Even not changing anything is a choice.
Last winter I quit my job to become a full-time freelance life coach. As I mostly work with my clients online, I realized quite quickly after starting my own business that I’m not bound by a certain physical place and can basically work from wherever I like. And so, besides Amsterdam, last summer, I have managed to work from Greece, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Czech Republic and Slovakia — all the while exploring these countries and spending quality time with my friends and family.
I subconsciously considered this traveling experience as some kind of ‘special period’ after which I would go back to normal. Which made me ask myself: “What exactly is normal?” Is it the 9–5 routine and buying a car? Well, not for me. I don’t believe that a universal normal in fact exists. I don’t even want to define my own normal — I’ve seen how much harm normal does to some of my clients and how much work it takes for them to let the idea of normal go.
Without trying to be normal, (almost) anything is possible. And what I really wanted to realise for myself was to live and travel for some time in South-East Asia and so decided that this was the right time for me to do it.
One of the many interesting experiences for me was to share this news with the people around me. I certainly did not expect that it would trigger so many questions. I basically had to defend my decision over and over again, replying to a bunch of practical questions that were probing me as to whether I had got all the possible scenarios covered. It made me realize how problem-oriented our western culture is. How can I be sure I will have internet access everywhere? I cannot. I cannot even be sure if I will still be alive tomorrow. No one can.
In our over-protective culture, we tend to always look for potential problems. We are very much focused on physical and financial safety which is quite a paradox considering that we have the privilege of living in the wealthiest part of the world and in the safest possible environment and time in history.
And looking for bad day scenarios is what keeps us stuck in unsatisfactory situations even though our possibilities are endless.
The thing is that it’s not that I don’t see the potential problems that other people around me see. I’ve been living in our culture for long enough to be bothered by them just as everyone else. But for me, it’s scarier if something amazing does NOT happen rather than something bad that COULD happen. And yes, there are hundreds of reasons not to do something, but how valid are they really? What is the price that people pay for their fake sercurity?
I think the important part in making a decision is to realize that even by not doing something we are saying NO to the possibilities the change could bring us.
Before deciding about making a change, I usually ask myself these questions:
- Are there any unbeatable obstacles in the way of doing this? If yes, are they truly unbeatable or is it me choosing not to make the effort to beat them?
- What will I lose if I do this and what will I lose if I don’t?
- Will there be a more convenient time to do this in the future?
You don’t always have to decide to make the change. You don’t always need to strive for change — what is important is to realize that you are always making a choice, even if you chose to stay where you are.
There is nothing wrong with creating the best possible life for yourself. After all, the more content we are with our lives, the more we can offer others. And wanting to make a change in your life does not make you ungrateful for what you already have.