Life can be like one of Leonardo DaVinci’s best works of art — ‘St. Jerome in the Wilderness’ — an unfinished yet highly valued masterpiece
Look how wonderful of a masterpiece you are!
I am a perfectionist, at least to a certain degree.
And like most perfectionists, I am ambitious and driven to succeed — personally and professionally seeking to do and get better, be healthier, build wealth, increase as well as add value to my network, impact lives and leave a legacy for my children among other things.
The thoughts of how to accomplish these goals before a certain age, at some point in my life got me so panicky that it made me lose sight of the efforts and progress that I was already making. It made me forget the fact that being alive, hale and hearty meant that my goals were still very much achievable even if not on my set time.
I would often see my life as half-empty rather than half-full like an optimist would. No “little” achievement made sense or seemed enjoyable except it looked exactly like the picture of the goals I had painted in my head.
I almost never relished any success for too long before I began to worry about all the other things that needed to be done, how much time I had left and if I will ever meet up.
Tired of living like this every other day, I sat and asked myself these very important questions –“Who the heck designed this timetable?” ‘“Who exactly said I must live my life as though racing against something or someone?” “Who said accomplishments before or after a certain age is no longer valid?”
I can bet that no one has any idea of who it is.
This realization marked a turning point in my life because I came to understand that ambition, if not tempered with patience and self-kindness can rapidly turn into an unsustainable lifestyle.
Life isn’t wired to be perfect.
As we all know, it isn’t smooth sailing; it is a series of ups, downs, lefts, rights, zigzagging at times, standing still or being stuck in a place. It is a messy mish-mash of good, bad, ugly, awesome and not-so-awesome experiences.
Because we are beings living by social constructs, we tend to behave or live a certain way in order to flow with the tide. We beat ourselves up over the things we should have attained, being hard on ourselves when we seem not to be meeting up with some contrived timeline while easily forgetting how far we’ve come, the wins we’ve had, the challenges we overcame and how beautiful and rich the tapestries of our lives are if we take stock of what really matter.
It is therefore imperative that when we find ourselves being worried about our lives and comparing our lives with those of others who have completely different life-paths and purposes from us, we must persistently remind ourselves that — We are all unique, our journeys are different and for that reason, there can never be one universal timeline. As long as you listen to your inner compass, where you are on your journey currently is where you need to be.
A quote from Emily Maroutian captures the essence of this message:
“In life, there’s no schedule or timetable that we all must follow. It’s all made up. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you need to be. We are all different with a variety of needs and goals. Some get married early, some get married late, while others don’t get married at all. What is early? What is late? Compared with whom? Compared with what? Some want children, others don’t. Some want a career; others enjoy taking care of a house and children. Your life is not on anyone else’s schedule. It’s YOUR timeline, not anyone else’s, and nothing is off schedule.”Emily Maroutian
The Igbos of Nigeria have a saying — “Mgbe onye ji tete bu ụtụtụ ya” meaning “When you wake up, that is your morning.” Whenever you attain any milestone, that is the right time to have it regardless of any reason.
Life isn’t a competition.
You were created to truly live so do you at your own pace, do your best, celebrate your wins, enjoy life as fantastically as you can and like one of Leonardo DaVinci’s best works of art — ‘St. Jerome in the Wilderness’ — an unfinished yet highly valued masterpiece, always remembers that you are a work in progress while also being a stunning masterpiece at the same time.