As I sit here rather zoned out in an afternoon lecture I start to think.
Why am I here?
Well that’s easy. In today’s world you have to have a university degree to be able to get a good job to get a good house to meet a good guy to have a good family to have a good life.
Basically to be successful. Right?
Well that’s what got me thinking. Why is that what Australian society makes us think ‘success’ is?
Is that what everyone aims for?
No. Well not right away. But isn’t that what’s always in the back of our minds?
I’m only 21 so my idea of success at the moment is getting out of bed in time to make it to my morning lecture.
However as I get to the end of my never ending university degree I am being asked more and more ‘what’s next?’
What’s after uni life? The classic ‘what are you going to be when you grow up?’
I was chatting to one of my mates at a 21st on the weekend and he was saying how he’d been honoured with an award at uni.
Of course I said congrats and asked if his parents were stoked about it.
This was followed up with “Nah not really, I won’t be successful until I get married and have kids”.
This kind of shocked me.
Being only 21 most of my friends idea of success at the moment is ticking the boxes.
You know ‘the list’. Every good rom com has informed us of.
- Get great job
- Have best friends straight out of Sex & the City
- Then of course it’s the playground favourite ‘Kissing In a Tree’. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. End of.
As I look through Instagram and Facebook I am constantly shown images and status updates informing me of friends ticking off the big list.
- So-and-so is now in a relationship with Ryan Gosling look-a-like (usually accompanied with super couple-y photo)
- Graduated! (accompanied with degree certificate and happy photo throwing their mortarboard in the air)
- Got my drivers licence! Got a new job! Got an internship with that awesome company! etc etc. You get the idea.
Then there’s the ‘other’ successes. You know what I’m talking about…
The shameless selfies.
I’m guilty of this too. The classic ‘I look good, everyone should see how good I look’ photos.
Be warned though: like chocolate, selfies must be taken in moderation.
When your instagram profile is just hundreds of photos of you in your room with a face full of make-up and hashtags like #bored #ugly #bedhair etc, then you have a problem. Also if you are one of those people blocking my newsfeed with ‘Going to the gym’, ‘Back from the gym’, ‘Feeling guilty, haven’t been to gym for 2 days’ selfies and progress shots (I’m looking at you Amanda Bynes…and you too Mickfear), I have only this to say…
Sorry getting off topic. Selfie rant over.
Anyway my main point was despite us being generation Y and supposed to be outside the box and celebrate different milestones to those of our parents; it seems we are still trying to jump through those same hoops to be successful.
After being hit hard with 2012, the biggest year to ever happen to me, I was forced to really think about what it is that I want.
For me career is not the end all.
Academic success and climbing ‘the ladder’ don’t worry me.
When people ask me what I want to be when I grow up I’m going to just say ‘happy’.
Because in the end I don’t care what job I’m doing, what I care about is living life.
I’d rather travel and have incredible life experiences than worry about a mortgage and laying down ‘roots’.
I’m ridiculously sorry to paraphrase One Direction (trust me I am), but they put is so well/simply.For me my aim at the moment is just to ‘live while we’re young‘ (Boom! half my readership now disappears haha).
But please if you’ve actually stuck with me and read this essay of a blog post. Comment and let me know what you think. I’d love to know what you guys aim for and think success is for you.
I’ve been collecting quotes in a journal since I was 14 and despite an ever growing collection this one remains my favourite and is what I will end on. As to me, this is what success really is.
“To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)