I will proudly (or maybe not-so-proudly) put my hand up and say that this is me.
I am a girl who constantly seeks change. And while some of you are reading this and pondering the bad part about such a sentiment, I want to explain that although being adventurous and open to change is a good thing, it can quickly become a cause for concern if you don’t understand what is pushing you to do so.
First things first, I am not talking about change in the context of personal growth. Self-discovery is an amazing, never-ending journey, and change in the context of ‘the self’ is inevitable whether or not we are proactively guiding the sails or merely a passenger trusting the ship of life.
Instead, I am talking about an oh-so-familiar habit of thinking that the grass is greener if we were to have something different or new in front of us.
In the world of social media, we know the phenomenon as FOMO or the plague of comparison that comes with constantly absorbing these perfectly pictured lives online.
Just a friendly reminder that beyond the grid of VSCO-hues and flat-lays is a girl who is still finding herself and who has days or weeks where uncertainty, insecurity and bad shit happens.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded that social media is an image and a highlight reel—constructed and packaged with no insight to the emotional being that exists. So, spoiler-alert, none of us have it all together.
Bringing it back to this obsession with change, I find myself questioning what I am looking for within all these new things.
Is it the excitement of something new? Or a sense of control through some sort of fantasy that promises a life that will finally be perfect when this change happens?
Are we so obsessed with the future and escaping to some place that is more magical and less mundane than the now because it is in fact where we place our happiness?
Almost as if saying, one day I will be happy and enjoy life, but for now, I will ignore the flowers of today, ‘cause tomorrow’s will smell SO much better.
(Hint: these are all rhetorical questions).
I feel that, as Millennials, we’ve gotten this bad rap for being obsessed with ‘newness’. Yet, when I unpack the psychology behind always seeking something better or the “next big thing,” I sympathize because I relate to wanting to make the most out of our lives. I, too, chase the same glimmer of hope-filled light. We don’t want to settle for a life where we aren’t our best and we aren’t getting our best.
But what has this mindset done to us mentally and emotionally? Am I the only one who struggles with trying to live up to the perfection of all these grand moments and milestones, only to fall short of feeling positive and excited about everyday life in the smallest ways?
This is how the plague has hit us: we return from a trip and we immediately think of our next destination. We get a job and a few months in we are already fed up with where we are in the organization. We get to a good place with our partner, and then doubt creeps in when a new stage of growth reveals itself or when Single Sally makes the dating scene sound more glamorous than it ever really was. We figure out what we want to do with our lives and then feel frustrated within a month because we haven’t progressed.
Have we lost appreciation for simplicity? Have we developed a sort of ADHD for life? Are we falling victim to over-the-top expectations of how life should look? And if so, where are we wrong?
What I am learning about myself is my tendency to use change as a way to mask unhappiness or the potential of pain. I mean, you’ve heard the common saying, “If you don’t like something, change it.” But personally, I am starting to get more and more unhappy with what’s right in front of me. If something’s going wrong in my life, I usually say, “Okay, what’s going to change? Is it my job, new friends, another trip?” Yet seldom is the answer is “me”.
Yes, change is good when it is used as a tool for growth and self-discovery. However, I feel that the problem is with the forceful and incessant change, underlying our obsession with newness.
This recurring theme in my life about wanting the next best thing to happen right this instance has led me to believe that what I am meant to do is learn how to deal with all the less-than-spectacular moments—the in-between moments, the everyday moments, and the unhappy, imperfect moments of life.
My goal is to learn how to appreciate the little, mundane things and stop going into overdrive over life. I don’t want a life that looks good on paper, one spent obsessing over goal-lists and visions boards, but one that feels good in my mind and heart.
Yes, I want the life I want, but I also want happiness in simplicity. The happiness in living fully where I am right in this moment. Soaking up the good, the bad and yet to be discovered parts. Why? Because I have a feeling that is where the good stuff is found. You know, things like joy, peace, and happiness. Yeah, the things dreams are made of.
I hope you find it too.