Career Stuff

The Grad Diaries – Not Giving In To ‘Perfect Life’ Syndrome

The pressure to have the perfect life is everywhere. From friends’ Facebook pages littered with pictures of amazing holidays and fabulous days out, to that one girl in your office who just got engaged, it’s easy to compare your life to others, and feel that you fall short. When it comes to the end of uni, and securing that elusive graduate job, the feeling of not being good enough can spiral. If you’re still looking for your dream job (or really any job. Please!?) you probably know what I mean. Whilst all your mates have got great places on grad schemes or internships, or even fully fledged jobs, and you’re happy for them, you can’t help feeling both left out and also like you’re failing. I am here to tell you that you’re doing fine, and you will find your own path soon.

The thing is, there is no such thing as ‘the perfect life’. It’s a lie. It’s been invented by films, and the media, and Facebook and Instagram. Everyone has problems, issues, and things they wish they could change. But at the end of the day, we should all try to be a little more grateful for the things that we do have, and stop letting the things we don’t have cancel them out. Striking a healthy balance between trying to improve yourself and being happy with what you have isn’t easy, but once you master it, you’ll be amazed at how far you can go. I’m still working on it, but I think the first step is to realise that. So this month I am going to be nurturing the parts of my life which make me happy; friends, hobbies, my ridiculously comfy bed, and also working towards the dream life I want.

It’s also important to remember that everyone does things at their own speed, and just because Sue and Dave both have jobs already it doesn’t make them any better than you. Sure they’re a couple of rungs higher on the ‘grown up’ ladder right now, but you’ll get there. In fact you might even learn something on your slightly slower journey up that they didn’t have a chance to see. Really it all comes down to realising you can’t compare yourself to anyone else’s life, as it will never look the same as yours.

Instead, the thing which I have found useful is to take those people whose careers, hobbies and talents you envy (whether in real life or through social media) and turn the jealousy into something positive. So you wish you had a successful YouTube channel like your favourite vloggers? Well get a camera and start making videos! You’re envious of that famous author? Write more, post it out into the world, try to get an agent. A little bit of life-envy can be used to spur you on to your own success, as long as you don’t let it overtake you. Use the examples of ‘perfect’ lives as inspiration, and motivation. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve when you really go for it.

I am currently putting this ideology to practice in my own life, and it’s already bringing results. I’ve been offered the chance to blog once a month for Young Women’s Trust, and am in the process of preparing a pitch to write for Hello Giggles. It’s a slow process, but every time I publish a new post, or get a new follower, I remember that I am on my way. I also tell myself that even if I don’t do every single thing that I want to, I can be happy knowing that I’ve given it my best shot. A lot of joy can come from the journey towards your goals, so I try to enjoy every moment that I get to spend doing what I love; writing, campaigning, or just being with people close to me.

What are your dreams or goals? Are you on your way to achieving them? Make a list of three things you can do, no matter how big or small, in the next week or month, to get you that little bit closer. Then make a list of three things/people/facts about your life right now that you are happy about. Stick both up somewhere you can see, and use them as motivation to live the ‘perfect life’. Or not.

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