Life is Not a Shopping List

There are people out there that see life in a very black and white, linear kind of way. It’s a persistent group that maybe includes your aunt or an elderly relative, and they only know how to converse with you based on a list of things that you are “supposed” to gain as you progress through your time on planet Earth.

The list generally consists of:-

birth – school – college – university – job – house – holidays – retirement – death

And then this is interlaced with:-

boy/girl friend – wedding – kids – grandkids – great grandkids

As soon as you cross one thing off the list, they’ll be asking you about the next one. Don’t be surprised if they ask you when you are going to have kids as you walk out of your wedding ceremony! They have this list and their conversation does not deviate from this list. Sure, they’ll ask how job/house/kids are, but all they are looking for is to see where you on on the list and if you are ahead of schedule in gaining these things or if you are falling behind. They won’t ask if you’re happy.

Bottom line here: They are mentally in competition with you and want to see if they are winning or that their own child/grandchild is winning.

It is a totally bullshit way of looking at things. Life is not one big to-do list. It’s only linear in that we progress from young to old; everything else is one big juicy scribble that twists and turns; that leaps forward and goes back on itself. Even if you gain something on the list, doesn’t mean that you are going to keep it forever. Shit happens.

Their way of thinking is toxic. And if you’re going after something that deviates from this “norm”, they are going to talk to you as if you’re a bit deluded. There’s still a lot of prejudice around those who choose not to marry or procreate for example; like there is something wrong with someone who has made an informed decision based on their own experience, not to do something.

And when it comes to atypical jobs – starting your own business or wanting to be a pole dancer – there will always be these people who do not, and will not, try to understand you and the person you are or want to be. You can talk until your are blue in the face about it; if it’s not on the list, they won’t understand. They will still ask about a “real” job and see where you are on the list.

It’s disheartening. These people are ignorant. They can make you feel like you are not good enough if you talk to them for too long, especially if you’re just starting out on your own thing. They will make you feel as if you are stupid and deluded for wanting more than this list they are working from. And they will wish you well in the most back-handed kind of way.

They are drains on the soul. If you come into contact with anybody like this, remove yourself immediately; and if you can’t, then start asking them about themselves; listers love the list, and then talking about where they are on the list. And then, you should go prove them wrong about your life; show them how great it is to draw scribbles over following the line of the list.

You are smart, you are brave, and you’ve got this. Don’t let people like this get you down. Be true to your way of thinking and your dreams and ambitions. Don’t be afraid to want more than the list dictates you should have.


© The Motivation Project 2019