I have a constant love/hate relationship with social media. I think it is a wonderful tool for self-expression, connecting with people, and branding. It can also be a really scary place. I love following people and brands who inspire me, such as photographers, designers, and lifestyle bloggers who post beautiful pictures. If you're anything like me, you may find yourself scrolling through a flawless Instagram feed and thinking to yourself, "How can someone's life be THAT cool?" (I'll let you in on a secret--those perfect pictures you see probably took a lot of time and effort to set up and photograph to get it just right.)
I'm currently in college, so I'm pretty much at the mercy of my hectic school schedule. Most people don't have the time or funds to constantly travel the world. But that doesn't have to get in the way of a happy life, or even an adventurous life. I'm going to use 5 really overused cliche´s to prove a really important point: you can have an amazing and exciting life from right where you are.
1. Attitude is everything. The first step to having a good life is to believe you have a good life. You can either see a difficulty in every opportunity, or an opportunity in every difficulty. Having an adventurous life is not a matter of changing your lifestyle. It's about changing your heart. It takes a lot of work to completely change your perspective on things. It's a constant process and no one is every going to be happy with their situation all the time. But by making a conscious decision to see life as an opportunity, you open up a world of possibilities. Enjoy it.
2. Comparison will kill you. This has been my constant mantra for several years now because I am deeply susceptible to this trap. Comparison is wicked and comes in many different forms. Sometimes you compare yourself to the seemingly amazing things you see other people doing. You wind up feeling discouraged because what you're doing doesn't measure up. Or sometimes you feel so stressed or burdened that it becomes a competition of who has it worse. Everyone is walking a different path, and while you can look to others for guidance, ultimately your situation is entirely your own. When you realize that, it becomes easier to appreciate what other people are doing without feeling worse about yourself. Your journey is just as important and meaningful as anyone else's. Understanding this also allows you to give encouragement to others who may be struggling.
3. Try new things. Go check out that little bookstore near your house that you've never been to. Go on a new hike. Eat something you've never tasted. Take a walk around a part of town you've never seen. Volunteer at a local service center. View everything as a new opportunity to explore, even if its in your own backyard. You might even make a challenge to yourself to try 1, 2, 5 new things every day. Write them down. When you have the opportunity to do something big and scary, take it. Nothing in life that's worth doing is going to be easy.
4. Find beauty in simplicity. We live in a fast-paced whirlwind of a world where the big and the boisterous get the most attention. Take time to slow down and notice the small things. The simple moments spent with friends--or even in solitude--can sometimes be the most meaningful. If you want to be intentional about noticing the simple things, try some form of documentation. Take a picture of the little flower you see on your walk home. Better yet, draw a picture of it. Jot down a sentence about how it made you feel. Start a journal and record the highlights of your day, no matter how silly. Set aside time in your day for reflection and introspection. If you take time to appreciate the small things, it'll give infinitely more value to the big things.
“Beautiful things don't ask for attention.”
― James Thurber
5. Make the most of it. Life is what you make it. Happiness won't be handed to you on a silver platter. They say that "the grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it." You have the power to choose joy. You never know if an opportunity will come more than once. You can choose to drag your feet and fear the unknown. Or you can take a risk and possibly change your life. Instead of sitting around and waiting to see what the world can do for you, go find out what you were made to do.