All the decisions, the choices, the worries that can plague your mind about things that haven’t even happened yet.
The regrets about things you may have said or done in the past. Opportunities you missed out on, or an event you didn’t attend.
Why do we become so consumed by a goal we feel we should meet in life – an ideal that probably can’t even exist. Why are we always seeking for more, and never content with the life that we live right now?
I know I’m not alone – I know that many, many others – if not all of you – have felt like this before.
When I sit and think about my life, about the accomplishments I’ve made, about the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met – it still doesn’t feel like enough. I still feel like there’s something missing, like there’s a part of me that I still can’t find – like I’m building a puzzle and there’s a small piece that is lost and therefore can’t be whole.
But what is it about my life, about this world, that makes me feel like this?
What is it about modern society that causes so, so many young people to struggle with life decisions, mental health, image, career prospects, identity? Our lives are so consumed by social media and the internet, it’s like we’ve have become controlled by this entity that broadcasts things that aren’t really reality.
A friend who always seems to be travelling, living the dream of a constant holiday. A famous celebrity we idolise because they look beautiful in every single photo they post. A friend who seems to have the perfect family – a spouse and 2.0 amazing children. The endless feed of photo after photo of incredible travel snapshots – a sunset with such beautiful rich colours, swimming with dolphins, a hike in the mountains, a scenic shot of New York city.
But. Is any of this actually real?
We’ve become accustomed to broadcasting the best of us. To telling the world what an amazing life we live, even if we struggle to believe this ourselves. We scroll through endless newsfeeds that let us into a fraction of someone else’s life – leaving us with feelings of self-doubt, of questioning why we can’t live like they do. Of wondering why the life I’ve been given is insignificant and tiny in comparison. And it always leaves you wanting more.
This life. It’s not something that should be wasted away with thoughts of what hasn’t been or what could be. Decisions we struggle to make because we don’t know what we want – a simple decision about a place to go on holiday, a new country to live in, when to leave, how long to stay, what job should I do, what house should I live in, what shirt should I wear, what café should I visit. It’s these choices we struggle with because we have far too many opportunities open to us – we see a world where so many others are living a dream, and we overthink every single possibility and action that could stem from a tiny choice. A choice which, in the grand scheme of things, is never really wrong.
Those of us who are privileged enough to live without the worry of where our next meal will come from, of how far we might have to walk for some fresh water, of the cost of school fees, or medicine for a sick family member. These are worries that we don’t even need to dream of – these are things that give a person a genuine need for concern.
I’m not saying that my concerns, or your concerns aren’t genuine enough. I’m not saying that a decision regarding a new job or partner or house is something that shouldn’t be hard. But what I am saying is, is that we should start to look at the things we HAVE accomplished, the things we do enjoy in our lives, the people and places we have met and seen. It’s all these things that we continually forget about because we’re off in pursuit of more.
Today I decided to write this blog because I’ve started to feel overwhelmed with decisions about where my life is headed. About my time in New Zealand, about places I want to visit but haven’t yet done so. About the money required to do these things. About my lack of career and how at nearly 29 I don’t even know what I want to do. These worries and fears bounce around in my head until I just want to give up – because it all just seems like so much effort.
To make a decision, to build a life plan; it feels like it’s all so difficult and all-consuming. But is this only because we have this expectation that life is easy and filled with fun and dreams? Because this is what we’re shown, day in and day out on our phones? Life is not all sunshine and daisies; it can be filled with cruelty and heartache and pain, but is also filled with joy and beauty and love. When we are faced with a difficult decision, or we feel like our life isn’t fulfilling enough – just take a moment and look around. Take a moment and think about what things you DO have. Take a moment and realise that all of the people around you – every single one – has their own worries and demons that they face. We broadcast only the best of us because that is what is expected. We forget that life isn’t always this way because we never see those moments of sadness in other people’s lives. Remember, that through these moments – you are not alone. You are never alone. And your struggles and worries are just as valid as the next person’s.
What I want to remind myself is of the life I do live. Of the things I’ve done and seen rather than the things I haven’t. Of how beautiful and wonderful the life I have built in New Zealand really is. It’s these things, these snippets of life, that must be a daily reminder of the privilege I do have. Yes I have my own hardships to deal with, but this is part and parcel of being human. To live – to love and laugh and be – to remind oneself of the little things that can bring joy to an otherwise dark day. It’s these moments that make me believe that my life is worth it, that my life is remarkable – just as yours is.
** I’ve added photos as a reminder that I too broadcast the best of my life. But these are also real snippets of the life I do live – and the life and city that I, for the most part, love.