After my trip last weekend throughout the Western part of Austria, my perspective has definitely changed. I am much more at peace with my current circumstances. As John Steinbeck wrote in Cannery Row, “Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.” This pretty much sums up my outlook about the here and now.
However, I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about the future. What do I want my life to look like? How do I want to be remembered?
Growing up I was always told I could be anything I wanted to be. I think many in my generation were enticed with these exact same words or similar statements. While there is plenty of truth in this statement, particularly growing up in America, I have also found it to be quite misleading. You see, what I want to be and what I am are two different things, both personally and professionally.
Another common attribute of my generation that I can relate to is the expectation that things will happen with immediacy. While I think in some cases this can lead to feelings of entitlement, I am talking more about the pace at which things take place. In the 25 years that I have been alive, the amount of change that has occurred in the world is astronomical. (This is not to say that during other periods of time in history change did not take place, nor do I want to diminish the way in which other generations have adapted to change). However, paired with the amount of change is the speed at which things are changing. In today’s world, it doesn’t take long to feel like you’re falling behind.
Because of these two elements I have an expectation of where I should be, both personally and professionally. I have the expectation that I should have already arrived at where I want to be. And I have the sense that I’m falling behind because I’m not yet there.
Fortunately, I am learning that becoming who I want to be is a journey that takes time. It will not happen immediately and at times there will be setbacks that leave me feeling behind. I don’t want to go through life doing mundane things. I want to go through life being intentional about how I spend my time, adding value to this world we live in, and focus on leaving a legacy that honors God. And, I have to trust that the doors that open and close along the way will allow me to do just that.
Which brings me back to the quote by Steinbeck: “Being at ease with himself put him at ease with the world.”
It’s not bad to strive for things. It’s not bad to have high expectations. It’s not bad to plan for the future. But you must do so with the right perspective.