Earlier this year, I read The Alchemist. It’s essentially about a character in pursuit of treasure. Embarking on a journey with the protagonist, readers are left to process the meaning behind his interactions and setbacks. What I think is most engaging about the book- no matter the audience- is the timelessness of being in pursuit.
At every age, we are chasing something- a degree, a position, or income level. Sometimes we get so caught up in the goal, or the frustration of not having it, that we lose sight of what’s important. In essence, at any given moment, we are the protagonist. Problem is, when you’re in the story, it’s not always easy to process the meaning behind each chapter.
Recently I was in a state of cloudiness, lost in the fog of where I wanted to be, where I am, and everything I have to do. Low key, I was mentally overwhelmed. No matter how hard I worked, my to do list wasn’t getting any shorter, and even with promising blessings on the horizon, my attainment of “success” seemed so far away.
I honestly don’t know where these thoughts and insecurities come from, but I can recognize when I’m caught up in my head about something. In church this weekend, the pastor said, “The quickest way to kill your calling is through comparison.” If I truly think about the source of my worry, it narrows down to expectations of others and looking at someone else’s journey.
Funny thing about The Alchemist is when the main character noticed and tried to emulate another character’s path, he found himself lost and disconnected. The other character was erudite and well-read, while the protagonist operated more on intuition. When the two switched processes, neither one made any ground. Moral of the story, our unique paths are not right or wrong; they are just different.
Our unique paths are not right or wrong; they are just different.
It’s easy to look at what someone else is doing, what an onlooker may say, or where a person is, and question or evaluate your own placement. Often times we label where people are as “successful” or “put together” but the fact is everyone is in pursuit. I was reminded of this most recently when reading an Essence article about Kay Oyegun- a staff writer for This is Us and Queen Sugar (with whom I also happened to attend college).
Kay said, “We’re all learning. There’s no there to [get to]. Even the people at the top, they’re still learning. You have everything you need right now.”
"You have everything you need right now.”
In the article she mentions how people carry this idea of wanting to be “there” one day. We believe life will be different when we hit a certain point, when reality is that the present is filled with the lessons, resources, and time we need to get things done. It’s hard to explain why, but after reading her article, I deleted the Instagram app from my phone. I found that my lack of clarity and time drainage were both wrapped up in the power of such a little application and all its pressures.
I’m not promoting a social media fast, but I am saying that when we take time to evaluate exactly where we are, we will find the answers we need to regain the peace to keep moving forward. Every journey is different. That’s where the beauty is. Figure out what's keeping you stuck or insecure, then address it so you can refocus.