Life is a journey not a destination. I don't know who said that but I love it. It is easy to get caught up in the race, the race to do more, be better, faster, richer, thinner, etc. etc. Our culture in the U.S. is based on competition and comparison. You don't believe it? Look around at the huge amount of money that goes into sports, athletes and promoting lean, fit, hard bodies and what they can achieve. There is an obsession with youth, glamour, wealth and appearance.
As I learn to accept life more as a journey in it's entirety and not a race to be won, I feel better able to relax in the flow of life, realizing that the experience itself is of greatest value. Some may see the experience as striving to achieve the greatest highs, winning the most awards and gaining fame or notariety. With the focus on making the "best" life by achieving benchmarks which society perpetuates as worthy. I'm not opposed to that, although my experience is that a focus on doing and achieving is often a life looking for the next thing and the next and not living in and appreciating the present moment with all the splendor it has to offer.
I know that I came into this life with a desire to do all and be all that I could be. Not in a competitive way but more with a focus on experiencing and learning. This obviously looks different for each individual. I'm not the athletic type so I didn't want to win Olympic gold medals. I am too rebellious for the traditional path of education, even though I thrive on learning. I've attended years of college, however I always questioned 'required' courses which didn't seem to apply so I didn't receive a diploma. I've definitely done life my way.
In my youth I felt impatient to grow up and get on with living my life the way I wanted to live it. This led to getting married at age 16 and having my first child at 17. I had three children by age 20 and by age 30 had self published a book that sold over 100,000 copies. I've never believed the rhetoric that people recited to me about being on a certain path prior to achieving success. What I'm referring to here is the path that society has outlined for us such as a college degree, or doing life in a particular way.
I am a big believer in following your inner guidance and forging your own path. This can be difficult and challenging at times but as I look back on 50+ years of living I wouldn't change a thing. All things have given me experience, even the painful and not so great moments. I can't compare my experiences to anothers. I have done life my way, guided by what I valued at the time. Doing the best I could with my understanding in each moment. I didn't want to live by anyone else's rules. Personal growth has always been a theme.