One thing that strikes me hard in this world of upselling, upvoting and upworthy is how whatever appears in front of our noses in life seems to have become one of the most distracting things around. It’s tough to just sit here and type this blog post without jumping around between sentences, and I know as well as you do that you’ll lose interest if I don’t put in a list of some kind soon.
I remember that I used to listen to music and absent-mindedly gaze at magazines when I was a teenager and trying to complete homework, back in the 90s when school work could still be hand written. The fact that our attention wanders is not new and shocking, but I am often finding myself caught out by what it ends up wandering to.
Saturated colours! Attention-grabbing headlines! The ever-renewing feeds of Twitter! I wander off searching for gratification, and I return with disappointment. All the things I look at seem to lead me to images of a life that’s so much better than mine. And now I often find myself working away when I start wondering – what would life be like in a different job? Why am I struggling my way through the tough parts of self-employment, when I could be livin’ la vida feliz with funky colleagues over at Google? After all, they have multicoloured bins. They must be so fun. Or what if I’d become an academic after all? And what about that job over there? Doesn’t that sound fun? Hope and change and excitement are a bit like a twitter feed, they have to keep rolling to be exciting. And anyway, I hate where I live. I want to live in California. But in the happy perfect part where it doesn’t rain, the food is healthy, the rents are cheap and I don’t have to work. Am I the only one dreaming a life more than living a dream?
I have friends who I truly admire – creative, ambitious, strong and independent. But the thing that we all seem to struggle with the most is to stop comparing, looking at other people or dreaming about all the things our lives could be. I think that’s why the current trend for expressing “gratitude” is making the rounds, and probably also a backend factor for a lack of mental wellbeing. Appreciating life has never been tougher than now, when we can see all the things we haven’t got.