This year, a few Huffington Post editors decided to take some time out and write a list of the things they’ve decided to stop stressing about. I think that’s a great idea – we often put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves to get things done and meet unrealistic standards – and making up a list of things to stop stressing about helps us to take a step back and figure out just where our priorities in life are. Sometimes it’s just good to kick back and decide, “I just don’t give a f**k about that!”
So I too have decided to make a list of the seven things I’m going to stop stressing about:
1) Finances. So I’m not making as much money as I’d like to be making at this age. But hey guess what? Having a lot of money doesn’t necessarily make your life any more fulfilling. I’m at a good place right now, I’ve got enough to keep a roof over my head and food in my pantry. If I make more money in the future, that’s great. In the meantime, I’m grateful for what I’ve got.
2) Owning a house. I have this fear within me that not owning a house means I’m majorly failing at something. I think this is due to a combination of the news constantly blaring headlines about high rental prices coupled with my sister and my mum continuously hinting that I should be saving up enough to buy my own house. I stress every time I draw on my savings to do something like travel round the world because that means I’m taking money away from a possible deposit on a future home. I feel guilty when I hear of friends buying or planning to buy a house because isn’t that what I should be doing too? Actually… no. The truth is, when I look deep down inside, I don’t care about buying a house. I don’t want to own a house. The only reason why I want to is because everyone keeps telling me I should, the status quo, the newspapers, the Modern Dream, my family. I know my family only wants me to buy a house because they think I should have some form of security in case something goes wrong, like if I get laid off my job or horribly injured. That at least I’ll have a roof over my head. But having a house isn’t necessarily a form of security – there’s all those years of mortgage to pay off first and the financial risk there is just as great as not having a house and having to pay rent. I’d rather travel and have experiences because at the moment these things are more important to me than being tied down to a piece of property that, in all honesty, I’m not feeling passionate about right now. I acknowledge that having a house in the future might be a good thing and there is good financial value out of owning your own piece of property, but I don’t think it’s a must-have for me right now. So I’m going to say right now, no, I don’t want to own a house and I don’t have any intention of owning a house in the near future.
3) What other people think. Just look at number two on my list. I was thinking about spending a small fortune and putting myself into major debt by buying a piece of property I didn’t even want because I wanted to please other people. I have to admit, I am a huge people pleaser. I say things that I don’t believe in just because I think it’s what they want to hear. For a long time, I did my hair and dressed the way I thought other people would approve of most. I am loud amongst loud people, I soften my voice and try to be as inoffensive as possible around others. I even order meals according to what I think would please the other people I’m eating with, not because I want to particularly eat that dish. But to be honest? I am beginning to find out (yeah, I know, it took me a while) that you can’t please people all the time. And that people won’t necessarily like you for acting the way you think would please them best. Because people can tell when you’re putting on a fake act. So I’m just going to try and be myself. Say what I want to say, do what I want to do, within limits of course. I’m still trying to figure out who I am which might take a while because I’ve spent so much of my life trying to be what other people want me to be. But at least it’s a start 🙂
4) Not liking some people. I always feel terrible when I don’t like someone. Like, what’s wrong with me? Everyone else seems to get along well with them. Why not me? Am I a horrible person? But not everyone gets along with everyone else. It’s okay not to like someone. Sometimes, people just rub each other the wrong way. Some people just aren’t mean to be bosom buddies from the minute they meet. And I’ve got to learn to be okay with that, and to know that it’s not something wrong with me nor with them. We just don’t jive, and that’s okay.
5) Not liking yoga. What’s wrong with me that I don’t enjoy yoga, the major exercise of choice of millions of women all over the world, not to mention supermodels and gorgeous actresses? But, no, I do not like yoga. It’s just too slow for me. I have a million other better things to do with my time. Same with pilates. I just have no patience. I might take a class or two, just to ‘try it out’ every now and then. I might even try Bikram Yoga because the idea of a yoga which just kills you with the heat sounds interesting to me (Yes, I am a sucker for pain and sweaty messes when it comes to workouts. I can’t help it – it’s only then that I feel like the workout is actually of some benefit to me.). I might do a Les Mills Body Balance class when I have the time because I might feel I need a good stretch after some major cardio and because I do know some yoga and pilates exercises will do me good in the long run in terms of flexibility and core balance. But I do not love yoga and pilates and if you ever offer me the choice, I’d take an hour of running or kickboxing over looking graceful and serene in my yoga pants any day.
6) Being sophisticated. When I was a kid, I always dreamed of being this sophisticated, elegant creature who always knew what to say and never once put a foot wrong. I tried, I honestly did try hard to be this kind of person. An Audrey Hepburn or a Grace Kelly. But to be honest, growing up, I was more hopelessly gauche than anything else, perhaps maybe because I was just trying too hard to be this sophisticated unearthly being. In other words, I wasn’t being myself. And I wasn’t giving myself enough room for the flaws, the inevitable mistakes. I still look at other people and sigh and think, wow, how sophisticated and elegant they are with their amazing manners and their gorgeous clothes that never wrinkle and their hair that always seems perfect. But no one is perfect. Because that would be boring. And rather than trying to be some unearthly air-fairy princess, I should just try to be comfortable in my own skin. Because that’s where inner elegance comes from.
7) Regrets. So I wasn’t a famous child star or I didn’t do as well as school as I should have or did as much work experience as I should have done when I was in university. Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I did to someone or drank so much or eaten so many potato chips. Whatever’s done is done, in the past, and instead of worrying so much about what could have been, it’s time to start concentrating more on what I can now do.
How about you? What are the seven things you’ve decided to stop stressing about?