In the words of the most profound philosophical thinker of this generation, Kylie Jenner, 2016 was to be the year of “realizing stuff”. Thanks Kylie, your input has been noted. But in all seriousness, how true was that? So true! 2016 was probably one of the toughest, stressful times of my 21 years on this earth, but totally necessary. Kylie will be chuffed to know that the realization was, well, realized.
In the eyes of other people, my 2016 probably looked like the absolute time my life. I went on amazing trips abroad, I got really involved in college life, and went on multiple nights out a week with so many fantastic people. It was almost enviable (God Brian, get over yourself). But in reality, none of these things weighed up to the anxious thoughts that embedded themselves in my mind, always perched there to remind me not to have too much fun, to enjoy life or to hope for anything in the future.
My main mistake of last year, and I think it’s a major mistake that most of us make, but also one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life, is how I thought about success. Success was a competition, where I would become successful by making sure the majority of people were somehow less successful. Not much consideration would be given to what might genuinely make me feel like smiling, but instead it was smiling in front of others that was most important. What was the point if nobody witnessed how happy and content I was? What I should do was more important than what I wanted to do. Happiness came second to anything that meant I was successful, and my mental health took a massive blow because of it.
My worst habit, comparing myself to other people, has been, and is, so difficult to shake off. Getting a Snapchat or seeing a Facebook status about someone’s success, like getting valuable work experience or writing for a well-known website, would plant a sick feeling right in my gut. “Why am I not doing that? Why hasn’t an opportunity like that come my way? I can’t fall behind, I need to succeed.” As much fun as it is, being in media college can be torturous at times because of this.
I guess the realization here is that nobody is perfect, and not one person, no matter how much they will have you believe, has the perfect life. Yes, I am just as guilty of plastering the good parts of my life all over Snapchat and Instagram, but I suppose what I try to remind myself is nobody has the perfect romantic life, nobody is 100% happy, secure and content all of the time, and nobody has everything figured out. I always used to think my life was lacking severely, because I didn’t have the amazing career prospects that other people had, or I didn’t have the picture perfect relationship that a friend might post about on Instagram, while some of the most precious and memorable times in my life were passing me by, like playing with my little nephew before he grows up, or lying on a gorgeous beach in Thailand with one of my best friends. I was too concerned with what I should be doing, or how I should be living my life, and it is my biggest regret. Should = my least favourite word.
Say what you want about Kylie, but that girl must own some sort of crystal ball, because the realization was real, Kylie. Like…. literally…. so real right now.