Life. The most confusing four letter word.
Nothing like starting with that tiny little statement to open my first ever post on here on, is there? There’s no point in fannying about or darting willy-nilly around the houses (I’ll stop with the oddly sexual idioms soon, promise) but that’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it?
What do you choose to do in life? I’ve searched high and low, read long and hard and scrolled articles on Medium (and elsewhere) to get the best answer I can, and the answers seem to be conflicting to a massive degree.
Or once you’ve run your cliché removal tool, non-existent.
Of course the best advice on advice is in that riddle on advice; everyone wants it, no one listens to it, and everyone ignores it after all that.
Some inspirational figures tell you to follow your dreams, others tell you not to do what you love, but to do what you’re good at (a keen brain surgeon with an F in Science and a low IQ isn’t gonna happen no matter how keen they are, let’s face it). But my biggest question, my biggest dilemma (if you will), is — and this isn’t meant to sound arrogant — what if you’re good at LOTS of things?
Well then you’re screwed.
I feel like a lot of people who haven’t known exactly what they want to do since they were younger get stuck in a sort of ineffectual, driftwood kind of state. They say ‘I like this, and I like that, but wait — I love that and I love that too’. But then they realise you can’t combine them all, so they pick just one. One. Out of all of those things. And then spend the whole time wandering if the other stuff they liked would have been better. In fact, before they start, they’re pretty much already convinced it is.
I know we’re hardwired to be negative. I mean, even Wikipedia says it, so it must be true. Maybe I should study psychology.
I know we shouldn’t pack up our stuff and move in, full time to an unaffordable house share (with no garage, driveway or parking) in Negativity Land. We can pop past it on the train every now and then (and hold our breath when the train doors open), but ultimately we need to stay positive.
And I know the ‘grass is always greener on the other side’ phrase is a good, steadfast idiom to remember, especially if you extend it a bit further, to ‘the grass is only greener where you water it’ but what if you don’t know where to water it? What if you’ve ended up with a VIP deluxe premium sprinkler on a timed multi-jet setting and at the end of the day, your grass isn’t just vivid, it’s neon and bursting with life. Your neighbours are envious (how did he get that grass so green?!) but despite that, you stand staring vacantly at your lush green masterpiece on a hot summer’s day, wondering which bit of grass to sit cross-legged on as you contemplate what the heck you’re going to do with your life.
Tick tock, time’s running out. There’s always that train to Negativity Land if you miss the boat.
People say ‘take the jump’. Pick one thing you like and go with it. If it turns out you don’t like it, you can change. I think that’s an amicable idea, I really do. I mean, whatever you do, I know you simply MUSTN’T sit on your laurels (especially when you have such a nice green lawn) — yet the urge, the worry, the fear that creeps in (when you think about it for more than 0.5 seconds) is that you’re a bit of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, kinda jobbie. I mean, you know you could do this and you could do that, but if you’re good at many things, then doesn’t that mean that effectively you’re moderate at many things too; and who wants to give a moderate person a job? Boo. Hiss. (Get him in the stocks).
‘Don’t compare yourself to others!’, say the others. The others who’ve made it, or at least appear to have. ‘Don’t be negative!’ (or at least try to stop being so much so) say the inspirational quotes that pop up on Facebook every other post. That quotes page that you liked in an attempt to banish the power of negative thought, but instead, nowadays just provides you with hi-speed scrolling opportunities when you fire up the app.
Hang on. Just stop the bus for a minute.
How on earth do you stop comparing yourself with others? We’re human beings. It’s natural. If we could deactivate that part of our brains, I’m sure the world would be a nicer place. But. We. Can’t.
These really are quite bizarre ramblings. I know Medium is a fantastic place to read inspirational stories, experience a warm fuzzy boost of confidence or just to read stories that make you realise it’s all okay. But right now I just wanted to put it out there to the world: that sometimes it’s not okay. Sometimes worry to-do, or worry to-not just consumes your thought process and erodes that ‘sod it, I’ll give it a go’ feeling.
And then there’s the other 42 billion thoughts that can be heard ricocheting around inside people’s heads. Buy a house. Change job. Rent a flat. Go travelling. Start a career. Doubt yourself.
I know that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. I know. I know. But what if you don’t know what to do? It’s not doubt. It’s sheer unadulterated confusion. Serious mind-perplexing, 404-thought-error.
You might have guessed I’ve spent a long time thinking about this.
And I came to a single conclusion.
No one ever knows what they want to do, really.
I always arrive back full-circle at that thought. ‘Who even knows what they want’. It seems everyone does, but then again maybe they’ve got a very clever way of covering up their doubts. I remember watching Bruce Almighty (yes, alright) years ago and everyone wished/hoped/prayed for what they wanted. When they finally got everything they wanted, they realised that it didn’t really make them happy. And they didn’t really want it. With that quote on replay at the back of your head, and a multi-directional career route map with billions of different pathways to choose, there’s no wonder people haven’t got a clue. There’s no wonder I haven’t got a clue.
So the sun sets on the vivid green grass of indecision, on those endless positive Facebook posts, on that bloody sprinkler —and on the final train of the day calling at Negativity Land. And everyone’s ready. Ready for that very same decision-marmalising process to reset ready for tomorrow. Ready to turbo-charge confusing, conflicting thoughts through the hyper-connected synapses of our minds.
For heaven’s sake don’t stop and think. You’ll be consumed.