I hate to admit it but the steady approach of my 40th birthday has had me feeling especially out-of-sorts. Birthdays are always a time that I find myself examining my life for signs of progress and accomplishment. This sets up a bit of a conflict in my psyche since I have also been influenced by studies of spiritual perspectives such as Buddhism. I believe it is important to shift my focus to the present moment. To not miss living while too busy with concerns about the future and arbitrary values of achievement. Yet a strong part of me continues to be dissatisfied with my career and education level. I can see these expectations adding to the struggle and stress in my life. I also clearly see the link between stress and my wellbeing. Yet is also natural to be frustrated by a feeling that I have something more to contribute. At times like these I feel a push to go to graduate school.
That is what I was thinking six days ago when I started this post. Today, I was noticing that the way I experience my life is shaped by the expectations I create and that society tells me to have. The standards that I measure my life against are my own creation with society as my muse. I drive home through blocks of gorgeous homes and find myself wishing for a lottery win so I can buy one of the smaller ones. Then I get frustrated with myself for falling into the cultural trap of wanting what I don’t have. I know it is an endless game because there is always someone who has more than you. I hate that it distracts me from focusing on what I do have and realizing how lucky I am. That in the grand scheme of things I am blessed. Sure I know that as an American I take for granted so many things that I am privileged to have. I know it, but in the midst of day-to-day stresses I forget. I see myself as a trying-to-be-middle-class, small-apartment-renting, under-achieving college grad. Instead I should be measuring my life by health, family, friends and the beauty around me. Or not even measuring it at all.