Pinterest may change your life.
OK it might help change it, and I use ‘pinterest’ synonymously with ‘moodboard’ because it sounds more Millennial. Some personal context upfront before you dismiss this article as another click-bait can of spam (five simple tricks to transform you from fat fuck to sexy slut!).
My glass of gin is half empty. In fact, it’s just a bit of flaccid cucumber paddling in some luke-warm Hendricks. We’ve all screengrabbed inspo quotes carved into driftwood on etsy (rite?). We’ve all listened to Tony Robbins ‘Hour of Power’ every morning for two months straight (ami-still-rite?).
Like many twenty-somethings, I really try to be wholesome and positive, but my God, in London the struggle is viscerally real. In a week you can emotionally yo-yo between whispering namaste to yourself at the sight of the guy in front of you’s escaped ballsack in Hot Yoga — to lying in bed drinking red wine alone, tagging your friends in self-deprecating memes.
A wise friend once told me ‘to be a successful women in this city, you need to get up at 4am and always have 3 bags on you’. Now that is a universal truth acknowledged that Austen would have penned if she was 25 and living in Elephant and Castle.
But does it have to be like this? If you’re a 90s kid, do you remember being lectured at school on the cerebral-gasm that is the mind-map? They were drilled into my classmates and I as legitimately the only way one could retain any information.
However, there is some objective benefit in laying out visually what you would like your life to look like, and conversely the life you’re actually living IRL. It does shed some harsh light on the disparity (or not!) on the two. Go on, open Pinterest and create two boards. Board #1 — your ideals. Now in a stream of consciousness pin pictures which reflect your ideal life. Anything that creates a warm, fuzzy feeling. Your content can range from a sexy lumberjack splitting a log in front of a cosy wood cabin in Portland, to a Starbucks PSL (no prizes for guessing that both of these feature on my ideal board). Span everything from the outright pretentious to basic AF. It is ALWAYS ok to span, and dance on the precipice of these cultural extremes.
Next up, board #2. Your local kebab shop? Too drunk to stop watching the whirling dervish of indeterminate, spinning meat? The opaque, judgemental screen of Netflix between another episode of trash? Your asos shopping bag you’ve refreshed for two months because you can’t really justify it? Just think of all the flashbulb moment of your current life. Pin. Them. Down.
Now look at both boards. Are they chapters of the same story, more or less? Or are they different books, in different languages, in different millennia? Is there one standout theme that is missing from your current one? Mine seemed to pictorially scream that I needed more a) trees and b) time. More time feeling calm. Slower breathing. My current life read like I was constantly on an uncomfortably high speed on a treadmill, congratulating myself for having more than just milk in the fridge.
Change doesn’t always have to be dramatic and insta-worthy. It can be making a conscious effort to leave work on time and spend waking hours with your partner. It could be actually setting up a repeat healthy food order so you’re not permanently resenting the fact you spend half your outgoings in Pret. Actually scheduling skype calls with friends and not just throwing a bunch of emoji’s at a group whatsapp. Maybe you need micro-adventures that take you outside your square-mile of routine and allow you space to think. Or sometimes you just need to allow yourself to ponder, how did I get here, and do I like ‘here’?
Too often we just huddle around an IKEA candle pretending we’re practising the art of hygge, when in fact, outside of the pool of candlelight you’re surrounded by crap, and crappier housemates. We can’t always just throw the towel in and make like Christopher McCandless into the wild. The parameters of modern life, and its bills and its responsibilities can be incredibly trapping, but firstly we just need to check whether we put them walls up our self, and which one’s we can shift and change.
Laying down two mood boards though can be a good place to start. ‘The world is your oyster!’ may in fact fill you with irrational anxiety - it does me. Someone smart, came up with the ‘jam jar paradox’ — basically the more options you have, the harder it is to make a decision. There are just too many damn jars, so you end up paralysed with choice, crying in tescos not making any decisions as it’s all too overwhelming. If in fact you can just pick a few things that are good places to start some change then you feel like you are able to actually act on it. Now back to one of my fave etsy quotes — that I stare through every time the tube is ‘held at a signal’ — you are literally only a few decisions away from a completely different life. So pin with care.