I’m sure I’m not the only person whose morning mood changes on a daily basis. Sometimes I wake up fresh and full of life. I make myself a bowl of porridge with grated courgette, added protein and chia seeds. I stretch. I meditate, and I have completed my 4 mile run before most people have even put the kettle on for their morning coffee.
Other mornings I wake up and I feel like I have been kicked in the chest. My stomach lurches at the thought of doing the same thing as I did yesterday. I shudder at the thought of doing the same thing, for the rest of my life. Somedays I wake up, and the dread is inescapable. I’m 25, and I don’t know what I want to do or where I want to go.
I am convinced that I can’t be the only person who feels this way, especially at my age. I do everything right. I eat healthily, I exercise, I do yoga, I write down my worries every single day, I write down 3 things I’m grateful for in the morning, I know the breathing exercises to do when I’m stressed. And a lot of the time it works, but sometimes it doesn’t and I find myself not wanting to even try.
I think the reason so many of us feel so lost at this time in our lives, is because of the constant pressure that if we are not following our dreams, we are not doing enough. I blame a lot of things for this, but one of them is social media. We are suddenly bombarded with people who, in a defiant act of bravery, quit their ‘normal’ jobs to pursue their dreams. Whether that’s starting their own business, travelling around the world or making millions selling protein shakes on Instagram.
I also blame the articles telling us that if we’re not happy we need to change something immediately. Or telling us that the only way we will achieve real success is if we wake up at 5am each morning and meditate for 45 minutes. The Ted Talks that tell us to just quit, just pack up and move to a different country and figure it out when we get there. Telling us to be brave, live everyday like it’s our last. In a world where we can access hours of motivation at the click of a button, it’s hard not to feel like a failure when we can’t take the pressure of perfection, instead choosing to settle for average.
So are we failures for prioritising a routine, a stable job and perhaps mind-numbing boredom over a life of adventure, spontaneity and indulgence? Do we deserve to be made to feel like failures because we sleep in until 5 minutes until we have to leave the house, grumble all the way through our 9-5 then get home and demolish an entire jar of Nutella? Are we failures because sometimes our weekends involve lying on the sofa getting far too emotionally invested in Come Dine With Me?
No, of course we are not failures. Sure, there are times when it’s time to say enough is enough, when you really should just pack it in and start again. But we need to realise that it’s fine if you’re not spending each day chasing your dreams, or even spending each day trying to figure out what your dream is. Sometimes, it’s necessary just to spend a short time settling, trusting that better times are on their way. It’s alright to not be training for a marathon, to not be able to remember the last time you shaved your legs or to spend an entire Sunday in your dressing gown.
We don’t need to resort to extremes to be able to experience success or happiness and we certainly don’t need to be perfect. Cooking organic, vegetarian meals from scratch, watching the sunrise each morning and leaving your well-paid but unsatisfying job to pursue something you didn’t even know you wanted in the first place. Happiness can instead come from investing in your future, trusting that everything will be OK in the end, and knowing that you haven’t failed because everyday of the week doesn’t showcase your very best self.
What are the important things? Well, making short term goals. Making long terms goals. Working towards them, of course, but giving yourself a break if the greatest achievement of your day is managing to get out of bed. Take care of yourself.
The point isn’t to make everyday as perfect as you can and live your very best life every single day. The point is simple. It’s to appreciate and take in the teeny little things that make you smile in day-to-day life. The podcast you listened to on the way to work, the coffee you had with a friend or the smell of the countryside after a long week in London. It’s about integrating little bits of goodness into your day. It’s alright if you’re living for the weekend – so many people are. Not everyday has to be the best day of your life.