Our Desire to “Become…”

Ever since we were little, people always told us there is a series of activities we need to cross off of our life’s to-do list. Our dissatisfaction with living in the moment makes us want to work for a new “level” of our lives, which usually does more harm than good. We are constantly aiming at our next benchmark, whether to become a high school graduate, a college graduate, a doctor, teacher, economist, CEO, engineer, parent, spouse… However, we fail to realize there is no such thing as “becoming.” 

With this in mind, we must learn to appreciate the present, understanding that growth comes naturally to us, and we shouldn’t feel pressured by society’s expectations. It is essential to stop living only by looking forward to a specific chapter of our lives and start enjoying our day-to-day. We’ll then realize time is going by, and by being so focused on what we have yet to live, we forget to cherish what we already have.

We are on an unstoppable journey towards being better, which isn’t limited to nor stops in a specific stage of our lives. Don’t get me wrong: it is healthy to achieve our goals, but we should never think our growth will stop the second we do. We should live with the mentality that we could always be better. We can constantly improve how we act and how we treat others without letting ambition cloud our judgment. 

Life is all about evolving, and if we try to encapsulate ourselves in just a fraction of our existence, we won’t be able to unlock our full potential or reach where we were supposed to. Society imposes a specific timeframe upon us, in which we have to complete the activities viewed as “normal” for our age. “You need to go to school, go to college, get married, have kids, and then you’ll be all set,” they usually suggest. However, real growth happens when we understand there is no such thing as being all set. There is no specific moment we stop evolving. Therefore, we should strive to maintain the fire that motivates us to develop progressively. As Michelle Obama said in her book, “for me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”