The cool thing to do these days is to not drink, be a vegan and do yoga everyday. Twenty somethings pride themselves for being boring on a Friday night and “adulting.” I love not being hungover and I think I am exceptionally awesome if I do a HIIT class at 6a AND make a smoothie. I also feel guilty. “Why aren't I having more fun? Am I having fun? Why don’t I go out as much any more? Are these really my problems? There are people dying in the world!” I am a college educated middle class American woman above “x” percent of the world (too lazy to look it up). Why do I feel guilty about that? According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs - my basic needs are met. I can get brunch whenever I want, I get Ice Mountain water delivered to my apartment, I’m married, I have friends that will go to Austin, Texas with me and pretend I am a Filipino pop star! (pic above) I have my dream job. What the f*ck else is there?? Right now, I’m at the top of the pyramid and the only thing left is self-actualization or trying to understand the meaning of life, which sounds like a big, daunting task and a huge responsibility if you ask me. Feeling guilty about how lucky I am isn't helping me or anyone else in the world.
Marianne Williamson famously wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be?” There’s a reason this quote is on every Gen Y girl’s Pinterest board. People feel guilty about all the wonderful things they have in life that it literally causes them to be sick, unemployed or depressed. Or, they feel so overwhelmed by how much possibility and choice they have that they pretend to be poor, do nothing, take on a mediocre job, or dress like a homeless person even though they’re rich as hell (cue Mary Kate + Ashley at the height of their boho phase). It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how “good” or “bad” you have it. Know how awesome you are and own it. I want this for myself, and I want this for everyone I meet, know and love.
When we believe in ourselves and what we’re capable of, we create meaningful changes in the world. “Helping others” isn't your purpose in life, giving your life meaning is your purpose in life. Mother Teresa, Steve Jobs and Oprah didn't just want to "help people" they served a higher purpose and had a bigger "why." We’ve all met someone who does nice things but is still kind of an a**hole. Daily affirmations or empty acts of kindness are not what makes you, you. Knowing yourself and loving yourself on a deep level and using your personal skills and talents in whatever way makes you happy can make a bigger impact in the world than simply trying to do something “good” because you feel "bad."
YES, you are lucky. Own it. Be grateful for what you have, figure out your life's purpose, and go live it. If you don't know what your purpose is, do whatever you can to help you figure it out. Take a class, read a book, meditate, ask a mentor. You owe it to yourself and the world. People will judge you and you’ll even judge yourself, so you might as well do what you want. As Freud noted, ‘Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.’ Instead of wasting your time feeling bad about how good you have it, or making fun of others who show off how good they have it, use your time on this planet to get to know yourself, define your life and live it out loud.