Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith

Life is for living. I want to live the life that when I am on my deathbed, I will have no regrets. No what-ifs. No if only’s. None of that. But sometimes you get scared. You want to settle. Settle into normal life. Be complacent.

And last week I had that moment. Last Thursday I got a phone-call offering me a job back in Dublin (where I am from) with a good enough firm doing a good enough job. And how did I react. Well I was happy that I had options, but the thought of taking the job made me want to die inside. The security made me happy. The thought of returning to Dublin and finding an apartment and living there for the rest of my life made me want to give up on my life. But what other choice did I have? I had no job. No place to live. Nothing.

And then I rang my brother and told him the news. He was happy but (obviously sensing my lack of enthusiasm) asked me if this is what I really wanted? Was this my dream? And hell no. I knew it wasn’t my dream. But aren’t grown ups supposed to stop chasing their dreams? Aren’t we supposed to settle? Realise that that is what our dreams were. Simply dreams?

I told him what I thought my dream was – to work in an NGO. To do something good. As cringey as it sounds to make a difference. And you know what he told me to go for it.

Why go for it? Well I am in the lucky position that I am still rather young and have zero responsibilities (bar myself). I have no student debt, no loans, no accommodation, no significant other, no job. I have just me. And I can do anything and go anywhere (within reason, my family would probably not be too fond of me leaving Europe). But essentially I am free to do as I wish as long as I can afford it.

So with this in mind, I decided I was moving to Brussels. The city which has the work I want to pursue. The city that is saturated with NGO’s. And with this goal in mind. I booked my flights, found a part-time internship, found possible employment with a pub, and have a place sorted to live. Is it going to be easy? No probably not. Is it going to be worth it? I hope so. But I know one thing for sure. If I don’t see this dream through, or even see if there is a possibility of this dream working, I will regret it on my deathbed.

Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and dive in.

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What is the point of life?

This is a question that I am constantly trying to find the answer to. And yet time and time again fail. The amount of times I have questioned friends on it, turned to Google for answers and multiple self-help books. And the response I have summed up is there is none.

It is up to you to give your life a point. 

If it is up to us to give life a point then why are we getting stressed up about all the small bullshit that hassles our life. Why aren’t we living life exactly as we wish? In the end, am I going to care whether I got the law credentials or not. Probably not, as long as I had sufficient amount of money to live the life I wanted and made a difference, I do not really care if I get my law credentials.

Why do we keep on pushing ourselves to live this ideal life. Keep on pushing ourselves into this rat race which is making us sick and tired and stressed. This life where you wake up every morning not wanting to get up, not wanting to move, praying for the day to be almost over so you can just get back into bed. Why don’t we instead rejoice when we get up and celebrate the fact that life is so goddamn precious. 

We all get obsessed with money. Making money our God. And along with that security. Craving the security. Living life inside a box, never venturing out of the box, because god help if you stray from the path. BECAUSE IF YOU STRAY everyone will be able to laugh at you if you fail, and if you don’t fail, people won’t like you as you have proved all their limitations and excuses invalid.

STRAY FROM THE PATH. I urge you, especially if you are young and healthy, stray. Make mistakes. Fuck up. That is the point of life. Life is not there to play it safe. Life is there to make mistakes and learn from them. The definition of failure is allowing fear to dictate all your actions. GET OVER THE FEAR. Life is scary. Get used to it and embrace it.

So stop sitting in your box living your customised by other people life and make your life yours. Give your life a point.

The Success Sacrifice.

I think there is a lot of pressure on twenty something year olds to have it all figured out. We have the media telling us we are useless, the worst employees to date etc, we have people younger than us, those in their teens who are making millions and creating amazing apps and then we open our newsfeed and we see our friends and acquaintances travelling the world, getting married, starting families or rising up the career ladder. And then we look towards ourself and wonder what we have achieved. Have we even achieved anything? Am I not supposed to be a multimillionaire right now? Am I not supposed to be madly in love with the person I am going to spend forever with right now? Should I have not travelled the entire globe by now? What am I doing with my life?

Relax. Take a deep breath. Take a few more deep breathes. Now read this.

Everyone has their own timelines for success. And everyone has their own definition of success. Some people I went to university with will be fully qualified fledging lawyers before 25, while others will have married and had kids, while others will have travelled to a few countries. Some people will work 70 hour weeks and will become partner by 45 but may not have children, might never be home to see their partner, might not get the time to travel the globe, might retire by 60 and get to see the world. Others might postpone their professional careers and travel the globe, see the northern lights, eat pizza in Naples, dance in the Monsoon rains in India and enter the corporate world at 28, a few years behind others, forever perhaps playing catchup.

Every success requires sacrifice. If you want to become a CEO, no matter what, you are going to have to sacrifice some aspect of your life. You will not make it to every single one of your child’s recitals, you may not make every single meeting, you may not make every training session, every date night or see every country in the world. But you will make the ones that are important.

And thats the thing, to be great, to be an expert, you need to cut other elements out of your life. Figure out your priorities and eliminate anything which is not a priority. For example: when I was studying for my final law exams, I cut out socialising and sport for a year as those were not priorities. What were priorities? Study, sleep and my mom. That is where my time went, if I was not studying, I was sleeping. If I had time off from university, I was at home with my mom. Those were my priorities. And that is how I came out with a first class honours in law as I knew what my priorities were.

Now, that university is over, my priorities have shifted. The things I want to achieve in life are different. This brings me to my second point. Your priorities or the things you expend your energy on, don’t always have to be the same things. As soon as a priority is not bringing you happiness or a sense of achievement, reevaluate and change it. For example, health and fitness has been a massive priority for me the last couple of months. This meant I was eating clean and getting up before work to gym. Now, between being sick and in bed for the last week and getting on a flight to South Africa to spend two weeks with family, my priorities are shifting. I will be focusing more on family time and less on fitness and health. I will still be keeping myself accountable but will not be doing intense gym sessions, simply for the reason that if I stand up I feel like fainting, and due to possible time constraints.

What to take from this article: figure out your priorities, time is limited so you only have so much time you can expend. Make sure your time is going to a worthwhile place. Secondly, your priorities are not set in stone and can shift. Just because you make something a priority or a goal, does not mean it always has to be, as soon as you don’t feel a burning passion for that goal or it does not make you happy anymore, reevaluate it and change it if required. 

Stop netflixing your life away

Netflix. Such a great invention. The ability to access millions of movies and series at the press of a button. Even better now that you don’t have to change for a new episode, it just continuously runs.

I recently made the brave move to delete my Netflix. Why you ask? Well, Netflix is a distraction. It distracts us from our goals, from our vision, from what we want to achieve in life. This may sounds extreme, but think about it. See the below infographic as provided by the Business Insider:

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Here we can see how long it takes to watch an entire series. I have spent hours upon hours watching series after series and I kid you not, some series three times (Gossip Girl in case you were wondering). With this knowledge I decided to do a little calculation. Using this website ‘The Binge Clock’,  I could calculate how many hours I have spent watching Gossip Girl. Well, the truth is, I have spent over two weeks of my life watching Gossip Girl. TWO WEEKS. Lets put that in perspective:

15 days 3 hours = 363 hours

363 hours could have been better spent:

-> Going to the gym every day for a year (and would still have an extra 7 hours);

-> Sleeping more (I am constantly giving out about how little I sleep and how tired I am);

-> Taking up a new hobby such as learning to play the flute, or learning a new language;

-> spending more time with friends or family by giving them a call;

-> working on your side hustle.

But why do we watch it? I think one of the main enjoyments I derive from watching Netflix or any other sort of television series provider is the ability to live vicariously through the lives of others. Take Gossip Girl for example, I get to get a glimpse into the elite world of Manhattan socialites that I would never otherwise be allowed into. And this luxury makes me forget for a second (or for forty minutes) all my problems and brings me into this world of luxury where I almost believe, I am part of that world. Furthermore it is a distraction, a distraction from my current worries and problems, a way to ignore my issues and pretend everything is fine. Netflixing our weekends away is a modern-day phenomenon which is leading people to numb their lives by distracting themselves from their problems and not leading the life they could live.

 

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Now this article is not meant to make any one cold-turkey themselves from Netflix, but just to highlight the amount of time that is wasted on Netflix which could be used far more productively. There is a lot of good to be said for watching series as it is a great way to shut off for a while, but the bring home message of this article is to simply be aware of the tiem you are spending Netflixing especially if you are complaining about not having enoug time to do things.

Growing up: The realisation you are an adult

This moment may come as a startling realisation to some or as a series of small realisations to others. To me, it was a mixture of the both. Moving out of home into my student residence, I had the realisation that I was growing up, moving to a foreign country – growing up, becoming financial responsible for myself – growing up, booking my first doctor’s appointment –growing up, getting my first ‘real adult job’ –growing up. 

But today, I was faced with the realisation that I am now actually an adult. No quotes around the word adult, no use of the verb ‘adulting’ which I aways used to suggest that this was a temporary phase, I was not an adult, I was just currently being an adult for the purpose at hand. But today, I realised, I am an adult.

This realisation came to me today as I was in my bed, off from work sick and I got a phone call from a headhunter asking me if I was interested in a new job. For this job, I would be paid significantly more, would be using my linguistic as well as legal skills but would be required to relocate leaving a city I love and a job with a very good law firm. When I got off the phone, I thought of who should I ask for advice? And that is when I realised, this is my decision. No matter what anyone says, this is my life and it is up to me to take full responsibility for it. And that my friends, is being an adult. Having the freedom to do exactly what you want, but also having to take all the shit that comes along with it.