Most of us have some idea of where we’d like to be in 5, 10 maybe even 20 years time.
But sometimes the gap between now and then, is pretty hazy.
You know what you want but you’re not quite sure how you’ll get there.
And sometimes long-term plans change.
Maybe you happened to find something you care for more than what you’re currently trying to pursue. Maybe you realised that you don’t really want the thing you were working for. Or maybe you just feel like like doing something new.
For many people they actually end up having a better sense of direction when they change their plans. The gap becomes a little less hazy.
The reason for this is changing plans is a risk and they want it to be worth it.
This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.
Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.
It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.
I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.
It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.
I think it’s fair to say that most people are enticed by new things. A new habit, a new opportunity even a new person. As much as we can fear the new there are many instances when it actually excites us.
Yet, in many cases instead of going towards the new thing, we look back.
We look back with this cosy feeling of nostalgia for what once was or what it’s time to move on from and all of a sudden we begin to hesitate.
That’s when the fear and ‘what ifs’ kicks in.
What if things don’t work out?
What if this new thing isn’t better than what I’ve left behind?
What if I have to start over again?
The what if questions we ask are rarely framed in a helpful way and only serve to amplify the fear.
The alternative to looking back is to focus on the possibilities that will come from embracing the new and learning to trust that you’ll be fine.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
Nobody is living their life exactly as they would like right now. But in this space of uncertainty, limited in person interaction and staying inside you’ll get a pretty good idea of how you want to live your life.
Ask yourself: What do I miss?
What do I want to do with my day?
And give yourself time to daydream.
Lie down maybe even sit outside in the sun if possible and just daydream. Daydream about your job, how do you earn a living, what is your working life like.
Daydream about how you spend your free time, the people in your life, how you dress and any other bit of your life that’s on your mind.
Then come back to your reality and think about how different the daydream is to your current life.
It’s not bad if they greatly differ but it might serve as a reminder that you’re not living the life you truly want.
A major contributing factor to moving forward in life is being able to let things go.
It could be physical possessions, people or memories and experiences.
An easy example is if you tried something and it didn’t work out. If you can’t let go of the thing that didn’t work you may find that it underlies future situations when you try something new.
Suddenly you’ve become someone that believes that nothing will work out for you, you become closed off to new things and remain stagnant.
That may seem extreme but that’s the reality of life. You won’t realise how much that one situation affected you until you’re randomly pondering life one Sunday afternoon.
I don’t think there’s one specific way to let go, what works for one may not work for another so it’s important to figure it out for yourself.
There must be some explanation for why we do it.
When you don’t want to do something or you know it won’t be easy, putting it off feels good. There’s pleasure in indulging in the freedom of future deadlines, future work or future responsibilities.
But that doesn’t mean that you can avoid them forever. That pleasurable feeling of freedom and not doing what you “posed to do” can’t last. You see the thing is whether you do it now or later you still have to get it done.
Instead of indulging in procrastination pleasure followed by an intense stressful period, choose to indulge in productivity pleasure and give yourself as much time as you can in order to do things well.
Sure pressure creates diamonds but constantly putting yourself through stress when you don’t need to could result in insomnia, chest pain and diarrhoea.
You might be used to doing things one way but that’s no reason not to try something new.
I’d love to know what you like and would want more of in the future from The Daily Gemm.
It could be more about my career journey as I work on developing myself, stuff on overcoming anxiety, habits and practices, my writing process, becoming more confident or just more about Debbies brother.
I have a good idea of what I’ll be sharing next year but if there’s anything in particular that you’ve enjoyed from me this year then I’m happy to do more of that.
It’s also Christmas Eve today so think of your feedback as part of a gift exchange, one that will be returned in the new year.
What do you do when you think you’ve made a mistake?
In times of great uncertainty it’s not surprising that people look to something safe to cling and commit to.
And so we end up playing it safe. Getting a good job and settling down because it’s easier to follow the rules than it is to actually figure out what you truly want.
But weeks, months or even years down the line you’ll get this feeling of longing and wanting.
This comfortable and stable life that you’ve carved out for yourself is great in some ways but it also leaves you unfulfilled.
You wake up, go to work, spend 8 hours doing stuff that you don’t really care about, come home, eat, talk about your day, watch a tv show and then go to bed. And tomorrow it’s exactly the same.
In a bid to have a safe and stable life you’ve gotten rid of the good stuff. The stuff that gives you the opportunity to learn and grow, to push yourself and see what you’re capable of, to experiment, try new things and to explore yourself.
In a bid to have a safe and stable life you said no to pursuing your dream life.
But why not pursue to the dream life instead and go at it with full gusto. Why not commit to living a life of joy, teach yourself to take chances and be okay with uncertainty. Why not find a job you enjoy, explore new things and visit new places.
Life is very different when you open yourself up to possibility and believe that you can do more than just get by.
People often complain about their life circumstances and how if only they weren’t working class, their parents were born in the western world, they grew up in a better area etc.
In some ways they envy the opportunities that more ‘privileged’ people have had in life. They may think it’s not fair that others have had the upper hand from the moment they were born where as they’ve had to ‘try and try , try and try’ (from the song You can get it if you really want by Jimmy Cliff).
But the thing is as much as they may think and feel this way, it’s also what they aspire to. To raise families more well off than they were. To have the money to live somewhere bigger and safer. To be a able to give the people around them opportunities because they’re well connected.
Essentially they aspire to become the people that are ahead of the majority, more privileged and people with the upper hand.
It’s hard to make comparisons about who has it harder but that’s not something worth competing over. I think we can all agree we’d like to have things better than they were or currently are.
And who knows down the line your family could be the privileged ones with countless opportunities compared to others.
But from someone else’s perspective, you might be considered pretty privileged right now.