Coming into the final year of university as well as a large population of others the stresses of ‘life after university’ is becoming a very daunting prospect. With people ranging between not having a clue and to having their life planned out when they’re 35, married with 2 kids living in the suburbs of Edinburgh, it’s hard to think of where you’re going in life.

There’s lots of stresses that this causes when any chapter of life comes to an end, firstly is the ‘where do I go now?‘ worry of how to get the works in play to move onto the next chapter in life, whether it’s after university, within a career, or whether it’s a personal matter like getting a new flat or getting engaged, there’s always preparation for ‘the next step’. I myself always like to look ahead and prepare as much as I can, but something I would say when you’re looking forward, is to not forget the present. The now.

Staying in the now isn’t a crime, living within the moment is how we get so much out of what we want from life. If you don’t stop to see where you currently are, how can you enjoy it? There is only so much planning one can do, but to benefit from the future you must learn to enjoy the moments when they come.

One of my favourite quotes from any book I’ve read comes to mind when I think about this:

“What’s the point in life if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” – John Green

Until this point I’ve used this as a way of motivation, the drive that makes me want to accomplish something in my life. I still do, but now I realise that this quote has context. One thing I’ve noticed from this current generation is everything is very goal orientated, by which I mean that what careers we might pursue in later life or what goals we set ourselves are brought up at an early age. I mean this no way in bad light as it’s good to build dreams and to aspire to become what you want to be in life. However there is something I find that lacks in this. Whenever people as ‘what do you want to be?’ whether it’s in a year, a couple, a decade, a lot of people look towards earning large sums of money, success, fame, to leave a mark in history and and to be great. Where there is nothing wrong with this, one thing I will say is this.

Do you know what I want to be? Happy.

We’re so focused nowadays on being the best we can be and achieving those goals we set that in doing so happiness, a vast majority of the time, gets put aside striving to reach those aspirations that we set ourselves at all costs. I know people who have pursued degrees and jobs because ‘I’ll get a good career out of it’ or ‘it pays well’. You could be earning a 6-figure salary, but if you hate what you do what exactly is the point? If you don’t love what you do is there any real point at all? To be happy I think is one of the most difficult things to accomplish, because happiness changes at different stages in life, so you’ve always got to adapt to where you own happiness leads you. It can change dependent of your physical and/or mental wellbeing at any point.

If someone asked me now what I want to be, I would tell them a list full of things that have nothing to do with jobs or careers.

I want to be able to relax, without thinking of every little thing I have to do within a day. I want to be able to not be so time conscious that I have to constantly be wondering what the time is. I want to be able to focus on what I’m doing, and to not compare myself to others thinking ‘why can’t I be like them?’ leading to knit-picking at my own merits. I want to be proud of who I am. I want to be able to enjoy conversing with family and friends, to fully immerse myself in conversation, instead of thinking of other work I could be doing, to shut off the background thoughts. I want to be able to know that time spent not working is equally important as time spent working, as bodies and brains need time to wind down. I want to be able to reply to messages without an eon of time passing, and to try and make more of an effort to maintain contact with friends. Especially from Suffolk & Toronto. I want to be able to not rush everything I do, because rushing fixes nothing and leads to stressing out myself, my friends, my girlfriend, my family, everyone. I want to be able to look in the mirror be happy with how I look, rather than ‘have I lost weight again?’ or ‘why can’t I put on weight?’. For all the Great British Bake Off fans, there was one thing that resonated with me in Candice’s speech when she found out that she’d won GBBO – ‘I did it, I’m good, I’m good enough’. I want to be able to say this to myself and believe every single word of it.

Do I think that achieving these things will make me happy? To an extent yes. Do I think they are the only things that will make me happy? No. One thing to realise is that everyone has their own version of happiness. At this point in time, I would settle be being able to properly relax and to be content with who I am as a person. Other peoples versions of what will make them happy will be vastly different from mine as everyone has their own pursuit of happiness.

All I’m trying to say is, when you’re thinking about ‘the next step’, or thinking about what you want do or be regardless of where you’re at in life think about what makes you happy, because at the end of the day your happiness should be the number one priority when making an decision.

Keep Exploring,