I think it’s fair to say I have made some pretty big, drastically life changing decisions of late. I have walked away from a relatively easy, well paying job that included a lovely flat with beautiful views and a boss I actually liked. All in order to move to the depths of the Welsh Valleys and take on 25 years of paying a mortgage, bills and all the stress and commitments that come with it. Now I have no job and lots of responsibility! Madness! Yet I knowingly chose this path because, in order to move forward with our lives we sometimes have to make some hard decisions. Contemplating the road my life is now taking got me thinking about how the decisions we make throughout our life affect us.
Life is made up of so many millions of decisions, literally millions. From the small and inconsequential matters such as what to eat, drink and wear, to the bigger matters such who to be friends with, who to date and where to go on holiday. To the life changing matters such as which career path to take,college or uni, where to base yourself, whether to have kids, marriage/divorce, retirement plans, buried or cremated. Yet are the first smaller decisions not all contributing on a very basic level to our ultimate life path?
What we eat decides how healthy we are, whether we are fat or thin – energised or lethargic. It’s part of our lifestyle choice. What we drink contributes too. Do we jump on the partying bandwagon, make some life changing bad decisions, drink drive, lose it all. What we wear as a teenager dictates what social group we are part of, as an adult it can vastly affect people’s first impression of us. It could even be a deciding factor in whether we land our dream job or not.
When you are a child you make decisions quickly, without thought, as a teenager you think you know the answer to everything, as a young adult you are caught up in the fun of new found freedom – the world is your oyster and all that lark, you make impulsive choices and to hell with the consequences. Now at the grand old age of 28 I find myself at a crossroads in life, procrastinating over everything in the sure knowledge that I know considerably less than I wish I did.
I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. I seem to be surrounded by a peer age group all in the midst of an early mid life crisis. It seems to be the age of drastic changes. Changing career to those with better long term prospects, chucking dead end relationships, committing to healthier ones, starting new families, forging new friendships, reassessing fruitless childhood ones. It’s an age where you finally become comfortable with who you are and start to work out a way to live your life that’s true to that person.
It’s a daunting and scary time. Here I’d just like to point out the giant pitfall of allowing yourself to become caught up by all that you see on social media, comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. A social media profile is merely a snapshot of all the happy moments in life, those that you want to remember and are proud to share with the world. Take my own profiles for example, you only see the adventures and fun I have on the bike, running, at races, on holiday. What you don’t see is the many hours spent at the desk worrying. As it should be, no-one likes a moaner. I believe social media should be used as a platform for positivity, I try to use mine to encourage other to get outdoors and explore wild places. Moaning about work I don’t enjoy or whatever I’m mad at myself about now does no good for anyone. Just try to remember that what you see is never the whole picture when making comparisons. You don’t see the hard decisions and compromises that everyone else has to make too.
Finding your way in life is never easy. No one path is the right one, rather it is made up of a series of crossroads and roundabouts. Look to the past to learn, reflect and smile at how far you have come. Look to the future with hope not fear.
Do not be afraid of change.