Progress. Upward momentum. Promotions. Degrees.
No matter what we call it, there is always the pressure and assumption that we must want to move upwards. That once in a relationship you must plan to get married. Then buy a house. Then have children.
The job you finally snagged after going to college and putting yourself in debt; you have to want a promotion. Then to become a supervisor. Better yet, why don’t you just own the place!
You must always want to move upwards. No matter what. No matter the cost.
Sometimes that cost is our own happiness and so often people are willing to forgo that in order to make more happen – to fit this mold and goal structure that society has set for us that is absurd and causes so much unneeded stress on people. That encourages people to live outside of their means, putting themselves further in debt, dieting until we are sick, working ourselves until absolute burnout.
Society says we must always want more.
Society is wrong.
We never talk about how it is okay to stay still. To relish in the beauty of the moments you have and be happy with your relationship as is it. It’s okay to look forward to the simple joy of coming home to a partner that loves you and asks about your day, listening intently as you speak animatedly about something that happened. To love the apartment that has the absolute best view and Starbucks around the corner for your daily coffee fix. And the job. To just love what you are doing and be able to leave at the end of the day with a smile on your face, not wondering how you can do more than your colleague to prove you are worthy.
You are worthy. Even if you don’t stay past closing. Even if you don’t want to go back to college to get that master’s degree. Or you don’t want to get married or have children.
We don’t always have to uproot our lives and what makes us happy in an effort to always be moving upwards. The focus, the true goal, should be to grow within ourselves and aim to be the best version of ourselves we can be. This doesn’t mean we have to get married, have kids or get promotions to validate our self-worth because happiness looks different for everyone. Accepting this is true freedom, true upward momentum.
Think about it. There would be no more pressuring ourselves to find someone we want to marry or working overtime to prove we deserve that promotion. No more missing out on sunny days, dinners with our families or dance recitals and t-ball games. Vacations would be taken without feeling like we are letting our company down and driving the newest, fanciest car not a requirement to be seen as having truly made it.
At the end of the day, each person should pursue their own happiness. For some that is going to be the new car, promotion and a beautiful house on the hill. For others, it’s going to be simple days in the sun and a job that makes ends meet.
We must remember, though, that it is okay to stay still. To not want more. To be happy with what we have and who we are. Because if we aren’t truly happy with what we have in this moment, no amount of money or notoriety is going to change that.
So, I challenge you to stop. Reflect. Take notice of what truly matters and remember: It’s Okay to Not Want More.