Someone rather unpleasant once told me that I enjoyed being unhappy. And while I knew that he was an insensitive git, his comment hit at something which continued to bother me. At that point in my life I myself knew that I was often unnecessarily unhappy. I had many highs but and equal number of lows. And I’ve realised that it wasn’t that I enjoyed being unhappy, but that I was too afraid to be happy. Fear was holding me back.
I was so afraid of the lows that might follow that I often dampened my highs. I would hold back, I would say what if, and I shouldn’t. I held back for fear of enjoyment being followed by guilt, regret or a fall of some kind. This kind of thinking seems to be especially common in our society of dreamers. We’ve been raised to have such high expectations and goals (which I think is great), but this means that we find it hard to live in the moment for fear that we are not following the right path.
In March I was scared to apply for a job that I wanted. It was a job I had wanted since I first travelled round Europe, and encountered tour guides not much older than myself. They were confident, intelligent, and fun. For years after they stuck in my mind, and I knew that I wanted a shot at doing their job. Finally, I felt experienced enough to apply to Fat Tire Bike Tours, but I almost didn’t put myself forward. I was afraid that I would be told I wasn’t good enough. I was afraid that, if given the opportunity, I would find myself not good enough. And I was afraid of what I might be leaving behind in Glasgow. What chances, with people, with other careers might I be giving up?
Yet here I am back in Paris for what is sure to be an incredible summer. Once I stepped back from the situation, and took fear out of the equation, the problems disappeared, and it was clear that I had to go for this. I looked at the facts: I loved Paris (the previous year spent there had been the best of my life so far); I wanted to try my hand at being a tour guide for a summer; I wanted to improve my French. There was a chance that I was passing up on things in Glasgow, but only a chance. If they were meant to be I would find them again.
Good decision. Hard decision. But right decision. The buzz of this city and all the new people I’ve met already and the skills I’ve learned make me happy. And it was scary to move again, not really having any friends out here – and not knowing what to expect – work, finding a place to live and friends. But I’m doing it- I’m jumping in and only worrying about what is really necessary.
I’m bartering at markets, buying strange cheese, learning new skills at work, going out with people I barely know, forming friendships with people I cannot always understand (they speak French so fast!) Anyhoo, it’s cheesin marvellous – so basically – jump in people. Think about it a bit sure, but don’t let fear hold you back in life- I don’t mean you have to go all Bear Grylls – just go and enjoy. And don’t feel bad for it.
A tout! Bisous.
P.S. I will be writing some more informative articles on Paris soon – I just needed to let out some philosophical fervour first.