I am a chronic over-thinker and it drives my family and friends absolutely crazy. I analyze and re-analyze every little thing that I do to the extreme. It’s difficult for me to slow down and relax when there is so much that I have to do! I am twenty-one and have just graduated college with my Bachelor’s degree, I need to make my next move NOW. I lay awake at night and make lists of all of the things that I need to do in the next few years in order to be a successful person. I stress about how much money I will need to make in order to support myself, I wonder whether or not I will be good at what I do as a career, and I think about all of the different ways that I could fail.

So what does make a person successful? Is success defined by how much money we make or how quickly we received our doctorate degree? Is it defined by the clothes we wear or how well-liked we are? What happens when these things don’t measure up?

I’d like to suggest that success can be approached in a different manner. When I am overwhelmed and anxious about the future (which most twenty-somethings usually are), I tend to wonder what my purpose in life is. What was I put on this earth to do? And each and every time I ask myself this question, I am given the same answer.

I was put on this earth to help others.

I was made to love other people. I was made to support my family, my friends, even those around me that I may not know well. I was made to love and to love well. Life leads us on many unexpected journeys and our plans for the future may change, but this does not mean that we have failed. Whether or not we have the most expensive clothes, or cars, or the highest paying jobs, or the most friends does not determine the value of our lives. How we treat those we come into contact with everyday shapes us into who we are. We were made to love and to be loved. One act of kindness can change the course of someone else’s life.

I need to admit to myself that when I make myself anxious about the future I am being a bit selfish. Stressing myself out will not bring me the answers that I am searching for and it will certainly not help anyone around me. I feel the most fulfilled when I talk to people, when I take the time to listen to a friend, or help someone in need. I love going to work and being able to not only teach, but to love on kids who may or may not be getting the love that they need. It is when I am thinking about other people that I feel most like myself.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed about the near or distant future. You don’t have to have everything figured out. Try to remember to slow it down and take time in your personal interactions. It’s the people around you each day that help to shape who you are. Take time to show the world that you care.