When will I have kids?
What is the quickest way I can make six figures?
Is attaining an advanced education really worth it?
Questions like these invade young professionals minds everyday. An old Chinese proverb states “It takes one [full] year for a tree to start growing; it takes ten years for a person to start growing”. So why are we as young professionals so impatient? Why are we so hard on ourselves to the point that we cannot realize that we are causing our own demise? I believe in some cases we even self-inflict stress and cause depression within ourselves on our quest to meet self-made standards. I know the idea of being complacent and stagnant is scarier than a small child’s first trip to the dentist. However, these timelines we try to honor are usually unrealistic and not attainable even in the most idealistic scenarios. Even in knowing that these goals are unrealistic, we doubt ourselves when we do not attain these goals.
I pose this question: how realistic are your goals? As children we’re always taught to write out our dreams so we can know the direction that we plan to go in. Most young professionals have created a list of things that they would like to accomplish before retirement and feel as if they fail if something is not accomplished. Seriously though, can we all just relax? If you were born from 1980 on down you are plagued with this misconception of instant gratification but, it is not our fault!! Our parents/mentors have instilled in us that the more focused you are, the faster you accomplish your goals. We also use our parents/mentor as barometers for life. We observe and critique their mistakes while vowing to never to travel down the same paths. The main mistake of our parents/mentor we try not to repeat is attaining a degree at a non-traditional age. For the people whose parents went to school on the weekends, nights or any other weird schedule; you know what I mean. We lost precious moments with our parent(s). Moments to smile, argue, grow and sympathize. All in the name of advancement and accomplishment; however was it really worth it?
Now in light of our parent’s mistakes we sacrifice our present for the hopes of our future. In the pursuit of attaining our education we lose some of the intangible things that our parents were able to gain during their younger years. Things such as: a social life, job experience and a sense of direction. It seems as if the more degrees we attain the more we realize what we do not want to do. In pursuing our education right away we are supposed to be preventing the mistakes our parents made and walk in this clear direction to a happier life. However, it feels as if we are walking in the foggy mist that only allows us to see as far as the tip of our fingers, with hopes it will become clearer with each step we take.
In the end, we turn out to be just like our parents. Only difference is they risked their future to fix their present and we risk our present with hopes of molding our future. We can prepare but not foretell, which only makes life that much easier to live… So to my fellow people lost in the mist just take one step at a time and remember “a thousand mile jounery starts right under your feet”.