Have you ever clicked a button, to then learn that it was one of the best decisions you could ever make?
It took me a while to get there, but in May 2015 I made my own big decision. At the time, I had no idea whether it was the right one. It was filled with risk. But within seconds of clicking, it felt good. I am curious what power we choose to give ourselves’ and the choices we deny ourselves’ too.
It took some saving and a lot of luck, but I booked a [one-way] ticket to Buenos Aires. I had long pondered whether I was ever brave enough to take the step. I bored friends’ silly talking about the idea of taking time off from work, but crucially, from London and the day-to-day grind. With a simple click of a button after a boring May-Bank Holiday weekend, I was all set. Or was I?
Like one of Lucian Freud’s pale character studies, and not very productive, I had become a shell of myself. I was portly, not amazingly full of confidence and two years out of a relationship [although still in a civil partnership], I was not very enjoyably single.
In sum, I had reached a personal milestone of sorts. I reached the stage in my life and career where I felt – cliché alert – that I needed to recharge my batteries. I kept on making the same old mistakes in my personal life and then complaining about them, as if I was powerless to do anything about what life had served up. I was losing perspective on many of the things that were important or beneficial to me. Essentially, I was becoming a hamster on London’s giant hamster wheel. Yes, what a terrible cliché indeed!
My daily routine invariably saw me waking up tired after getting too little sleep the night before, grabbing calorific, last-minute snacks on the way to work; and then staying late at work to compensate for arriving there late in the first place.
Getting grouchy, tired and pasty, by the early afternoon I would grab something sugary to give a shock to my blood sugar levels around three in the afternoon, and finally arrive home around nine in the evening, just about energetic enough to ring the local Chinese or Indian take-away and turn on an episode of ‘Made in Chelsea’ or ‘The Apprentice’. I was not ageing well. In fact, if I carried on in the same fashion, I feel quite sure my health would have started to deteriorate.
My doughy mind meant I rarely committed myself to the intellectual and creative pursuits I knew – deep down – I was capable but lacked the confidence to partake in. I had a nascent desire for travel, not for a two-week holiday here or a long weekend there, but to be away for a long time.
My job was satisfying, both intellectually and financially and it gave me a status of sorts. But I am not sure, never have been and probably never will be that I am meant to be a Manager. It is a job I can do. However, I yearned to express another part of my personality.
The role of the diligent professional is the role I was most comfortable to inhabit, and referencing one of my favourite social psychologists, Erving Goffman, the part of the play I was used to performing over-and-over. I knew all the lines and delivered the script.
I was amused but also perturbed by how many times I seemed to have the same recurring dream of missing a flight. I don’t need to read (Sigmund) Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams to know what that was about.
I was essentially going through the motions. I was thirty-three years’ old. But then, I clicked a button. I thought “to hell with the consequences” and defied type. And ~ in the main ~ I have not since looked back.
It has not all been plain sailing. Certainly not. I repeated some fundamental mistakes. But this section of this website is about all of us sharing content on what steps we can to seize control of our lives’, act in our authentic interest and to live a life with no regrets.
Have you ever had a moment where you just ‘clicked a button’? What did this mean for you? Have things (mostly) worked out? Send me your thoughts and reflections. Obviously many things can get in the way. The barriers can feel insurmountable.
But I am interested to hear how you have maybe erected some of these barriers for yourself and what steps you have taken, if so, to remove them? Maybe this came at a cost too. I look forward to hearing how we can build a life with fewer regrets but with fewer adverse consequences for others we love and who love us too.
Do leave your thoughts and suggestions and if you are keen, permission for me to use a first name, and I will blog next time on what I learn.