with this amazing video from one of my favorite people in the entire world, Oprah! She puts so eloquently the importance of "the next step"... Let me know your thoughts people!
P.s. I always thought this was very funny, and often very true.
P.p.s. I was originally going to name the title of this blog "And Then?", but I didn't think anyone would get the reference:
P.p.p.s. Another thing about typical societal "next step" structure... everybody always thinks college is the most logical step immediately after high school. I am a firm believer of the gap year. Maybe 2 or 3 gap years! Why the heck not! Who knows, I may even go back to college one of these days (when I'm good and darn ready, and when it's free ofcourse).