Duror, Scotland, 21.10.2016.
As announced in the last blog entry, I will focus more my upcoming Canada- adventure in the next blog entries than on my current holiday in Scotland. However, I will add some pictures with descriptions to these entries to give you an idea what it’s like in this country.
In the last weeks, I have told many people about my intention to go to Canada and leave Europe for at least a year. And how did most of the people react to that? Well, many of them were surprised about my plans but they almost always said that they were happy for me and thought that it is a good idea to do that. However, many of those people also said something like:
“I must say I am a bit jealous. I would also love to do that.”
At first, I did not comment statements like this at all. Then, after having heard this kind of statement several times, I started to think about it and eventually I also began to discuss it with people when they “challenged” me with it. I think this statement touches one of the most sensitive and important subjects of our life: The fact that our life mostly depends on the decisions that we make each day. Decisions like: Where do I want to live, in which job do I want to work, how do I want to spend my money, etc. So why is this relevant for the above statement, what has this got to do with people’s jealousy? Well, my argument is that these people may feel that they are missing out on something and that they may have made the wrong or suboptimal decisions in life. But life is really a result of very many and different decisions and most of them are a product of current circumstances and preferences. In the end, the sum of these decisions lead to the current situation we are in. Thus, everyone is more or less responsible for their own current personal situation. The problem with this is, that many people are probably rather unaware of this. How often do people really think about their personal situation and about the options they have in life, no matter how strange or unrealistic they may be? I would argue that many people may not be overly happy with their job, their apartement or their relationship but that they rather continue as usual instead of considering a more radical change. Problems with the current boss? Well, we will survive his reign as we have already outlived other stupid bosses, right? It is always easier to keep doing what you are doing instead of considering other options that may entail a greater risk but that also promise to provide greater levels of happiness. I think that this behaviour is a product of our fear to lose something and due to the fact that most people are rather risk- averse. Thus, most of the decisions that we make are focused on conserving the status quo or to make improvements to the current situation while maintaining what we already achieved. Basically “adding-on”. But I do not want to criticize this as it is a reasonable behaviour that probably suits a lot of people’s way of life pretty well. Once you settle down with your partner, found a family and buy a house, it does absolutely make sense to protect and maintain your current status in life. In the long run, you will be greatly rewarded by doing this and you will probably experience a lot of happiness by doing so. However, this behaviour also comes with a cost: You lose flexibility and the chance to experience something new and different. Maybe you could be happier in another job, maybe you would rather live rurally than in the city, maybe you would rather like to travel regularly instead of staying at home to watch the children or pets? Anyway, the point is that you are the master of your life and that your very own decisions led you to the situation that you are actually in. However, most of the people do not realize that. Thus, I always respond to people telling me that they are jealous somehow like this:
“Look, there is no need to be jealous. You have made decisions in your past that led to the situation you are currently in and they were reasonable and good decisions in the moment you made them. You probably already own a house or apartment, you are happy in your relationship and you possibly also have wonderful children. So why are you jealous? You simply decided to take a different way in your life and you have done pretty well so far, haven’t you? Yes, you won’t go to Canada soon but you have all the other things that make you happy, right? If not, you should simply sit down, ask yourself what would make you happy and do exactly that. As strange as it sounds, but you can change your life every day. You can hand in your notice today, move out of your apartment, get in your car, drive somewhere and start completely new in another country, city, job and/or relationship. So if you are jealous now because you won’t be able to go to Canada, I can only respond: You could also do it but you simply don’t want to. Thus, as this is your decision, there is no reason to be jealous.”
It is possible to radically change your life but most people do not consider this. I think that people fear the unknown and do not want to lose everything that they already achieved. Leaving behind all of their friends and their family may be the biggest challenge if you want to change your life radically. Yes, that is not easy, true. But this is just one side of the coin. On the other side, you can always meet nice people wherever you are. I have met many interesting and friendly people wherever I went. If you are open, interested and friendly, you will not have greater problems meeting new friends and people you can trust. But instead of considering bigger changes in life, most of our daily decisions will be somewhat like this: ‘I will go to my office today and do my job, I will return home after work, I will not look for a new apartment, etc.’ These are rather unconscious decisions but they nevertheless give direction to our lives: In most cases, they manage how we live in our accustomed environment. However, we should not forget that it is possible and sometimes also necessary or advisable to break out of the daily routine and do something completely different as this could lead to an overall happier life. Bottom line of this discussion: Be aware that you yourself are responsible for what happens in your life and that you are able to change it every single day. Don’t be afraid of change as it does not only entail sacrifices but it also opens up new chances and opportunities.
Now let’s have some pictures of our Scotland trip:
Initially, I also wanted to write a bit about my personal plans for the Canada trip next year. But as this blog entry is already long enough (too long?), I will write about that next time.
The following German song is about finding out and doing what you want in life and about one’s willpower and identity. Thus, it concludes the topic that was dicussed in this entry.
Böhse Onkelz – Wenn du wirklich willst