Last week, one of my favourite YouTuber’s (who shall go nameless) revealed that she got engaged. As an avid follower of her online journey, it was music to my ears to hear such positive news, especially amid the pandemic.
Even though I should have been captivated by her glowing excitement, I couldn’t help but notice some of the comments below the video. “I want what you have,” “can’t wait for your story to happen to me,” and “you have a perfect life” filled the thread. Honestly, I sat there, surprised. While wanting to find love is generally a human desire, wanting what others have is often rooted in envy and dissatisfaction with one’s own path.
I truly believe each person has a plan and purpose on earth. That means the design for your life will be different from your family members, partner, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Just like no two people have the same fingerprints (isn’t that amazing!), the journey you take will involve roads, valleys, pitstops, mountains, and detours that are unique to you. So, if you travel outside that trek and go over to someone else’s lane, you will lose focus on the direction ahead explicitly crafted for you. In the end, because of going off course, you realize that you are unfulfilled in your pursuit of the wrong things.
Now here’s where the real problem emerges; I will use the example of my fav YouTuber’s engagement to illustrate. What viewers witnessed last week on her channel is the “classic picturesque love story.” The sparkly ring, pearly white smiles, and perfection. This moment drew the attention of many who perceived her life as the epitome of success and formula for replication.
But, unless one followed her YouTube journey, which started over ten years ago, they would never know that she was single until 38 years old with no children, went through repeated heartbreak, professional failures, and therapy to deal with childhood trauma before coming to this season in her life. You see, her life is not compartmentalized. We are all made up of experiences that bring us to the present and eventually our future. We can’t remove the “negative” experiences and think we will have the same outcome had we not gone through these situations.
Today, most people can’t fathom being single at age 25 or not having their dream career by 30. Are the YouTube commentators on her post able to do the same well past those ages? Are they willing to go through years of delayed gratification with the understanding that things may not work out how they imagined? I doubt it because we are all equipped with the grace to walk out of our own lives. Not hers or anyone else’s, for that matter.
Interestingly, when I was younger, I wanted to be a celebrity. From the image presented to the world, stars seemed to have the best life. Money, cars, status, and fame are supposedly the “best” of everything that could be accessed. However, speak to many celebrities. You will find that they often lack real friendships because people are usually after what they have. Stars are always under the microscope and criticized by people’s prying eyes. They walk a very lonely road. Knowing my sensitive heart, that youthful wish was made in ignorance as I am confident my life would be a trainwreck if I were famous.
We should all strive to be better than yesterday. Sometimes better means enhancing a part of yourself in a way that is inspired by another person. There’s a difference between inspiration and envy. For example, I love Michelle Obama’s savvy and class, which are two attributes that can benefit me in many areas, including professionally and personally. Yet, that doesn’t mean I want what Mrs. Obama has. Her life is beautiful, but so is mine. Yours is too. Cherish it.
You were never meant to be a carbon copy. Be original and shine bright. This world needs you. It needs more people to make history and to be game-changers. You can be a part of that by being who you were born to be: YOU!