Our young generation is bombarded with wanting more. We create more and consume more because the more we have, the more we want. Our lives are always in a whirlwind catching up with something. No I’m not talking about consumerism. I’m talking about knowing what’s really important to you, and dropping other balls. Ironic enough, you don’t have to break something, but just gently put it down, give up on other things that don’t matter.
Happy-go-lucky people tend to have fewer worries, or at least I notice they seem to do. In fact they aren’t aware of the full range of opportunities in front of them. They aren’t given a full plate with so much food that they wonder how to scram it all and satisfy their stomach. With opportunity comes cost, be it visible or invisible. Children who have never gone to school dream of sitting in a classroom for once in their lives. Immigrant people dream to settle down in their own house in a big city. Patients who are in the wheelchair dream of standing on their feet. And people, probably lots of people, just like you and me, who live in a decent house, have a job, have energy, have time, look around questioning our identity. Yes, identity!
Identity is shown in the top of Maslow pyramid, where all basic needs are satisfied. Striving for more is the right thing to do, as we all look for improvement. But the thing is, whenever you want something more, look at other people who already have it, and ask yourself where they began with, what sacrifices they have made, and what they have gained to get to them where they are. Sometimes they can be frank, other time they don’t, or they simply don’t take it as sacrifices, since they aren’t conscious of other opportunity costs. Or else, they acknowledge it and move on.
Let’s take a closer look at a plain example: the vacation.
If you have huge amount of money, with no time restriction, no family to be concerned about, where would you choose to spend your vacation? – That’s a myriad of options I guess.
Then if you still are extremely wealthy, no family to take care of, but with 3 days off, where would you choose to spend your vacation? – Now you have a lot more limited options I suppose.
Again, if you have boundless budget, no family accompanied, with 3 days off, your chronic sinusitis doesn’t allow you to swim for too long and stay in too cold area, what destination would you choose? – I think it’s clearer now: your choices are getting more limited. You won’t gawk at the travel map claiming: “I am considering Alaska, hell it’s gonna be perfect!”. No you won’t, since you know what your physical condition allows you, and you won’t even bother glancing at such option.
But life is a lot more complicated, and you have more variables than any of the simplified examples above. We, as youngster, are always encouraged to live life to the fullest – you know what I mean, the YOLO quote. But the fewer constraints we face, the more choices we have, the more we fear of missing out. If that day you’re free in your schedule, you’re in the mood of going out, and there are three big parties at the same time, what will you choose? The funniest party, the closest, the most popular, or, what else? Sometimes all the characteristics can fall into your choice (Lucky you!), but other times they don’t. Let’s say you pick a party, would you ever think: “Hmm, this party A looks gorgeous on social media, but did I miss out party B because all of my friends seemed to gather there?”, or “Party C is fabulous, I’m glad I was there, but I’ve heard that many celebrities showed up in party A, I should have passed by, shouldn’t I?” In other words, you fear of missing the fun beyond the event you were already in.
In the chase after your utmost variable in life, let’s say money, you take for granted all other elements that bestow on you: your family, your health, your time, etc. And if life turbulently turns your constant into a variable (your daughter grows up without you knowing which class she’s in, your back starts aching without you paying attention, sleep turns out to be your luxury favor, etc.), your faith will be shaking, your heart will suffer and you start realizing how vulnerable you are. Let’s be honest, will you still fear of missing out any promotion opportunities? Probably no, since all other aspects of your life are at stake, everything varies so that money no longer holds the top priority it used to.
Today’s newspaper articles and magazine stories applaud youngsters to venture forth for more, but it’s true that no one knows where you are as much as yourself. Suddenly intensive adjectives like brave, fearless find their way into journalists’ description, and you are always told to chase after something, lead some lifestyles to make a tremendous impact. But for a second, hold on and seriously estimate whether you can stand any of your constants to be at stake. Some people can have it all, but they hardly appear on public stating that they don’t have it all at-the-same-time. I do admire them, but it’s far from wanting to be like them. Playing with many variables can be thrilling, but I rest assured that everybody has a certain level of tolerance. Somebody out there may excel at juggling all the crystal balls of their life, but don’t count yourself in yet. You may not want to pay what they have traded off to get there. And that’s totally fine.
So whenever things grind to a halt and I find myself amidst a chaos between holding on or letting go, I breathe deeply, and pray for not having more, but knowing more of what I truly care.
After all, going on a roller coaster is exciting, invigorating, mind-blowing, but always bear in mind that you can only enjoy the ride because it is grounded on a firm surface. So stick to your deep root, treasure your constants (what honestly mean to you), and embrace your upheaval.