As I have grown older (the grand old age of twenty-three) and marginally wiser, one of the most memorable teachings I have encountered is the importance of exploring the world, travelling, doing crazy things, enjoying every day, and not wasting a single minute.
I wholeheartedly agree with this. It is an exceptionally positive and accurate philosophy; I certainly believe that we have been put on this earth for a limited time, so why shouldn’t we enjoy ourselves?
Unfortunately life is not always as picturesque as the heavily filtered Instagram photos and similar social media that we are force fed on a daily basis. The disheartening element of the “real world” does tend to have a rather prominent part to play, particularly for those who are subject to working five days a week in order to support ourselves with only a few precious days available for idyllic holidays. After all, there is rent to pay, a fridge to stock and many other menial responsibilities to take care of.
So how do we stop ourselves from having those (all too often) moments of wallowing in self-pity as we come to the jolting realisation that we are nowhere near as adventurous or exciting as our social media competitors?
Making an effort to embrace the ordinary can solve this. Changing your outlook gradually should eventually allow you to stop comparing and start accepting. It can’t be denied that the office isn’t as visually pleasing as a beach in Bora Bora, but if we continue to fiercely compare our lives to others we are setting ourselves up to fail.
It is vital to remember that everyone else’s life always appears to be better than your own as you scroll through your feed at 1am. You tell yourself that they have a better job, a more expensive holiday, a perfect relationship. The list could go on. But the big secret is, this ‘reality’ is merely a filtered selection of images and words carefully selected to both highlight and hide what one desires. The problem? We are comparing our ‘everyday’ to everyone else’s ‘best bits’ reel.
All of us face our own bumps along the road, and we all measure our own achievements against others accomplishments. It is time for us to take a step back, and embrace our day-to-day lives, no matter how mundane they may seem. It is up to us to stop worrying about whether our lives are sparkly enough, because they are. The excessive worrying needs to be put to one side.
Next time you wake up in the morning, take a look out of the window and think how lucky you are to be alive and well. As you set off for work, play some music and enjoy a loud sing along in the car to your favourite songs. When you go out on your lunch break, enjoy every bite of that sandwich. If the sun comes out, take a moment to close your eyes and feel the warmth on your face. Smile at strangers who look lost in their own world and take that leaflet from the new employee in the high street.
When walking down the road, take a moment to look up at the shape the buildings make against the sky, and see the world from a completely different angle for a few moments. When you return home, hug your loved ones tightly and tell them how much they are appreciated. As you settle down to sleep at night, relish the softness of your duvet and appreciate the warmth.
Put your phone away, talk to people, and enjoy the little things as well as the big things. The more you begin to embrace your life and the somewhat ordinary routine you tend to follow, the happier you will be. Life doesn’t come with an Instagram filter. It’s your choice to open your eyes to the world and make the best out of what you have. Let’s start today.