On Friday I talked about how the clothes we wear does not define us. Today is my second, in a list of four posts, of things that don’t define you.
If you are like most people, you may often feel the pressures of conforming to the standards of an ever changing world. While obvious trends, such as beauty and fashion, are always evolving, the standards of success are as well. In light of these trends, here are a few things that don’t have to define you.
2.) Society Doesn’t Define You
We often feel pressured to conform to the demands of an ever changing lifestyle. Along with this pressure comes the desire to fit well into our society. From a young age we are asked what we want to be when we grow older. It’s a curious thing to observe the evolution of a child’s dream. Have you ever noticed what a child’s aspirations are based on? They aspire to be firemen, doctors, singers, school teachers… Not because of the money they can make in each profession, but because they believe they will find happiness and fulfillment in each. However, if you revisit them a few years later, they have often relinquished these aspirations, in the quest for more “practical” pursuits.
It is in this endeavor that we often observe the dilemma of the working class. Somewhere in our journey from adolescence to adulthood, we have learned that it is right to abandon our passions in pursuit of money and socioeconomic status. While it is true that money, for most people, is an essential pursuit, is it worth abandoning oneself over? Does our quest for money and status ultimately result in an abandonment of self? I believe that in most cases it does. While we work nine to five to make ends meet, while we live paycheck to paycheck, while we work to collect more money to collect more things, life is passing us by. The opportunity to explore our passions and to live happily also passes us by.
So often it takes a tragedy like death to wake us up. We often realize too late, the frailty of life and the value of time. I have lately been reminded of this reality as the threat of breast cancer hung ominously over our family. The reality that my life could be drastically changed so quickly, was most certainly a wakeup call. To fathom that life and its priorities could suddenly shift without notice, was, to say the least, disconcerting. Somehow worrying about things, such as a lucrative career, didn’t seem as important to me. However, the things that were close to my heart, like my family and my passions, seemed to take precedence. All my life I had waited for the opportunity to live a life pursuing my passions and now it seemed that it was all in jeopardy. As I awaited my test results, I had some pretty tough questions to ask myself. Surprisingly, many of them had nothing do with money or status, they all had to do with my quality of life. Thankfully, my test results were found to be negative. I will never forget that reminder of the fragility of life and time. From it I learned that life is meant to be filled with meaning and purpose.
Understandably, some may find it impractical to pursue their passions full time. Whatever the case may be for you, let us not forget to include our passions in our lives. While a career may bring you the financial security you need, a passionate life will bring you the freedom and fulfillment you desire and need.
Header image by Hashim D’Silva