by Ozgur Zeren
People often ask, “At my age, what should I have achieved?”
My answer: You don’t have to ‘achieve’ anything.
No one would be able to give an applicable definition of what an ‘achievement’ truly means in the first place.
You are here to do what your inner voice tells you to do.
Whatever calls you, whatever enchants you, whatever attracts you, whatever you are obsessed with doing.
If you don’t know what calls you, then the first thing you must do is to discover it.
Others’ definitions of achievement, happiness, success, a life well lived do not matter. In the end, you will live your life, and at the end of it you will be the one dying and getting out of it.
No one else will take your place during this journey. You will live through it all.
In the end, when you are old and dying, you won’t tell yourself “Man, thank God I achieved ‘status X’ and amassed ‘wealth quantity X’, because these were the achievement standards of society”.
You definitely won’t be telling yourself “Wow, I remember the IPO (Initial Public Offering) we did. It was over 100 bucks per share or something…”
No one tells himself such stuff.
Rather, people regret things they did not do. Experiences not had. Human relations they did not have.
Even the fact that you ask this question about ‘achievement’ says that you are giving credence to whatever standard of ‘achievement’ your society has. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be asking this question.
Society’s standards will change. It changes every few decades. It will change even more drastically in the next decades, due to new factors like internet, new ways of living the digital age brings, new philosophies.
You have some ~60+ years ahead of you, judging by the average lifespan today, in which people live upwards 80. By the time you get old in ~50-60 years, lifespan will have increased even more, and you will probably easily live to 90 and possibly more.
You have a great amount of time ahead of you yet.
But any second of that time which is lived according to society’s expectations or standards will be lost, regardless of how long you live.
This doesn’t mean you should be a self-centered a-hole. You should fulfill your obligations towards good people around you, your environment, the world around you.
But they should be done from moral and humane perspectives and conscience, not from the coercion or biases of the society.
Because in the end, this is your story.
You should write it how you want to write it.