With Facebooks and Instagrams and all the internet-connectedness that plagues my generation, it is easy to feel inferior. After all, people have an image to maintain (or create), and a big part of that is highlighting all that they have going for them. Even if your life sucks, you can manipulate it to look great.
Studies have shown that spending too much time on Facebook can cause people to stress out or even become depressed. Personally, I do not feel depressed when I look at other people’s Facebook pages. I’m happy for them! But then again, I’m a big believer in not comparing happiness. It’s easy to see how one could become frustrated by their own stagnation while it seems that their peers are blossoming into successful adulthood. That’s bullshit, of course. Everyone has their own problems, you just might only think about your own.
(I’m getting to a point, promise!)
Cracked writer David Wong has written some pretty great articles (even though he always mentions his book, which I’m sure he’s proud of but can feel a little braggy sometimes) that have inspired me to make positive changes in my life. First, there was the one about bearing fruit and bringing something of value into the world. More recently, he wrote a very quick guide to finding yourself. Now, I won’t give away the ending, but basically, we all have an idealized version of ourselves (what we post to Facebook or tell ourselves at night to stop the tears), and an actualized version of ourselves (what our boring lives are really like). And, in perfect timing, the newest article that David Wong wrote is about how to change yourself and how effing hard that is to actually do.
Those articles have caused me to really re-evaluate my life. What do I like to do, what do I really want to do, what do I actually do? And I realized that, even though I really have an adventurous spirit, I spend a lot of my time sleeping, reading, or zoning out in a rut. I told myself I couldn’t travel like I want to because my student loans are OBNOXIOUSLY high, and my income is ridiculously low. But that was an excuse that my ridiculous subconscious made up to keep me in my routine, in the familiar and easy. Sure, I might not be able to travel everywhere I want to go right now, and I might not be able to stay as long as I would like, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it once every year or two. After all, isn’t it better to spend a little while somewhere foreign and amazing every couple years than to not go at all?
The point of this essay, though, isn’t to promote David Wong or to inspire you to do more with your life (that’s up to you!). The point is, I was looking at some of the amazing things that my friends have done/are doing, on Facebook. People are traveling, doing cool jobs, having families, going to grad school, etc. And I’m not jealous. One girl in particular, who is now in law school, was saying how driven she is to be a lawyer to defend people’s rights. Something about that resonated with me: her ambition.
Moreover, it made me realized how little ambition I have. I don’t want a fancy job, or expect to change the world. I don’t want a family for at least 5 years. There’s nothing I really want, nothing I’m so desperate to have or be that I will stop at nothing to get it. I’m just one little person, content to live her small life and affect minute changes where possible. I have no hopes, dreams, or aspirations aside from seeing the world. Dream job? Never had a career that I wanted enough to actively pursue (I guess it would be professional adventure blogger/writer, if I had to chose).
I couldn’t tell you if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, this lack of drive. It just is. I just am. I’m a dreamer and a drifter, floating along the waves of life. Of course I’ve made plans in the past, but they’ve all fallen through because I wasn’t dedicated enough to try or to even feel sad when life took me on a different course. And it’s not that I’m a fatalist or anything; just too easy-going. In fact, having plans is what trips me up. I am very instant-gratification-oriented; having to wait an extended period of time for something to happen makes me depressed and anxious. Long-term plans fall through because I get distracted by the allure of the immediacy of the present. “Future me” is flexible and happy enough with anything, so I set course for a new shore before I even catch sight of the initial one.
And I’m okay with that, I really am. I had a plan that, if I didn’t get an awesome job somewhere in the Pacific Northwest in the next year, I would quit my job and just move. I still might do that, but if I do, I will be forsaking what I really want: global travel (because of debts and rents and such). So, do I make no plans yet, stay where I am, and save up where I can to take awesome adventures? Or do I give up big adventures to live in a place that I love? I’m still deciding, and yes, I understand that making no decision is a decision in itself. For now, my decision is to do what I do best: go with the flow and forsake all plans.