Defying Mediocrity

I think that my biggest fear is not death, or failure, or pain- it is living a life of mediocrity.

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A life of complacency, where everything is not “bad” per se, but it’s not the way you want it to be, and you start and end each day feeling unfulfilled. Sound familiar? You feel that there is so much potential in different aspects of your life, but you just don’t know how to tap into it and make each day something that you look forward to. There are things you would like to change, but you don’t even know where to begin.

In short, it is mediocre. You are stuck in a rut. And that’s what scares me most.

Something I learned upon returning home from a whirlwind of a summer is that not every day can be a crazy, life-changing adventure, because without consistency we would feel scattered and lost. But there must be some middle ground we can seek- where we are doing something that gets us out of bed every morning, where we can feel excited and fulfilled and challenged, but being able to catch our breaths and enjoy the little things at the same time.

I’ve experienced a multitude of emotions and phases since the school term began- periods of general unproductivity, then a solid week of studying and grinding 16+ hours a day. Going out every single weekend for a month, then refusing to come out of my cave for weeks. There must be some sort of balance I can achieve.

In business school, we are taught from day 1 that everything we do needs to end up in a promising career by the time you graduate, and if you don’t- you’ve failed. Sounds harsh, but that’s the unspoken “rule” and the crushing pressure that haunts most university students. I’m not going to lie and say that it doesn’t affect me, because I’m as Type A as they get- but the concept of a “job” is worth less to me than the journey towards a meaningful life, and doing things that are fulfilling and challenging, and knowing that I’m making a positive difference. That is what matters most to me.

A career that you’re passionate about is a big part of it, but there are many things that I do that have absolutely nothing to do with trying to find a job. How about cultivating personal and professional relationships, and learning their stories just because you want to build meaningful, fulfilling relationships? Indulging in a hobby? Developing your physical fitness, your depth of knowledge, your artistic skill, quite possibly anything you’d like? Some of the things that make me the happiest have nothing to do with building my career, but believe it or not- they can co-exist, and sometimes they even go hand in hand.

It helps to sit down and have a good chat with yourself from time to time- to examine and assess your needs, goals, priorities, and what you can do to get you to where you want to go. Remove all external factors, and ask yourself what you really want. There have been many things I’ve had to give up in the pursuit of this life, but I want to have my cake and eat it too. That doesn’t make me greedy- that just means that I know exactly what I want and how I’m going to achieve it.

I refuse to live a life of mediocrity- because we only get one life to live, so we damn well better make sure it’s one to be remembered.

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2014 Is Upon Us! (An Unintentional Partie Deux)

Happy new year to all and especially to the wonderful people who take the time to read my blog!

Your kind words and compliments mean more to me than you know and motivate me to keep writing. My blog is just over half a year old, and it’s been an amazing journey seeing my writing evolve and the wide variety of topics that I am able to share my knowledge about. It is still a work in progress, and I am still somewhat shy about sharing my writing on social media vehicles, but who knows what the new year will bring?

I was putting together a list of New Years Resolutions today and thought that as a follow-up to my last post, it would be interesting to share what I have written for this year.

In the past, I traditionally wrote 10 specific resolutions that I want to accomplish. And even though I did just that with some friends last night, the ones I have drawn up after reflecting a lot on the past year are (mostly) unspecific to an exact part of my life, but rather encompass + apply to many different aspects of my life. This year, I am aiming not to just achieve one specific thing, but to change the way I think, the way I do things, and even the way I live to better my life as a whole. Having a few life lessons to live by has helped me tremendously and will continue to do so this coming year.

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Fingers crossed that my handwriting is actually legible. Even though I love to write, I am not artsy in the least.

Have an amazing new year, everyone! Today is the first day of the year of dreams.

(My friend Negar’s motto for 2014 which I think really says it all.)

Good luck and I am looking forward to what’s to come! It’s going to be an exciting year.

Weary from the Pursuit of Happiness

I found this photo on Tumblr today:

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What exactly does it mean to be happy?

What does happiness mean to you?

In my younger teen years, I thought that happiness meant having a special someone. Not necessarily a boyfriend, but just someone to take an interest in, to make the ordinary bleak school day seem a little brighter.

As I grew older and into the senior grades in high school, happiness to me meant achieving my goals (especially in regards to university acceptance), attaining high grades, having a solid group of friends, avoiding drama, and lying on the grass field basking in the sun and sipping on Slurpees during spare blocks. That, to me, was the good life.

As I grew into university, happiness then meant being hired for extracurricular activities, achieving academic and fitness goals, making new friends, expanding my network, and getting out of my comfort zone; constantly pushing my boundaries.

Not many people know this, but I’ve had a really rough year. I have been on the pursuit of happiness for a long time now. It feels like I’ve tried everything, and came so far, but I still lack the one thing I want: to simply be happy and content.

I am tired, weary, worn. The pursuit of happiness has worn me out. Happiness keeps evading me. Just out of reach, but giving me false hope that one day I might actually take a hold of it.

I keep telling myself that happiness will be attained once I complete something. I will be happy when midterms are over. I will be happy when hiring season is over. I will be happy when I get the EC’s and internship I want. I will be happy when finals are over.

But I’m really not.

So when will I be? What will it take?

Going back to my young teenage way of thinking, one might ask, ‘Why don’t you find somebody to love? Then maybe you’ll be happy.’

But quite frankly, romantic love and happiness are not synonymous. Even so, how can you expect somebody to love you if you don’t love yourself; if you’re not happy with who you are? I read something interesting in a Thought Catalog article today:

“We often present the idea of relationships in terms of two halves coming together to make a whole. But I think a much more apt description would be a venn diagram: two complete circles overlapping and making something even more impressive in the middle. They still retain their individual wholeness, but they share things that neither would be capable of creating on their own. You cannot come to someone else as a puzzle with a few crucial pieces missing and expect that they will fill it over with whatever spares they happen to have around.”

And I have nothing more to add.

One of the things I am most happy about since coming into university is having a strong, reliable set of friends to lean on. Friends I can call in the middle of the night when tears are streaming down my face. Friends to laugh with, cry with, and share my life with.

And that should be enough for me to carry on.

I guess even though I am still on the pursuit of happiness, at least I have people supporting me along the way; and it’s the journey, not the destination, that makes it all worthwhile.