“There are people who are happy standing still, and then there are the adventurers, those with wanderlust running through their veins. There are those who are afraid to take the leap, and those who ache for new experiences, who jump right in.” – Said one too many writers.
I’m sorry, but I need to call bullshit.
I’m all for living your best life, chasing your dreams, being happier, kinder, more creative etc etc. What I’m not about is shaming people who don’t have the means or the desire to live a shiny Instagram-worthy life.
Those inspiring Instaquotes are fine and dandy. Sharing your exciting, globetrotting, world-conquering life is your right and you know we love to follow along with it. But telling people to have more courage to break free of their humdrum lives? Saying that your way is the only way? That others can only truly be Next Level Happy when they’ve got enough stamps on their passport? Nope, not okay.
This isn’t a new trend. And when I see that sort of shaming going on, I can usually chalk it up to that particular person not being for me. It’s harder to ignore and much more upsetting when it’s coming from a brilliant writer/blogger/badass who I admire and usually agree with. The writer will go nameless, but the post itself was all about how some people are too afraid to go out and explore the world. How the people who haven’t left their city just don’t understand. How she can’t stand still and wouldn’t want to if she could. How she needs to constantly roam in order to feel alive. How life in one place will never compare to the open road. And, here’s the kicker, how people who choose to stay in one place aren’t really living.
I felt betrayed, as ridiculous as that sounds. It made me question my own decisions. Why had I just bought a house and committed to one tiny, often dull little corner of the world, when there was so much to explore? Was I a fool for settling down in my twenties? Was I giving up my rights to live the type of exciting life that I’m constantly drooling over online?
No. A million times no. I recovered, and realised that her constant wandering might be right for others, but it’s not for me. And I resent being accused of being wrong for feeling otherwise.
I’m sick of being told that people with a normal, stable life aren’t really living. Or that working a 9 to 5 corporate job with *whisper it* a pension of all things, is something to be ashamed of.
Because being settled in one place doesn’t mean that you have to give up your rights to explore the world. You just have to do it in your own way.
I've felt the awe in my stomach at seeing Sleeping Beauty's castle for the first time. I've danced under the stars in Copenhagen, watched waterfalls rampage in Iceland, and got lost in Berlin. I've discovered secluded, mountain-hugging beaches, gasped at Mayan ruins, and raced through Vatican City whilst a mad taxi driver played prog metal at top volume.
Sure, I might have done that over years, for a handful of days at a time. I didn’t backpack and I sure as hell took advantage of the free wi-fi in the package holiday coach on my way to the Exciting Thing, but does that lessen my experience? Does it make it any less valid that I felt comfort and relief when I arrived home?
For those who are of the wandering persuasion: wander away. Enjoy yourselves. But respect that not everyone can or wants to have your lifestyle. For the rest of us, a little reminder:
Not everything in your life has to be a series of CAPITAL LETTER. DRAMATIC. LIFE-CHANGING. SHAREABLE. MOMENTS.
Laughing so hard your stomach hurts, cuddling in bed whilst the rain scratches the windows, dancing to pop songs with your niece in the living room; these moments are just as valuable and valid as feeling sand between your toes. They just might not get as many likes.