For as long as I can remember, I’ve been striving to attain that something, waiting for the big bang moment where everything will fall into place and my life will be complete. While it’s healthy to have goals, the older I become the more I’m realising that there’s a danger in anticipating these big bang moments. Life rarely turns out as planned, so living this way can often leave you feeling a failure in comparison to others.
Until very recently, I’ve always lived my life and steered my life towards these big bang moments, the most recent being buying a house. For the past few years I’ve been labouring under the idea that what will determine whether my life is a success or failure is if I buy a house for myself and my daughter. In my mind it was as if achieving this would somehow wipe away all my past mistakes, proving to myself (and others) that I am a good provider.
I’ve been labouring under the idea that what will determine whether my life is a success or failure is if I buy a house for myself and my daughter.
Putting all my energy into making this happen, has been causing me to focus less on everyday connecting and parenting and more on working hard and saving every penny. I’ve been using the attainment of this big bang moment as a barometer for my parenting, when in reality I may never own my own home. In the process I’ve been missing out on life. I realised this when I could no longer work in my job as a computer programmer. My health was deteriorating and I knew the only way I wanted to live my life was by pursuing my passion of writing and performing.
I’m also guilty of searching for a relationship to complete me as a way of distracting myself, not only from myself, but from existing complex relationships with family and friends that are too painful to broach. My biggest big bang moment would have to be my wedding, when I was 22. In hindsight I was nowhere near ready to get married, and I used the marriage as a form of escape from my problems, believing it would make my life complete.
Growing up, there was so much emphasis placed on finding a husband. Personal growth – like developing a backbone to help cope with life’s complexities - was put on the backburner. It was no surprise that I was spat out the tail end of my marriage ten years later with no life skills, carrying a tonne of baggage with no idea who I was and an awful restlessness in my chest.
I didn’t even know what ‘getting to know yourself’ was. The concept was even more foreign to previous generations, which is why the pressure to conform so often comes from culture and family. Society reinforces milestones of success such as career, marriage, children, house, with very little importance placed on the self.
It was no surprise that I was spat out the tail end of my marriage ten years later with no life skills, carrying a tonne of baggage with no idea who I was.
The emphasis put on external milestones (like finding a husband) puts immense pressure on the milestone once it is attained, especially if it’s used as a form validation. Having a strong foundation within yourself, and learning to sit with the uncertainty of life, is something many of us are not taught. Rather than facing the reality that big bang moments don’t solve internal struggles, we carry on from big bang to big bang and never experience the beauty of their own self.
Some of my life experiences have impacted me as a person and how I connect with people. But there will never be a miracle remedy. No big bang moment is going to somehow make it better. What does make it better is acknowledging my journey, and sitting by myself, daily, through short meditations and breathing. Through this process I can breathe through the restlessness and uncertainty we all experience as humans and get in touch with life and the universe.
It’s challenging but more rewarding when you accept the mundane reality of life. In this space it is also easier to reach out and heal complex relationships at a gentle pace. At the end of the day, all we have is ourselves, married or not, with or without that high paying job, whether or not you spend the rest of your life renting.
Koraly Dimitriadis is a freelance opinion writer, poet, film and theatre maker and the author of Love and F**k Poems.