I’ve come to realise just how much of an effect the sun has on my mood. As an Aussie, I’ve been spoiled with near constant sunshine and I never understood the immediate migration outdoors the moment some sunshine appeared after a cold Northern Hemisphere winter.
Watching the sunset or always trying to find the outdoor table to work from epitomised what this lifestyle was able to give me. Yes, I was still hustling and working harder than I did in a corporate job; but at least I could do it on my terms, create my own office space, set my own hours.
Not being tied to a 9-to-5 office job meant I could seize every opportunity to be in the sun.
But then this weird thing happened. I started to feel guilty if I wasn’t out in the sun every time it shined. Was I really living this ‘best life’ if I couldn’t enjoy every sunset? Was I going through all this turmoil with trying to transition into a new lifestyle and way of thinking if I just ended up, holed up inside working again?
And then I started to realise just how much I took for granted that Australia is constantly sunny. And the guilt continued to build. Shouldn’t I take every opportunity to see the sun when it is so scarce? And now that I’m back in Australia, shouldn’t I soak in this thing I had longed for while I was away?
The answer is quite complicated.
We are lucky that we can be empowered to seize every opportunity and follow our dreams. This YOLO state of mind is an empowering call to arms to take the reins to your life and go after what you want.
We are no longer relegated to what we have to do; we can go after what we want to do.
But at the same time, it can be quite stressful. There are so many opportunities out there and it is simply impossible to get every single one. Choosing one path gives us FOMO over the others and we are never quite satisfied with what we’re doing.
We feel like we need to do more, be more. We overcommit, say yes to too many things and get busier and busier just to feel like we haven’t wasted the opportunities we have. We’re wasting our youth away, being ungrateful millennials who don’t know how good we have it. We feel the constant pull to be somewhere else, to be better, to be more.
I’m here to tell you: Stop. Breathe. Take a beat.
It is not helping anyone for you to be overcommitted and stretched thin; let alone helping you. It’s ok to take a time out, to slow down and recentre yourself on what’s really important. It’s ok to say no sometimes.
Whenever the guilt starts to creep in again, breathe in… breathe out… and remember these things:
1. Do what’s right for you.
The decision to be at that party or event or go out in the sun has to start with you. Why do you need to go? Do you actually want to or just feel like you should? Is it helping you to your goals?
Recognising the reason why you feel compelled to go will help you understand whether you’re making a decision out of a weird sense of guilt or it is something you want to do. A part of living life on your terms is making decisions for you and you alone.
If you need to take a day to just be by yourself and have a lazy one, forget what others might think or whether that means you go silent on social media today. It’s not time wasted when it is time taken to take care of you and serves you in a positive way.
2. Be intentional with your time.
Now that you’ve made dedicated your time to something, be present. The worst thing is when you’ve come to an occasion and can’t stop thinking about all the other things that you could be, should be doing.
Give yourself over to your decision and turn up – both physically and emotionally. Part of enjoying life is enjoying the small moments and not having your mind wander to what’s next. Let go of the idea that time is running out; and instead, enjoy the time you have.
3. Enjoy the journey, wherever it goes.
Putting too much expectation on every decision we make can be exhausting and often disappointing. Instead, go through life with an open heart and mind and you never know what’s around the corner.
If we are constantly thinking about the next mountain to climb or the sunset to watch, we forget to just settle into the journey and appreciate where we are going. And in taking it slow, we are often surprised at what we may discover about ourselves.
When you can make decisions that serve and be present at every moment, that’s when life comes at us. Make sure you take note of what’s happening. Because you never know: what’s next might be more than you could ever imagine.
I’m Tiff and I’m passionate about empowering people to tell their stories in meaningful and creative ways. A year ago, I quit my corporate job in Sydney, Australia to travel and pursue my own projects. Now, as a location-independent social storyteller, I can’t imagine going back. I love being able to share my stories and struggles with the emerging remote working community. I haven’t got it all figured out and constantly feel like I’m flying blind, but I’m excited to be giving myself the space to do so. You can find out more on my website, from Instagram or Twitter.
If you’re interested in sharing your story with us too, send us a DM on Instagram and tell us what you’d like to talk about. If you are a fit, we will forward you all details via email.