We live in a fast past, technological world. We have grown accustomed to instant reaction, results and gratification. We send a text and expect someone to reply within the hour, if not straight away. We are always available at the end of a phone or laptop. We have fast-food, fast broadband, fast fashion, fast cars… we are always complaining about ‘not having enough time’ or needing more time or time passing us by. 

We have been programmed to DO. To achieve. To always be striving for more, to never settle, to never find satisfaction in the mundane, everyday life. We aspire and we dream - but not too far. We’re optimistic and ambitious - but not unrealistically so. We live a conflicted contradiction of being told we need to be more, but not too much; we’re told to push outside of the box only to re-capture ourselves inside another one. Any attempts to break out of the societal confinement, ‘the norm’ is brought with judgement and doubt from others; judgement and doubt that then becomes self-inflicted. We are criticised and diminished as people, told that we’re not good enough, that we need to be careful or we won’t be successful. 

Even if we do manage to push past those obstacles and re-write our lives to not live to please or be respected by others, we still find ourselves living for the future. Not because we’re not enjoying our currently reality, or our life journey; but because we’re still afraid that we won’t make it to the destination. Our actions are still laced with self-doubt, with fear; masked by a constant low hum of anxiety, driving us forward.

Deep down inside, we still feel like we’ve got something to prove. To show our friends and family that we can follow our dreams, our heart, the things that light us up inside - and ‘make it.’ We’re still living in fear of failure, or rejection; forgetting that if something is meant to happen, it will. We still associate our self-worth with outcome, with results, with tangible markers that can be used to confirm and make our existence worthwhile. To have a worthy answer when someone asks ‘so what do you do?’

That’s the thing - we aren’t what we do in life, or what we achieve. We are so much more than that. 

Remind yourself that you’re not a human doing, but a human being. You’re not a robot that needs to prove it’s functionality, it’s ability to achieve and create results to it’s creators. Life isn’t just about things that you do, it’s about being in the moment you have; all the experiences and relationships with others. It’s about human connection, creating change, learning and growing, inspiring others. When your life on this planet is over, you might be left with a list of things you’ve done and achieved, but will that really matter if you didn’t fully experience them at all? If you never took a moment to take it all in?

Enjoy and listen what you’re learning in a lecture instead of rushing to get the work done and the degree over. Take in the nature, the smells and the sounds instead of just speeding up to get your walk done and your steps in for the day. Spend time talking to family over dinner, instead of rushing to eat and leave the dinner table to get on with whatever you were before. Make time in your day to do things that allow you to ‘be.’ For me, that’s giving myself time to be creative, to do things that aren’t on my daily ‘to-do’ list. 

Instead of asking someone what they do next time you see them, ask them how they like to spend their free time. In our free-time is when we truly allow ourselves to ‘be’, wholly, truly ourselves. And I can guarantee, you’ll get a better picture of the person than you would have otherwise.