Life is difficult.

I often find myself trudging through the thick mud called living, pushing my legs through it despite the gross feeling licking my legs. There are so many things I wish to do, so many things I want to be, yet the weight of surviving is pulling me away from those dreams.

I want to change the world. How? I don’t know yet, I’m far too young to have that all figured out. Perhaps everyone wants to change the world, so what makes me different? What have I done now that makes any of my dreams valid? Am I not as ordinary as everyone else around me?

I am. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I am as ordinary as the rest of the 99% on this planet. I’ve been lost in my pursuits to success, have strayed the path and gawked at other things that have distracted me. I have allowed myself to be a child, to uncover secrets about myself and my flourishing personality. I have allowed myself to dream a million dreams.

I have allowed myself to grow.

So though I haven’t made grand impacts on the world around me, though I am not where I wish to be, I am alright. I am a seed growing into a flower (hopefully with pretty petals). I cannot keep living my life as if my next breath is my last. I cannot keep wishing that I was something that I am not. I cannot keep racing the clock of maturation because my idols have done so.

I must let myself be a kid.

And kids don’t know what they want to be. They haven’t even fathomed the direction of their future. Instead, they live and breathe in the present. They take a moment to look at the roses and wonder how they are so red. They play and laugh with the belief that despite everything, it will all be okay.

To those adolecents and young adults like me struggling to find their purpose in the world, I have one piece of advice. Allow yourself to grow. Allow yourself to feel the burn of failure, to reap the consequences of your mistakes, to stumble over your feet, to feel helpless and lost, to feel confused and alone, to feel bruised and broken, to feel cold and down.

Everyone must be lost before they can be found.

Whenever I feel that pit grow in my stomach, that feeling of dread that all my hard work pales in comperision to the extraordinary people around me, I envision a window. I’m looking through their window, clean and pristine, and on the other side, I see a bright green lawn with beaming christmas lights and decorations. The grass is the perfect length and the flower garden is as vivid as a the crisp setting sun. Their house is painted white with no blemishes, and a lady is reading a book on the ornate porch. I look back at my house. It seems as if a tornado has blown through. Papers of ideas are crumpled up beside the trash bin, the bed is unmade and has no pillows. The walls are a bland grey with no decorations.

It’s a sad sight compared to the beautiful white house on the other side. What I don’t realize is that I’m looking through a window, catching a small glimpse of their life. Inside, the tables are broken from incidents of anger, the walls are flooded in tears, or it is hollow. Empty. Souless.

I remember that this window only lets me see what they want me to see: their perfect life, well kept yard and painted house. It decieves me to believe that my life is pathetic in comparision, when in reality, their window shows the opposite. They see a pretty red brick house, stern and strong. You might not have as many lights in your yard, but your porch is filled with people you love.

The window of life is a deceptive, fragile one. Everyone believes that their perception of someone else is perfect, but in reality, every perception is warped by our unique experiences, feelings, and personalities.

Change your perception of yourself. Be proud of who you are but understand where you need to grow. An unfortunate yet revolutionary aspect of humankind is our inability to be satisfied. Other animals simply need food, mating, and sleep to be content, but the blend of human emotion and experience make us crave more. That’s why we innovate and change, why we are advances compared to other animals.

Be satisfied with your life, but don’t settle. Satisfaction is the understanding that is this is where I am meant to be, let me be here. Settling is stopping your dreams, failing your potential, because you’re tired of fighting.

Life is difficult, but it is doable. It a constant struggle for survival and happiness, but the moments that act as a ray of sunlight make the cold instances under the moon worthwhile. The warmth of love, the joys of laughter, the blanket of friendship, the high of achievement, and the relief of rest makes the failure worth it.

Keep trudging through the mud. It will make you stronger.

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