I remember when we put our house on the market last year. Both my fiancé and I were born and bred in the small city we live in and while ultimately we are happy here, something like selling your house makes you begin to consider other options. It was the easiest choice to stay in the city where we’ve always lived but did that mean it was the right one? Should we try somewhere new? We both fell in love with New Zealand on our travels, what was stopping us from making the move? Well, a lot actually. I could list multiple reasons why it didn’t make sense but I couldn’t help like feeling like we were doing a disservice to ourselves by not taking the plunge with an exciting new life. You only live once! Live somewhere beautiful! Live somewhere with great weather! Raise your future children by the beach! Think how happy you could be!
Another example. In the industry I work in, the majority of jobs are in London and realistically, probably the better ones too. However the idea of a daily commute there and spending probably 30 minutes a day shoved into someone’s armpit on the tube just doesn’t appeal to me. But I’m aware of how many more exciting job opportunities there are in the capital and so again, I ask myself: Am I doing myself a disservice? Am I limiting my potential to progress and enhance my career? Or do I just know that the idea of starting my day at 6am and not getting home till 7pm will make me unhappy, with the potential to ruin the work/life balance I’ve worked so hard to achieve?
It’s a pretty confusing dialogue to bat back and forth. Because how do you work out whether you are simply too scared to try something new or actually, it really is the right decision for you? Because sure, we are told to step out of our comfort zones and that we ‘won’t know till we try!’ but there is also something to be said for having the confidence to know yourself well enough to know what will make you happy and what won’t. And I think it’s this which is the hardest part, certainly for me anyway. We all obviously want the best for ourselves and those we love but then it’s also terribly easy to fall into the whole ‘grass is greener’ trap.
I think social media has a lot to answer for, especially in this day and age. (Admittedly, I feel like I’m constantly blaming social media, soz.) It is here where we are faced with a sea of other people who all seem to be doing such great things. Should I too be travelling the world right now? Should I be starting my own business? Campaigning for something bigger than myself? These glossy photos and heartfelt captions and statuses leave us questioning ourselves, what we know and our decisions. And hey, many of us find other people really inspirational for our own lives and there’s nothing wrong with that. But we are all aware of the reality of social media and how we can all be complicit in painting a picture to the outside world that is not entirely accurate.
I don’t think it’s as straightforward as comparing yourself to someone else and what they’ve got or what they are doing with their life. At least not for me, anyway. I feel comfortable enough in myself to know that we all move at differences paces. I can hand on heart be happy that my friends are doing fantastic things with their lives. Instead, it’s more using other people or even just situations you are in as an opportunity to throw questions at yourself. My issue is entirely personal. Me, myself and I. Even with something like staying in on a Saturday night, I’ve occasionally berated myself for being in my pjs by 7pm, tucked up with a blanket and chocolate, binge-watching something on Netflix. Despite the fact I’m perfectly happy, I’ve found myself wondering if at the age of 26 I should instead be in some dingy club with pounding music and sticky floors, clutching an overpriced cocktail I don’t even like. Which makes absolutely no sense.
For me personally, I wonder if my obsession comes down to a Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO). But not in the traditional sense of the phrase because I genuinely don’t care about not being invited to an event that every other blogger is at or having the latest must-have eyeshadow palette. Instead, it is missed opportunities, what ifs and untapped potential that I wrestle with, that I fear missing out on. I wonder if I am doing myself justice. I worry I am not doing enough.
Or maybe, it is simply just fear. Fear of getting older and regretting the opportunities to make the most of life, to squeeze out every drop of potential while the chance was there. But then I think it’s an impossible mission to set yourself and one destined to fail. We can’t see the future and what our choices will lead to, we can only try our best, make educated decisions and hope for the best. That’s just life. And it’s kinda part of the fun.
I make no secret about the fact that I’m a pessimist. And as a result, I think this causes me to question myself and my decisions constantly. I am so conscious of making the most of life and the time we have on this ridiculous planet we call home that ultimately, I can actually make things worse for myself. Sure, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wondering and actually, it’s probably quite a healthy thing to do, to ask questions of yourself. To check-in with your desires and ultimately, your happiness. To an extent. Because – and it’s this I will keep trying to remind myself – you need to have a little trust in yourself. This is one of those things that you’d think would be really easy but just isn’t. I’m trying to remember that even if I don’t understand how my brain (and probably my heart too) works a lot of the time, I am of sound enough mind to know that in the end, however long it takes and however scenic the route, I will end up doing what is right for me. And what more can you ask for than that, really?