Life is Not a Dare. Don't Make it One
authenticity dare peer pressure
For example, once I had started doing well financially, meeting my own needs, I realized my best friend was making more than me and suddenly what I'd accomplished seem trivial. I got really competitive and instead of thinking about what I wanted to do with my new found stability, I instead focused on worrying about why I wasn't 'good enough' to make that much money.
This wasn't a dare my friend had put out, but I took it that way.
As long as I was open to what were effectively dares from other people, I would never have the energy to be authentic to myself.
I've spent most of my young life trying so hard to do Something Big and Important, but I didn't even know what that something was. The activities I cared about--writing fiction, creating games, hiking and camping, being with friends, traveling, studying martial arts--were pushed aside because they didn't seem like they could be significant.
It took nearly losing something really important, but seemingly mundane, for me to finally accept that I should dedicate my energies to appreciating life now, instead of chasing some nonexistent idea of what life could be.
When I left CrossFit, I made a commitment to myself that I was only going to spend my physical energy on activities that were inspiring and fun. Since then, I've been much happier and healthier, and enjoyed the process of being in shape much more.
Everyone has a different idea of what is important, but if you don't have your own definition, you end up chasing other peoples' all your life, never really pursuing your true purpose or happiness.
Your bliss, to use Joseph Campbell's terminology, is completely unique to you and your life. Nobody else can give it to you, and if you try to pursue a bliss that isn't yours, you end up lost.
Don't make the mistake of forgetting to make time to enjoy life because you're too busy trying to pick the right life.
Take some time to think about what really matters to you and ask yourself if you are giving that priority, or if you're living a life according to someone else's standards.
For a contrasting view, check out this article I wrote a while back. Can the two be reconciled?
Photo credit: Just Add Light on Flickr