I started this blog as a way to externalize a mid-twenties crisis, one that occurred when I realized I knew far less about everything, than I thought I knew back when I started my University Degree. Truth be told, I realized that I was lusting after certain life characteristics, and as greedy as this will sound, it involved more than just money, a secure position, welfare and a fulfilled social life. I want a job I’m happy doing, I want a job that isn’t a chore. We spend most of our lives sleeping and working, the very realization that this lifetime is all there is to me left me feeling quite antsy to “do what I want to do”.
Except, what do I want to do?
I moved to London on a youth mobility scheme visa, thinking that changing my surroundings and being exposed to novelty would somehow shift my entire perspective, what I didn’t consider is that I was taking that perspective with me. And so, here I am, in my same old head, in a new city, with less social support than before. I now often find myself feeling “guilty” about this “break” I’m taking, but I mostly feel guilty about feeling guilty.
And then I sit down with myself and have a one-way conversation that goes something like this
“This is life. It’s happening now. Give yourself a break!”
“Okay but I am not getting any younger am I?”
“Stop living in your head. Last year, you were daydreaming of this, and now you’re daydreaming of something else. Why can’t you ever just LIVE?”
And then, I mostly go on with my day, feeling extreme frustration and guilt about not being in the moment, ever. It’s very hard to be in the moment when you’re living with complete uncertainty, and well, when you have naturally always been a daydreamer.
“Just pick something and stick to it already!” says the voice in my head.
As Sylvia Plath has best put it in The Belljar:
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig-tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
Yes, that fear of “What if I never do anything” definitely triggers severe outbursts of panic. I do believe that sometimes you simply need to let things be, but other times require action, and I strongly believe that for myself in this case, I need to take action, make a decision, before all the figs wrinkle and fade!!! So then how silly am I: I know that not making a concrete plan and following through makes me feel like shit, and yet, I’m still putting it off…
I am not making excuses, the freedom of choice is a wonderful luxury in our western world, I just don’t know how to work around with it. I admire people who choose a path, stick to it and make peace with all the other lives they could have / may have lived. It takes guts to embrace vulnerability that way. I have come across people like that, and I do aspire to find that content, reassurance and peace in choosing a particular path or way. But working on being acceptant and content of things as they are, rather than daydreaming of the possible outcomes appears to me as a life-long work in progress! And so growth and decision making will have to be a parallel process, as I only live a lifetime.
And so, what’s to be done?
I don’t know!
And as I’m leaving you on an unresolved note, may as well continue this “topic of conversation”, here’s a related TED Talk, by Barry Schwartz: