Thoughts on "I'm behind"- my self-discovery journey.
[Picture credit: Juli Kosolapova, Unsplash]
The meditation I did today was about slow down. It made me think about one mindset I have always bothers me, which is “I’m behind”.
“the slow way is the fast way.” - Zen Proverb
Why I feel behind
I moved to U.S. when I was 20, didn’t finish college in China, then started over again one year after I moved here. So I started college when I was almost 22. The journey in college wasn’t fast either, I went to community college first to study English, then started taking general education classes while trying to figure out my major. Took me 3 years to do all these and decide on a major (interior design), then find a college doesn’t cost a fortune.
Finally I decided, and got into CSULB, the only Cal. State University with Interior Design program. It’s a 5 year program, but took me 7 years to complete I think. There was one year when I was apply for the studio, I had to wait and not taking more classes because I have way too many units. So I graduated feeling behind already. Usually takes people 4-5 years to complete collage, it took me 12 years (college in China, Community College then CSU).
Trying to catch up
So I worked hard and did whatever I can trying to make up the lost time. But it didn’t work well, I don’t feel like I made up any of the lost time, and I burnt myself out. And when things didn’t go as I planned, I get extremely frustrated, I feel like life is slowing me down while I want to go faster and faster.
Thanks to 2020 and some mental breakdowns. I started to reflect more on life. Did I lose the time? I’m behind comparing to who? If I’m at where I think I’d be, what would I be chasing then?
I didn’t lose time. I worked and paid off the debt we have moving here. I worked and had some unique experience that became interesting part of my life. I took so many random classes, but I got to discover more in art, learned some great skills that benefited me till today.
I’m behind comparing to societal norms - school, graduate then work, marriage, then kids, become home owners etc… but who said life is just one way street. Sure, I’m not where I think I should be at my career. Maybe what I think where I should be is not what I think, it’s what society taught me to think.
If I keep living this way, I’ll miss life. So I commit to slow down and really enjoy present moment. Chasing the experiences that brings me joy and excitement rather than the paycheck and promotions. Chasing the experiences that gives me fulfillment rather than burn myself out doing things make me feel like robot. Learn how to live a life of contentment.