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I’ve backspaced several attempts at writing something related to work. I started writing about how we imagine our future not simply as a pursuit of a desired career, but also as what will benefit our families (especially financially). I then started writing about how easy it is to devalue certain jobs because they’re not as glamourous or “world-changing,” but are the backbones of our first world luxuries. I then started writing about our hard-working parents who are so diligent and dignified in their jobs, no matter what they do, because it meant we would have a home, food, and an education. I then started writing about how hard it is to take that education and apply it in a way that makes money, but also doesn’t act against some fundamental beliefs.
Constantly backspacing these ideas was a disheartening experience. Many of you reading this have read other pieces (shout-out to my friends who make me feel famous by sharing it on Facebook) I’ve written over the year and I was trying to find ways to top them, to wow you more than any other piece had. I’d write something and think, “nah, that sounds cliché,” or “now you’re just preaching to your audience,” or “no one will like this as much as your other stuff so what’s the point in stressing about making this one good?” I’ve put an insurmountable amount pressure on myself to only ever be great and that anything less is a failure. When something is (inevitably) less than great, I have no way to deal with it except crawl in a hole and struggle to ever do anything again.
I’ve recently watched several YouTube videos (vlogbrothers, for the nerdfighters out there) of people talking about how they feel the same way. I’d heard a million times (mostly through Instagram quote-photos with clouds or sunsets in the background) that failure is just a part of the journey, but to hear people I thought were successful talk about very real failure showed me that not only am I not alone in this stress and disappointment cycle, but that failure shows that there’s still more to learn. This simple and obvious truth finally sank in for me. I’m only 21 and there’s a billion things I have not learnt yet, and I’m still growing, and I’ll still be growing at 30, and I’ll still have things to learn at 50, and I have a lot more failing to do so learning to cope with it now will help me later in life (this is all under the assumption that I won’t die in terrible and tragic accident… but that’s how we always imagine our futures).