We live in a society where expectations are constantly created for us. Perhaps no place more so than in New York City. It's a place where people travel from all around the world looking to make their dreams come true. Society has created a belief that if you're in New York City, anything can happen and everything imagined is possible.
As a native New Yorker, my heart and soul has forever been rooted to New York City. Despite brief stints in Boston and Tel Aviv, New York City is home, the place where I am surrounded by family, friends, and familiar territory.
As my 30-year mark creeps closer (oy), I've come to realize how much life has changed, for both myself and those around me. I find my social circle entrenched in talks of weddings, babies, and careers. While the former two are still on hold for yours truly, the latter topic -- my career -- is certainly a focus.
People in their late 20s are discussing job vs. career, wondering if happiness really lies in a 9 to 5 gig or if there is something more fulfilling out there. Is this it for the next 30+ years? Will I ever get the professional freedom I want? Am I going to have to find a roommate or move to (gasp!) Brooklyn? These are the types of questions we ask ourselves at this stage in life.
Right before my 28th birthday I was sitting in my West Village studio with two of my best friends discussing all of the above. I started to really panic about my life and all that it entails. My best friend turned to me and said, "You know what, Harper, you need to stop putting so much pressure on yourself." It was that moment right then and there that I realized that I don't let myself get away with anything. I am constantly thinking about what's next, how to perfect something, and stand out in the crowd.
It's important to have life goals and to strive for excellence, but it's also important to be content with where you are in the present moment.
While in Krishna's Couch in my favorite Tuesday night yoga class at Sacred Sounds Yoga, my teacher, Caprice Abowitt reminded us to practice Santosha (contentment in Sanskrit), and it really resonated with me. Instead of feeling like I wasn't doing the pose correctly -- I was wobbling and not nearly as aligned as I would have preferred -- I found a way to feel content with where I was and what I, my body included, was doing. The same thing goes for life at any given moment. Instead of feeling the pressure to do something wilder, bigger, more challenging, strive to be content with where you are at the present moment.
One day I'll have a business of my own, someone will fall in love with me and all of my quirks, and I'll go completely vegan and gluten-free. One day I'll approach that yoga pose I'm scared of, but at this moment I'm content with exactly where I'm at.
At the end of the day, you need to be at peace with where you are at in the world, not how everyone else views you. Be present in your everyday life. Be content with your every move. Spend time with the people that you love most. Most of all, do the things that make you happiest.