First comes the GPAs. Then the perfect attendance. Then the high school you get into. Then comes college. Then the college major. Then the college degree. Then the job. Then the salary to pay off your loans. Then the plateau that makes you wonder if you should get a masters degree. Then you get a masters degree. Then more loans. Then there’s the new job title. The bigger bank account. But wait a minute, you’re still single. Let’s find you a girlfriend. Now you’re going on dates. Then you finally find yourself a girlfriend. But your family and friends don’t think she’s pretty enough. Then you go searching for another one until the day comes and you get engaged. Then you need to plan the wedding. Then you get married. Then there’s the honeymoon. The house. The car. The white picket fence. Kids. A bigger house. A bigger car. Now your kids’ GPAs aren’t high enough. Now you're tired. Maybe it's time for a vacation. But when you arrive it’s not as great as you thought it would be. Oh no, your back is starting to hurt. Age is kicking in. In comes the chiropractor. The medication. The fact that he’s just milking you for all you’re worth. Fuck it, you even try acupuncture. All of the sudden you have needles sticking out from all parts of your body. He says you should do tai chi. But you just go back to work. All the while, time is ticking. Life is passing you by. And you’re going to get there, you say to yourself. Savings are adding up. 401ks adding up. Social security. Roth IRAs. Investment properties. They’re all adding up. And one day you look in the mirror at your 50-year-old self, and you’ve arrived. You’re married. You have a big house. A nice car. You can enjoy your life now. But the thing is you can’t. Your health is deteriorating, you've tarnished more relationships than you can count, and all you end up doing is spending all your hard-earned money on healing your mind, body, and soul after neglecting yourself for so many years. Then comes the senior home. Then comes your children who never seem to visit enough. Then it comes. Then it comes. Then it comes. And it’s never ending, and you look back and realize this was all kind of silly. Perhaps you should not have cared so much about what others thought of you. Perhaps you should not have tried so damn hard to keep up in this rat race that never really existed or mattered in the first place. Perhaps you should have taken more chances, eaten more ice cream, and spent more sleepless nights staring at the starry nights with your loved ones. Perhaps all the troubles you’re dealing with are just in your head, and you can actually do something about it. Perhaps this time around, you’ll have the courage to wake yourself up and make a change. Perhaps this time around, it doesn’t have to be never-ending. Perhaps, this time around, it can end. I mean wasting all your time and energy acquiring and stressing over things that don’t actually matter to the core of who you are. I mean all the time you spent trying to be perfect when we are all imperfect. Perhaps this time around, it can end, and when it ends, you can start again. I really hope you do start again.
by Jason Lam