“Life is too short to be lived on fast-forward”

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After you’ve read a story, the moments in it that stick to you the most usually happen at the very beginning and at the very end. As someone who loves reading and writing, this happens to me a lot. I can tell you in detail how the story begins… and I can tell you with enthusiasm how the story ends. The things that happen in the middle part of the story may become hazy in my memory.

Real life, as you all very well know, doesn’t really work like this. We don’t really remember where we began. We don’t recall how we were born, what our first words were, how we behaved as babies. We may only know these things from the stories our parents have told us. In the same way, we don’t how, when or why our end will come about. We only know that it’ll happen someday.

Life is one long middle part. And no two stories are the same.

There are times in my life where I feel as if I am getting left behind. A lot of my peers right now are already holding jobs, starting their careers. Some of them are traveling to places I’ve always dreamed of going to. Others have started romantic relationships, and some have even started having their own families.

And here I am, a fresh graduate. Unemployed. Single. No money for traveling.

I’ve been taking time searching for opportunities online, going to events, pondering on and planning my next moves. Every day, I’ve had to remind myself of my life verse Jeremiah 29:11 because it reassures me that God knows how I feel and that He has plans for me and that I shouldn’t be so impatient.

Yet I also feel pressure from well-meaning family members and relatives to move faster. They keep telling me (both directly and indirectly) to get my act together, find a job, find a partner, etc.

Though I agree with their sentiments, I also can’t shake my feelings of helplessness and worry. The jobs I wanted–the jobs I’ve sent my résumé to–have yet to respond. I have yet to find a single person I’d want to start a relationship with (well, I’ve found some but they don’t feel the same way about me haha). I feel like Sisyphus who, as a punishment, has to roll a stone up a hill every day, only to watch the stone slide down the hill before it reaches the peak.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything wrong with me, if I’m leveling up too slowly, if I’m normal

Yesterday, my dad, sensing my worries, printed this out for me:

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(I apologize for the quality of the photo. I hope the highlighted parts are still readable though.) The short essay was written by a woman named Jane Timbengan. I don’t know who she is but I see myself in the words she wrote. The part that stuck to me the most was when she said “Do not hurry. Life is too short to be lived on fast-forward.”

And that’s when it hit me. Life is not a book with a clear beginning and end. In books, the story ends as soon as the main character achieves his/her goals, finds what he/she was looking for. But that is not reality.

Life is one long middle part. And no two stories are the same.

Each life is a unique experience. Each life is a different story. Some find happiness early, others find it later in life. One is not better than the other.

We keep comparing our stories to the stories of others. We forget that our story is no less beautiful, no less meaningful, no less essential than theirs.

To my peers, let’s all stop hurrying and enjoy our life as it is in the present.

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