In life, there are no mile markers. Nobody is timing you. Nobody is forcing you to run any pace. There are sprinters and there are long distance runners, and we all have different goals and different plans and different roads to travel.
I have a very different life from most of the other SR writers: I am chronically single and live in an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, with two roommates. I work brutally long hours at an entry-level job and have done so willingly — even eagerly — for the last 5 years, and as a result I don’t get enough sleep, regularly disappear from social life and cook at home like…never. I live paycheck-to-paycheck with no benefits, no longer have any assets and have made no notable professional achievements.
I turn 32 today.
I think my idea of a successful life was always a comfortable one…but comfortable this is not. Sometimes it feels like I should care more about not living up to societal standards. There’s pressure to be farther along in life by now, whatever that means. There’s pressure to define my own success the same way others do, pressure to measure it by financial numbers, pressure to to “settle down.”
I don’t really measure up in those ways…but I feel successful nonetheless. If there is one thing running has taught me, it’s that success is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.