It’s Friday, 5:30 pm, and you’re blowing through your last folder of emails to answer. You’re about to cash the paycheck, head conveniently down the highway and a few turns later to your barber. Nothing makes for a better weekend welcome than a clean fade to complement your pocket full of cash to blow.
But today, you favor the idea of taking an alternate route to the barber from the bank. It strikes you that going down Fifth Avenue rather than Main Street and making the third left may save you time from the traffic of the two yield lights that are always problematically congested.
Your perfect lineup, and Friday night happy hour, awaits you. But a few things cross your mind briefly at the light where two roads diverge in a yellow wood: The alternate route quickly flashes in a moment of stillness in your head as you picture taking it in contrast to your usual course.
Mapping the streetlights out, you contemplate the traffic of the industrial district and mentally scan for any construction you recall.
Naturally, in that instant, it’d be much easier for you to have just taken the routine path you usually do -- no surprises, nothing that would overwhelm you to a catastrophic demise (rocking overgrown locks for the weekend). In essence, taking the usual route means there will be nothing to plague you from your orderly norm; it’s a safer promise to an expected result.
But this is a problem.
Our generation is at odds with a war that is seemingly more powerful than us. Not only are we prone to needing instant gratification, we are also stuck in a generation where we recognize the conflict of demand for immediate fulfillment as real.
With that said, living in constant fear of leaving our comfort zones, to only chase swift relief without paying attention to possibilities for growth in other avenues is becoming a serious epidemic to the most able of us all.
Those with dreams, a springboard of potential and hidden will for discipline to carry out said possibilities are falling weak to comfort.
We resolve with seven fears we can all do without in our 20s, a few things that might be worthwhile for us to leave behind:
1. Fear of Missing Out
This is a common fear, one that I can assure you is empty. To better explain, curiosity for the unknown is always warranted in life. It is a natural human behavior to be curious about the things we do not know -- this is what will guide us to explore and grow.
However, when you are home with your own agenda (e.g., finishing your reading, paying your bills or setting up the new photo blog you’ve been waiting to publish) and you set these things aside for reasons that downplay your truest potential, you are cheating yourself of something priceless.
You will instinctively know when things need to be done and that things should not be sacrificed for the rave going on in the city or the bars downtown. We all have this guilt that tells us we should be doing one thing when we choose to do another.
We may even choose to justify it by announcing it on Facebook or Twitter to receive likes and lighthearted comments that perhaps make us feel more at ease about being "out studying the babes instead of studying for a midterm." Don’t be a fool. Attend to the things you need to do in order to grow a better you.
2. Fear of Not Being Invited to the Party
This rides along fear number one’s coattail. If you weren’t invited, it’s because the universe is telling you that you’ve got more valuable things to be doing with your time than schmoozing aimlessly and getting sh*tfaced.
Save that expensive suit or bodycon dress for another occasion; do something in the meantime that will get you one step closer to wearing it at a party thrown for you and your accomplishments.
3. Fear That We Don’t Compare
Stalking social media outlets often heightens this fear. Needless to say, the lives of others don’t compare to your own. Everyone’s journey is different and largely unknown to us. We know as much as a blink of an eye will reveal about someone else’s life, as much time as taking a look at a photo will share.
We are taught that with photos, we select the ones where smiles are fresh and forward -- the good is often highlighted. As for your own life, don’t forget that sometimes the most beautiful lessons in life stem from the unconventional. The elevated focus on showing everyone how much of a superstar you are on social media is quite unnecessary.
A rose that grows from the dirt isn’t as unique as one that sprouts from concrete. It is necessary to recognize that everyone’s individual growth and decisions are different, so do what feels right to you. Focus instead your own heart’s deepest aspirations and stay true to it.
Wishing you had what someone else does will stray you from your actual goals. Remember, studying what others do too often may result in duplicating, dulling your own shine.
4. Fear of the Unknown, or What the Future Holds
As explained, the greatest harm we can do to ourselves is to not take the chance. It is as the saying goes: Fear is momentary and temporary, and regret will last a lifetime.
Temporary stress is good, so long as it can be overcome. In the case of mini triumphs, far more is gained than lost.
5. Fear of Being Lonely
Ah, the fear that we won’t have anyone to call our own... Perhaps the greater challenge here is for us to work towards not needing to hoard someone as an item of security for ourselves.
An amazing and lasting, priceless gratification is to be self-fulfilled. A simple analogy that can be applied here is as such: When you’ve done very well for yourself, you have more to give. In the end, a full glass can feed more than a partially full glass.
6. Fear of Rejection
Remember how you were alive and well for almost two decades before applying to your once-thought-of-as-a-dream-college? If you didn’t make it into the college, chances are, you are still alive and well. Newer, bigger objectives are in store for you.
7. Fear of Getting Hurt
If this isn’t one of the biggest fears for today’s generation, I don’t know what is. If it isn’t blasted enough in our music, movies, television, and Instagram memes, a mishap in relationships is one of our greatest fears (the romantic relationship being the center of the target in this case).
Perhaps in our generation of self-promotion, egos yield a delicate tiptoe around the subject of getting hurt or being disappointed. However, we need to recognize that this fear should not paralyze us from feeling, living and loving.
If you are forthright in your own heart’s honest intent to love, you have nothing to worry about. Be bold, go forward, and love like hell.
In the end, when it is all said and done, you would have given it your all and done it with integrity. There is nothing humiliating about getting hurt when that has been your truth all along.
So remember, when two roads diverge in a yellow wood, choose either and don't look back.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr