Ben Leander Willgruber, MSc.
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Running towards Death

Life is complex and abstract, sometimes it’s hard to understand, sometimes impossible. Everyone’s different and there are no two life paths alike. In the past weeks, I got the feeling that other people think very differently about life than myself. I heard people talking about ‘life goals’ or ‘life achievements’. It felt as if they were talking about stepping stones to happiness. I don’t get that. I want to be happy now, even if I don’t achieve anything.

The concept of life goals seems too simple for the complex world we live in. Finishing school at 18, studying ‘til the mid-20s, finding a job soon after, the love of a lifetime along the way, getting married before turning 30 and having kids soon after… Is this what we need to be happy?


Photo by Andreas Franke (Title photo as well)

I don’t want to think that way. As a gay man, I can’t think that way. Marriage and kids weren’t options I could think of in the past. I had some of my own goals in my mind too, e.g. I always wanted to study at a university. Planning my educational future probably wasn’t the worst thing to do. But if something changed and I couldn’t have finished my education, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world either.

I think ‘goals’ are part of the meritocracy we live in. There are societal expectations that way heavy on the shoulders of young people. I don’t know what changed since the hippie culture of the 60s but it seems as if people were way more relaxed back then. I don’t think there’s any need to rush through life. I don’t think I’m a failure because I haven’t quite figured everything out. If I’m still clubbing in my 30s, that’s fine by me. Just like I wouldn’t worry too much about meeting the right partner at a certain time. Life is something you can’t force to happen.

I don’t want to run through checkpoints in life and rush experiences. What would I be running towards? The end of my existence?


Photo taken in Iceland

On an unrelated note, I want to wish everyone who visits my blog Happy Holidays and a nice Christmas time without any expectations from society. I will (probably) not update my blog next week, so I also wish everyone a Happy New Year! Have fun, make memories and make mistakes! See you in 2018!


  • 2. March 2018

    You\’re completely right about all of this. There are too many people who tell themselves they have to do or have certain things by a certain age. The whole family and kids by 30 boggles my mind because it\’s not like a job that you can apply to…you actually have to find a person you want to spend your life with. That\’s way too much pressure for a person to put on themselves, I think.

  • 21. December 2017

    Great post. We are all different and as such, cannot achieve the same things. Yes, I believe having goals is important, but who is to define what those goals are? Some set them far away in the future, some set them for the current day. It is all subjective. I hope to be happy in the future/ at the end of time, but I do not want to sacrifice my happiness of today for tomorrow that may never come.

    • 23. December 2017

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, it means a lot. I\’m happy when my thoughts resonate with others 🙂 I\’m all with you about individual goals. But how do you know what is right for you? Do you \’feel\’ it rather than \’know\’ it?
      I try to be as happy as possible today – tomorrow never comes!

      • 23. December 2017

        You make a good point. I, too, prefer to live in the moment. Someone once said: \”Yesterday is history, tomorrow is not promised\”, so yea. But I still plan for the future. In case it does work out.
        How do I know what\’s right? Ha! I don\’t. It\’s just the product of the sum of my analysis of the thing in perspective with my experience, added to my feelings about it.
        It\’s ok to feel lost. Most people are, or they are too afraid to admit it.

        • 23. December 2017

          I too plan a little bit for the future. But I don\’t have a concrete plan in mind since I graduated. I guess sometimes life is also about seeing what happens next. I\’ll keep the blog updated on this strategy^^
          I\’m a little lost right now. And I get it why others wouldn\’t like to admit that. It\’s not a great feeling. But at the moment, I\’m okay with it. It feels better to talk about stuff like that openly. Once I start talking about my confusion others often share their own experiences and I don\’t feel so lonely no more 🙂

          Also: Merry Christmas! 🙂

  • 20. December 2017


    I agree. Although I don\’t mind the whole white picket fence and a good education thing, it\’s not all that matters in life. There are other ways to find happiness, and this article states that very well. Nicely put 👌

    • 20. December 2017

      I don\’t mind that either and I also wanted to have a good education. But I dislike people who put others down just because they don\’t follow that specific path. I\’ve met some people who live their lives in very unusual ways and they might be the happiest I know 😀

  • 20. December 2017

    Yes to all of this! I don\’t know why we move towards such a rigid path to happiness. I think in many ways we\’ve limited ourselves in setting such a rigid path. Gone our the days where people think highly of tradesmen and others. I think we need to get back to a place where a four year degree and a white picket fence are not the only path to happiness/success.

    • 20. December 2017

      I couldn\’t agree more. I don\’t understand why we have to be so hard on each other. Of course, that takes a toll on us… And I think that we\’re all individuals and therefore have to find our individual path to happiness 🙂

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