Life seems to be a constant barrage of options in your face. At any point in your life you have millions of things to choose from and not choosing the right thing is a failure. But how can I know what I actually want if I can’t even identify what is the right thing for me. Especially when every alternative seems great.
I am not talking about analysing the pros and cons of a situation. I am talking about knowing that all of the options are amazing. Friends could be a good example. I am very lucky to be surrounded by amazing people all the time. I have friends who I deeply value in my life, I respect them and they respect me. They are great and they wish me well. But I am a human being with responsibilities and goals, I don’t have kids. For parents this becomes an even more important reality. I do not have time to spend with all of my friends, I wish I did but I don’t. So how can I decide who is the right friend to spend time with?
There is another story, Rebeka has always been in relationships, she has never been single for more than 2 months, there is even a small overlap between relationships.. She always struggles with the idea of being alone. This means that she doesn’t actually know what it means to choose a movie by herself, it is hard enough that Netflix has thousands of films. She needs the influence of another human being to choose what to watch, where to go and how to do things. So when I ask Rebeka, “What kind of movies do you like?” she would answer “I don’t know, any?”. So it looks like Rebeka never tries to find out what kind of thing she really loves to do. Apparently she loves someone else choosing for her. She loves being part of the decision making that builds her life.
I think Rebeka is giving us some clues about what to do. Maybe just go to netflix and watch a movie to see if you enjoy it and look inside your own being and ask yourself if you enjoy that kind of movie?. Maybe you could rewatch those movies that you think you love and see what they have in common and that may simplify your search. Yes, but friends are not movies. No they are not, yet friends also offer entertainment, emotional relief and human connection. Movie Directors are magicians. But, now you find yourself in the same dilemma. I don’t have time to watch all those movies and all of them are so nice and so good. So the direction becomes quite simple: organise yourself. I have time to see only a handful of friends and sometimes only the friends I can pinch. I do not know which one.
First there is no right or wrong answer. This is the point that I wanted to make. All of those friends you have are now asking you to spend time with them, because they also value you, they respect you. So you have a social calendar that leaves little to no space for yourself. We have this quote in Spanish: De Guatemala a Guatepeor which is like out of the frying pan into the fire. Which basically means changing from a bad situation to an even worse one. However, Most of our decisions are choosing between amazing and even more amazing. Which I guess makes the issue a bit harder. Because it might feel like you’re wasting or losing something amazing. But, you are not, you don’t have time for that amazing you only have time for this amazing. So putting my energy in this outstanding thing that I can actually do is my priority. I meant to be confusing here, I might find myself in a situation where there is not a right or wrong answer, just an answer that I choose and one I don’t.
It is also ok not knowing what you want Pedro. Write, talk, communicate with yourself and others. What do you think is a good path to take?. Give yourself the opportunity to try. Explore the world without feeling that you are failing your loved ones. Taking the space to figure out what kind of movie you like is important. Taking the time to really understand what you love. Then it will be easy to choose what to do. Marketing and friends will always want you to be around them, but life is limited and the allocation of the 168 hours of your week is your decision. So let’s take time to experiment and find out the things that inspire excitement, sadness, joy or all of them.
It is ok to say no to good. It is actually ok to say no to amazing things. I have to learn to let go of a few amazing things to enjoy the other amazing things that I care about the most. FOMO is something that I hear a lot about every day. And I understand that feeling of missing out, I live in Australia and I miss my family back home so much that it destroys me a little not being able to be part of the Chapitas Championship that they do every December, or not being able to go for a walk on the beach with my mum. Because right now I am deciding to be here. However, because I have these amazing FOMO experiences I can value the things that I choose to do a little more. I try to enjoy every moment that I get to experience with friends and family. I also find a kind and loving way to say no to people or activities that I could do or I am invited to. Some of these discussions are with myself.
Stop, breathe and then do is a very helpful practice to avoid the rush to do something that you might not want to do. Delivered practice of mindfulness is key for me to see a bit better what to do. I am a human being like you and I am sure we are all just trying to be kind to one another, to enjoy life and to contribute to the betterment of the world. We can only do so much, which is probably a lot more than we think we can do now. So why not allow yourself to find and then give our life to the things that make you glow a bit more and make part of the light that makes life a bit better. So I want to remember that I am fortunate for having amazing options in front of me and I am grateful for it as I choose what I choose. I also feel a bit better that I don’t need to act because someone else is asking.I can patiently wait until I know what I would love to do.
Photo by Hrishikesh Deshkar.