It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood and emotions are flowing. It’s one of those days that coffee is making me feel cray and I’m overstimulated by every thought that enters my mind.
Last night I decided to post in an online forum on advice about where I am moving to next. I have never done this before. I’ve consulted other people’s online forum threads for answers on various topics over the years, but I’ve never submitted my own. It sounded like a fine idea. I’ve done a lot of research on where I am going and have talked to connections who live there, but I figured the more advice I can get the merrier. Boy, I must have been crazy to think asking a bunch of strangers behind computer screens was a good idea for practical advice. The internet can be a ridiculous place.
The responses I got were coated with blunt negativity and lined with fear. I am aware that the journey of life isn’t always a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end. I understand and appreciate a shared dose of reality, but I was surprised at the comments I got from people. Never mind what my questions were, because none of them were answered. Some inapplicable responses were:
- “Don’t move.”
- “I would not go.”
- “Why would you do that? Just go on vacation.”
- “Stay home.”
- “Make sure you have a return plane ticket.”
- “This doesn’t even make sense. Let’s all “move” on from this.”
- My personal favorite: “The number of people who end up homeless and on drugs is no joke. This is why my first piece of advice is to buy a return plane ticket.”
Wow, when did we get so cynical? I guess this is what happens in a fear based society. I was kind of baffled by the negativity, especially because I did not ask for parental guidance on whether or not I should move. It’s my lucky day, because I got it anyway. I don’t take things like homelessness and unemployment as a joke. I understand these are heavy situations people experience, all over the world. But my line of thinking is that let’s hope for the rest of our lives, no matter if we’re moving across the world or down the street, we never become homeless drug addicts. Seriously. Let’s just have “avoiding homelessness” as an unspoken goal in our heads until the day we die so we don’t have to talk about it again… I didn’t think I had to give the disclaimer that I’d like to avoid this situation. Yeah, I guess it can happen to anyone. But, so can death or freak accidents. Do we need to go around worrying about encountering such scenarios out loud? Sounds like a miserable way to think in my opinion.
It wasn’t all bad news though, there were actually some wonderful comments from people supporting my decision. It was nice to see that not everyone is jaded in this world. Something one of the positive contributors said stuck out to me:
“Avoid regrets, not challenges.”
YES. This is gold.
Regret is the single thing I want to live without in this world. When I look to my future self, I ask: “What would you rather look back on: that time you took a leap of faith to experience something amazing, or that time you didn’t because you were scared?” I choose the first scenario every time. Fear is our natural response to discomfort. If something sounds challenging, we immediately rush to the worst-case scenario. But what about the best-case scenario? It looks pretty fucking great to me. And it is an option! As long as you are equipped to handle the challenges that come with it, why not go for it?
I swear I am not as naive as I may sound. I don’t take the opportunities I’ve been given or challenges ahead for granted, and reading these responses made me feel ready to work hard when I’m there. Because the debbie downers have a point, without hard work you won’t go far. I welcome the outcome of my decisions, and know they won’t always be as I expect. But when I pose the question “What is the worst that can happen?” The answer really isn’t that terrible, as long as I’ve prepared. Sure, you can challenge me by saying “Becoming homeless and on drugs is the worst that can happen, Lauren. It happens everyday!” Maybe that is so, but I plan to change course before my reality looks close to anything like that. As long as planes are still taking off, I fortunately have a place to come back to if things don’t work out as expected. We can’t avoid doing things outside of our comfort zone because we fear the worst case scenario. Have faith and take risks, but be smart.
I think the most important thing I can fall back on is my own self-trust. When we follow our hearts, we don’t need anyone’s approval. It is nice to have support though, so make sure you have some cool friends and family around that won’t judge you. Otherwise, get an animal. Great listeners who won’t crush your dreams.
Dealing with internet trolls is exhausting. I think it’s time for a smoothie and some tea.