Life is full of stuff.
Stuff we get caught up in because we think it matters.
Social media expectations of the way that things should be.
But at the end of the day all that stuff is often a distraction from what really matters.
And so you have to learn to overcome it. No matter how important it might seem to uphold these expectations, it’ll rarely make you happier.
In fact, more often than not it just makes you miserable because it leaves little room for you to be yourself.
When it comes to the exciting possibilities of life, how often do you allow yourself to experience them.
Often we end up looking from afar and think about how great it would be if it happened to us. The truth is in many cases we’re actually not ready for the good stuff to happen.
It’s much easier to stick with what you know.
The thing is even if what you know is great, it doesn’t mean that their isn’t more great stuff out there for you to experience.
There isn’t a cap on how much excitement you can have in your life, you just have to be open to it.
Most of us have at some point looked back on our life and perhaps not wished but thought about what would have happened if we took a different path.
If you applied for that job in another city.
If you moved out of your family home sooner or maybe done it later.
If you started that project when you first had the idea instead of sitting on it for months.
If you didn’t settle for what the people around you told you to do for a career.
If you hadn’t been willing to accept so little from the people around you.
When you’re not happy with where you’re at, looking back on the choices you’ve made will rarely make you happier. But you do it because you feel like it’s too late to start over.
It might not be true but that’s how it often feels.
When you’ve set yourself up on a particular path, starting over and changing the course of your life feels too risky. It feels like all that came before was time wasted.
But if you want to give yourself the opportunity to be happier and more fulfilled, then perhaps starting over might be one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Sometimes we trick ourselves into accepting things that we don’t want. We make excuses and convince ourselves that we’re so totally content with our current circumstances.
This happens for a variety of reasons but a major factor is our core beliefs. If you don’t think there is something better out there for you then will always settle even if that means being perpetually unhappy.
The wake up call that you’re not as happy as you think will come when you least expect it. Perhaps you will encounter someone or something that represents what you really want. Then suddenly you find yourself wondering how you could have ever thought that you were happy with what you had accepted.
It’s like clearing the colour from your rose tinted classes and finally seeing things as they are.
A great way to stop yourself accepting less is to check in with yourself regularly. When you’re not where you should be you can end up getting so used to the anxiety that you don’t even realise that it’ there until you leave
Make a note of what you want in different areas of your life and think about how it would feel.
Lets say you moved into a tiny apartment in a neighbourhood you don’t like but you tell yourself you’re happy because you’re saving money and you don’t even spend much time at home anyway. That’s you convincing yourself that you’re okay with not feeling comfortable in your local area and that you don’t want to spend time at home.
But if the notes you make on what you want from your home and how you want to feel don’t align with your reality then you might want to make some changes. That might mean paying a little more to be in an area, in a bigger apartment or both.
That’s the power of checking in, it allows you to identify whether the life you’re creating is the life you actually want.
Looking back on the past couple of months, what have been your highlights?
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your time?
For some there’s a chance that they have been blossoming into a more truer version of themselves. Becoming someone who is considerate about how they spend their time.
It’s not that you didn’t give it much thought before, it’s that it’s suddenly become much easier to be choosy.
You’re no longer making the best of small fragments of free time, you’re making the best of your time overall.
As a result (in spite of everything going on in the world), you might feel the happiest you’ve felt in a while.
When you take the time to look back on your life, do you think there is anything you missed out on?
The job you turned down, the work you were too afraid to put yourself forward for, the project you never launched…
There are so many things that we all could have done with our lives. And often we get caught up in the fantasy that our lives would be better if only I took that job.
But the truth is you don’t really know how things would have turned out. You might have taken that job and been miserable. But maybe you’d have ended up roughly exactly where you are right now.
When you’re not happy with where you’re at it’s easy to tell yourself a story about how your life could have been something spectacular.
In reality it’s probably much more helpful just to think about what you can do right now based on your current circumstances and then do it.
There are 2 ways of working.
The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.
The second is bit by bit, day by day.
Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.
But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.
Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.
However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.
It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.
Let’s delve into a topic that matters. But first cue the music *plays satisfaction by the rolling stones*.
If someone asked the question of what would make you happier in your current job, what would you say?
If the answer is more money, think again, think about the job itself.
Some possible answers could be:
To be less stressed
Work less hours
To feel more connected to the people you work with
To work on more interesting projects
To learn a software or a new skill
To have a manager that’s helpful
To feel heard
To be recognised for the work you do
To feel valued
Some of these could probably apply to life in general and I’m guessing the same could be said for whatever is on your list too.
A lot of us settle when it comes to what we do for a living then get surprised that we’re unsatisfied.
If you decided to work in healthcare because you were taught it was a good stable job and you got scared into believing that an ‘unstable’ job would be too risky, sure you might grow to like what you do but you also might not.
If you make choices based on the belief that you can’t get the things you actually want, well then you’re probably not going to get them.
Now let’s get back the list and against each point write down what you can do to make them happen. And what you will do if there’s any pushback.
After a month or so you’ll probably notice some changes in how you feel about your job.
If not you can always get a new one.
You don’t have to grin and bear it.
I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.
I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.
It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.
Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.
You have to think small-scale.
A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.
It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.
Sometimes I find myself caught up in trying to be a blogger instead of simply just being myself. And in the process I find myself being drawn to creating content that I don’t love as much as I could.
When I first started blogging 8 years ago I was just sharing stuff that I was interested in which mostly included fashion and personal style. But over time instead of following my own flow of creativity I started trying to be a blogger. I ended up falling out of love with creating stuff to share online because I’d sacrificed my sense of self in order to try and fit it and do things ‘the right way’.
I didn’t realise it at the time but I lost my creativity. Not to the extent that I was unable to create because I haven’t really stopped blogging since I started. However, what my content lacked was passion, consistency and quality.
For the past few years I’ve ticked along in the lifestyle blogging space not improving, sharing, connecting, experimenting or expanding as much as I could have.
But starting this blog almost a year ago (can you believe it!) helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. Despite not having designed a fancy header or logo and the fact that this site contains no pictures, I feel more creative here than I’ve felt on wordsbygemm for the majority of the year.
On The Daily Gemm, I don’t get to hide behind content that has been done 101 timed before. As a result I’ve made up characters like Betty and Debbies brother, I’ve explored my feelings, wrote about my work life, shared my experiences with having anxiety, shared things that I’ve learnt and even written about current events like fires, abortion laws and politics.
The year is not over yet but I’m proud of all that I’ve managed to share so far and thankful to you for reading.