Rise! Queen, King, change the world. You can be better. Do better. Inspire better. You've got this.
Let's go, let's go, let's go. Ugh.
Did anyone else just suddenly become exhausted when you were feeling pretty OK minute ago?
Maybe I'm just getting old, but honestly, the pressure we seem to put on ourselves and others to go, go, go, is just well, tiring.
I saw a Facebook reel this Monday morning by Project Happiness that said, "Every day is not an opportunity to improve yourself" and I just sort of let out a breath I hadn't even realised I had been holding. The reel continued: "Some days are just there for you to accept yourself and look at the clouds. This too is growth."
I don't know about you, but I rather think I needed to read that today.
I think that social media possibly has a lot to answer for in this space. We see snapshots of other people's lives in short videos on socials and feel the pressure to maintain similar energy all throughout the day.
Afterall, if Jodie on YouTube can be peppy and perfectly primped while exercising, cooking a three-course meal, with a baby on her hip and a toddler at her ankles while holding down a full-time job, and
I'm reaching blindly for a can of some horrendous energy drink with guarana in it, as I watch the activity on my screen - all done with an annoyingly perfect smile on her face to boot - then what am I even doing with my life, right?
What many of us forget, I think, is that this is two minutes mins out of Jodie's day. For all we know, she has take-out Indian in that slow cooker and just scooped home-brand vanilla ice cream into her container of "home-made gelato". I mean, are those kids even hers?
Well OK, the kids are probably real, but my point is that we cannot set our raw, uncut bar based on two minutes of someone else's highly edited, polished and set to a soundtrack of their "life" TikTok.
Anyone who follows me on socials knows that I am very much uncut and raw! And that's not only because I can't be bothered with the fancy lighting and running it all through the editing software (although it's a little bit that). It's because I don't think we have the right to share our biggest successes if we also don't share our failures. Our stuff ups. Our lessons learned. Plus, you know, a girl needs content!
No one learns from success. We all do our most important learning when we fail, screw up, yell out "edit, undo, UNDO!" into the universe ether as we splatter yellow paint on a perfectly decent white door in our office ... OK, that last one may just be me, but you get the point. It's all growth.
Everything we do, we achieve something - to quote Jason Mraz, you win some or learn some. And it's OK to just sit with the lesson. To have a cup of tea and stare off into the distance. To snuggle in a blanket and watch movies or read a trashy novel. Or to just curl up and go back to sleep.
Sometimes, we all need to check out for a day. Or two. It's OK to need to take time for you. You don't have to be the best version of you all the time. In fact, I would say it's pretty impossible to maintain that kind of energy.
Trying to do this - to maintain TikTok-level energy in the documentary of your life - is the fastest way to burn yourself out. We don't know for sure if we get a do-over of this life. It's important to literally take the time to smell the roses while we're here, to enjoy the ride, not just focus on keeping our foot on the accelerator.
I know it's clichéd to say life is about the journey, not the destination, but you know what? We're all hurtling towards the same inevitable destination and I for one am in no rush to arrive. So, look out the window. Take in the view. And forgive yourself for not being TikTok-ready 24/7.
At least this is what I tell myself. Feel free to let me know I'm right.
- Zoë Wundenberg is a careers consultant and un/employment advocate at impressability.com.au, and a regular columnist for ACM.