“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree…
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
In this day and age there are so many options, an endless array of possible outcomes with equally rewarding journeys. So how do you choose? Can you really have it all? What does that even mean? There was a time when I wasn’t sure where life would take me and I thought that if I hung on for the ride it’d take me to remarkable places, but I soon found out that you end up going no where when you hesitate to choose, when you leave the choice to fate.
Because nothing happens. You’ll revisit your choices in a few months and because there are so many beautiful options still you feel overwhelmed at the possibility of them all. You tell yourself you’ll choose later. The cycle repeats. You grow older and slowly the options turn into regrets.
For me, the choice was to travel. I had always felt like traveling was too expensive, that I needed a high paying job if I was going to travel, but that the high paying job would rob me of my freedom, sanity, and creativity. So I didn’t choose, I waited to see what would happen and I was surprised by nothing.
When the cycle started up again, I made a choice. I have always wanted to see the world but I realized I don’t have to see it from a five star high rise window to enjoy the view. Making this decision to travel lightly on a budget has been the greatest decision I ever made. Not only have I been able to explore the world from arguably the most prolific perspective, but I am also able to wake up every day and do the job that I love. My only regret is that I didn’t take the leap sooner.
It’s a human instinct to fear the unknown, failure, and an uncomfortable lifestyle. But you will never know the purest joys of life if you sit around wondering what to do on a big comfy couch. It doesn’t have to be budget traveling, it could be applying for the higher paying job with more responsibilities, it could be moving to a city that better suits your interests, it could be downsizing your lifestyle, or pursuing your art, or deciding to have children, or whatever! The longer you wait to decide on what is the best, most rewarding path, the closer you get to losing the option entirely.