Updated: Dec 1, 2021
Run. Run faster. Faster still. They've almost caught up with you. RUN!
You must be getting pretty good at it by now, running. You've been doing it for what, years now? Racing against your friends, peers, family even; racing against time itself, trying to leave life behind in pursuit of...
In pursuit of what? Money? Luxury? Success? Oh, please don't sit back and think to yourself it was bliss you sought after, because if that's what you were actually looking for, you wouldn't have spent every second chasing it in misery. You have been miserable, haven't you? You're too tired to go on; too afraid to admit it; too conditioned to stop. And when the dust settles, and you have your prize, it's too late to realize the fickleness of it. All of it. You'll squander away your cash, you will face failure eventually, and need I even remind you how temperamental bliss is?
Think back to the last time when you were just your own person. Not this competitive, cutthroat shell of a human being. And now, go back to the last time you were truly happy. Satisfied with life, even. Unless you're one lucky individual, chances are these two overlap. You were probably 11. It must've been your summer vacation. And you went knocking doors all around your building, rounding up your friends for a little afternoon cricket. But now, I can't remember a summer break when I wasn't scrambling to cram for grades, or finding new ways to bulk up my resume; desperately trying to atleast pretend to be productive.
So what? We all grow up, life happens, right? Wrong! Don't hide your insecurities and label them as life. Don't pretend it doesn't trigger your anxiety when your friend of ten years excels in their job. Don't try to camouflage yourself in an environment where you don't belong just because that's "the" place to be. Envy and apprehensions, fueled by your own fears, and cleverly disguised as your 'dedication to a brighter future'.
Listen. It will work out for you. One way or another. Trust me, it will. It might seem duplicitous coming from a stranger on the Internet, because oh what do I know? But, I promise you, you're not alone. Look at the person sitting next to you right now, whoever they are. Look at them. Your faces might differ, but your feelings are the same. Stay present enough, and you'll sense the same uneasiness in everybody you encounter. Like, they've seemingly built an amazing life for themselves, and yet, their soul is just as unfulfilled as ever.
Take it from me. I know it's life, and I'm well acquainted with the paralysing fear of missing out. So do what you have to do. But, love. Love everybody, and love yourself. Be gentle, be patient, be forgiving in a world unkind. Go mint your money, but don't sell your peace for it. If you insist on chasing after fleeting pleasures, make sure to pause for a second every once in a while to come up for the fresh air that contentment is. Be content with what you have, but especially with what others do. Stop running, drop out of the race, that's the only way you could ever win.
Life isn't a fairytale. We live in metropolitans. There are no rainbows in the sky, only traffic fumes. So, if you ever chance upon even a single bright star on a clear night, remember to be grateful. Remember to look for your fairytale in the little things.
Do you, for you. Only you.