By Taylor Syrowik

One day, while working on a job application, it hit me: life is about fulfillment. I can be a bit of a philosopher about life and what I want from it, so I took some time to ponder this realization and wondered why I hadn’t come up with it before.

I had been on the computer for the past few hours, working on some writing and the aforementioned job application. The modern person living in a developed country is constantly bombarded by technology and often spends way too much time in front of—or attached to—screens. While I wish I could say that wasn’t the case for me, it is. I can’t remember the last time I went a whole day without looking at a computer or phone screen—can you? And when it comes right down to it, I don’t personally find time spent in front of the screen, unless it directly relates to something I enjoy doing (like writing articles), very fulfilling. That prompted me to ask myself, what do I find gives me the most satisfaction in life? I was able to break it down to a number of things: doing something for my friends and family, doing something for my career and/or bank account, doing something for my education, and doing something for myself. It would be almost impossible to go a day, with each of these things included, without somehow feeling satisfied and accomplished. This may seem natural or obvious to many, but I believe that having the intention to perform each of these tasks increases the likelihood of accomplishing them, leading to more fulfillment and, therefore, happiness. When people get busy, one of those important points can fall off the bandwagon. This especially happens to “doing something for yourself.” Never undervalue how important it is to take the time to be just a little bit selfish and squeeze in a run, a half-hour of yoga, a book and cup of tea in peace and solitude, a walk, or any other hobby. We all deserve time to ourselves to decompress from the other demands we face.

After my realization, the rest of the day simply fell into place. A neighboring cat pawed at my window for the first time, and we spent some time bonding. Later on, I wandered through the cherry-blossomed streets towards downtown Victoria to pick up supplies for my next harebrained project. On my way back home, a man in a wheelchair asked for help grabbing a free magazine that he couldn’t reach. He said he asked me because I didn’t look like I would say no to helping someone. If that isn’t a big boost to the day and overall morale, I don’t know what is! Further along, I discovered a Mediterranean specialty food store I had never seen before. Being the food-obsessed person I am, how could I not go in? Once inside, I was amazed at the treasure trove of delicacies and specialty foods on offer. The owner let me wander in wonder before giving me a free piece of baklava. These events all cumulated to make one great day, reinforcing my belief that internal attitude influences external perceptions. That was not simply a stand-alone day, but also a catalyst of good to come.

Since then, I have tried to fit in all of those fulfilling tasks into my day-to-day life. I often fail. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that on the days where I accomplish more of them, I feel like a more active and happy person. I am in that awkward stage that occurs between finishing up at university and finding a career-oriented job, and sometimes it’s hard to stay positive. After that realization, however, I feel like I figured out what is important in life (or to me at least), and the career search does not seem as daunting and intimidating. It can be easy to lose site of what really matters with family, work, and money stress but keeping a cool head and remembering to do things that you truly care about can make all the difference.
If you are anything like me, sticking to a constant regime or a specific goal is not exactly easy, nor is it overly exciting. These flexible and generalized goals, however, create a manageable and dynamic way to approach the things that matter most in life.