It was first my friend who invented this terminology describing the state of self doubt and evaluation that had come at the age of 25… In an ever escalating environment where 30 had become the new 40 and 25 has become the new 30; we find ourselves struggling to define success so far as well as who we are meant to be. Marriage, career, parenthood, friendship; collectables in hope to reach our self identity.
However, we seem to lose ourselves across all these ideals, and somehow clash with reality as we get disenchanted. A stay at home mum feels unfulfilled, a working mum falls short of her juggling breath, another prays for children and another has yet to find her soul mate. In recent research it has been proven that gratitude significantly increases happiness levels. How about gratitude to the Most Gracious? Unlikely we are to admit discontent with our fair share of blessings; yet we may be driven by false ambition.
It hit me when one day I asked Google “Who am I meant to be?” Interestingly enough there was an answer for it in an Oprah self-evaluation quiz, and after 5 minutes I knew what I had already known… my need to be “in control” ranked highest, surpasses even the need to be loved or to help… This was a wakeup call! I obsessed too much on a self-centred heroism that I felt strange to a side role of motherhood, I no longer manage my life to my own will but rather to a stronger will and wellbeing of this little person. It can get challenging and frustrating on a daily basis, and even more so in planning for my future. But then as I talk virtually to myself I realise this focal view of life has got to go. Not that I would lose myself, but rather that I am a new self. It is said the only constant in life is change.
Indeed there is a grander constant that one can rely on firmly; faith. For in Islam, the answer is there and clear, our ultimate goal is worship and our ultimate destination is the hereafter. We lose sight of this priority the more we attach to our worldly selves. Yet thses very beliefs should barrier against depression against adversity, as clear as self purpose can be. It doesn’t mean that I shall not question myself there and then when I fall short of the success I had imagined, but better defined success can mean happiness in the very pursuit of it.
It may seem strange to the expectation of our young age how carefree we ought be, yet in a more sombre note of youth death we find ourselves in a race against time. Paradoxically, our reflection upon death is proven to enhance our gratitude. It is a delicate balance attempting to enjoy the journey, as we keep moving forward to our destination.
Reference to the research
Watkins, Philip C., et al. “Gratitude and happiness: Development of a measure of gratitude, and relationships with subjective well-being.” Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal 31.5 (2003): 431-451.
Frias, Araceli, et al. “Death and gratitude: Death reflection enhances gratitude.” The Journal of Positive Psychology 6.2 (2011): 154-162.