During childhood, I was convinced that if I had a specific number of friends, won some awards and became president, I would obtain my own nirvana on earth. Yet, truth be told, I was dead wrong. Despite all the venerable goals I have achieved, I have never truly been content with my life.

I realized this after I received my driving permit in the mail. I dreamt about getting my permit for years–but instead of celebrating, I immediately began to practice driving. It dawned on me that I don’t bask in the glory of my achievements; I just avert my focus to something bigger than what I previously accomplished.

I find myself encouraging this cycle with my inability to ever be proud of myself. Rather than living, I’m merely existing. I’m always anticipating for my next goal to be reached and doing nothing in between. Whenever it feels as if I have reached a goal, I have already moved onto whatever is coming next.

My life seems to be a never-ending loop of dissatisfaction being led by my own impatience. It doesn’t help that I am constantly comparing myself to the adults who seem so much cooler than I am. My discontent only grows when I hear about all the great things they are accomplishing; I can’t help but want to be just like them, which leaves me waiting until I reach their age to become even half as cool as them.

With all the improvements being made around me, it seems inevitable to stop searching for the next short-term medicine to heal my dissatisfaction. Even though I am not the only person who feels urged by the great expectation to continue gaining wealth and riches for my own contentment, I am beyond ready to end the cycle.

To finally slow myself down, I have to recognize the cool things I have done in my life. Sure, having goals keeps me motivated, but I end up feeling like a robot when I set my expectations one after the other. In order to be nicer to myself, I have to accept my failures as accomplishments, and live a life with goals instead of a goal-oriented lifestyle.

While I could pretend like my successes in life come with medals or bragging rights, I know deep down this is not true. I was not born just to gain possessions, but to truly live and enjoy the experiences that come along the way–and that is the greatest award of them all. Receiving recognition, even for the smallest things, can create a lifetime of happiness, and once I can give that to myself I will be a true winner regardless of what I have to prove it.

[poller_master poll_id=”884″ extra_class=””]