There’s no such thing as a waste of an experience. Or a period in time. Or your life. You cannot live your life without personal growth and development. And you cannot live without impacting upon others. So there is no waste. Unless you live in a hole, with no outside interaction it is literally impossible. And even then – if you allow yourself to learn new things and think new thoughts, you are simply not a waste of space, or of anybody’s time.
It is easy to think that if you don’t achieve what you set out to, or are going day-to-day without striving for any new goals, or without any major life changes, that you are wasting your time. That you should be doing something more. More important or impressive or useful. But sometimes we all need a break. Sometimes it’s a day or two. Sometimes a year, or even more. Studying for years and doing nothing resembling your qualification, isn’t a waste – it’s personal growth, determination and self-reflection. It is the able to re-evaluate your life and all you’ve learnt and decide that, maybe that’s not what you want after all and that’s okay.
It is so essential that you let yourself take the time that you need to sort through everything. You need to let yourself remember what it is that you truly want, and learn how to make yourself happy again. It is too easy to go through life doing only is expected of you, or what you think you should be doing, without asking what it is that will actually make you happy. It is so easy to pin your hopes on the next thing, and the next after that; “I’ll be happy after I leave school”, “I’ll be happy after I get a car”, or find a partner or get a full-time job or whatever it is. It is so easy in this way to let life pass by without being happy with what you have and who you are in that very moment.
And easy too, is to compare ourselves to others, seeing that we are underachieving, or worthless compared to them. But any comparison that you draw to another is unfair on you. There is no one else on this little blue planet who is you. Nobody has the same life, experiences, thoughts and feelings as you. Even if you are in outwardly similar positions, there is no knowing what is actually going on. If you see them as successful compared to you in one aspect, it is unbelievable they are more accomplished in every aspect. And even supposing that maybe (impossibly) they are, who is to say that they are happy and don’t look at others the way you view them?
As cliché as it is, you really do only get one shot at being alive, so you must try to be you. By attempting to be somebody else, you are depriving yourself, and the rest of the world of the chance of seeing who you can really become. And you know what, it’s okay not to be okay. It’s okay to feel lonely, or sad, or frustrated – they deserve to be felt too (didn’t you learn anything from Inside Out?)
Suppressing emotions never ends well and only leads to more heartache further down the track. Let yourself feel. But then do something about them. Talk to a friend, watch your favourite movie, write it all out. Do not let yourself sit in your pyjamas pretending like everything’s fine for the fourth day in a row, without trying to help yourself. If you do not ask for help or support, people will assume you don’t need it. But everyone needs it at some point. And that is very okay. It is only human. We all hurt, we are all damaged and flawed. But we can all help each other. And that’s the best part.
Disclaimer: This is mostly a letter to myself, these are the important things I need help remembering sometimes. I am sorry it is so ramble-y.