If I could ban one word in our vocabulary it would be “Should.”
You should do this; you should have a proper job now; you should be thinking about settling down; you should really think about finding someone; slowly but surely turns into “I should” and that, in the words of Yoda, “will only lead to suffering.”
“Should” makes us feel inadequate; “should” makes us all feel like failures; “should” makes us feel like we’re behind on some invisible schedule that no one bothered to tell us about; and above all “should” tell us that we’re doing, at this very moment, is wrong, and what we really “should” be doing is X,Y and Z.
I’m 27. I have a BA and MA; I write for an awesome organisation called I AM THAT GIRL, and I have just begun my foray into music writing. Despite all of this, I still feel like a failure. I am told that I should learn to drive; I should move to London; I should do something with my degrees; and above all I’m never going to achieve anything if I stay where I am.
Now, this does not leave me feeling good. In fact it leaves me feeling like a complete and utter failure. These unnamed characters in my story have held up a mirror filled with my own insecurities and asked me to stare at them. All my achievements and all my efforts have gone unnoticed, and all that it is left is what I haven’t yet done but “should” do.
A dear friend and me had a conversation recently, after I was told once again what I “should” be doing with my life. My friend turned to me and said,
“If people can’t accept where you are at in life right now, they don’t belong in it.”
It was as if a light had gone on in my head. I realised that we are all works in progress, and the reason some of us will not have ticked off all the boxes on someone else’s list, is simply because, it isn’t their list. There is no race or prize for those who finish first, even though it seems like there is. We all may start from the same point but our paths afterwards are completely unique to us, and no one persons’ journey will look the same.