When people are asked about their biggest fear in life, they often answer ‘death’. Whilst I agree to a certain extent – namely that the thought of losing my loved ones does freak me out – it’s not my biggest fear. Death is inevitable, it is something neither I nor anyone else can avoid, which is precisely why I don’t fear it. Come to think of it, isn’t it contradictory that death is the one thing we are most afraid of in life?
My fears surround the things I could have and should have done during my time on this earth. Done better. Done more often. Done less. I fear that I am wasting my life.
I am well aware how dramatic this sounds, but allow me to elaborate.
I believe that life should be lived. From what I’ve heard, no one has ever laid on their deathbed thinking, “I wish I’d spent more time at work” or “I wish I’d worried more”. Life is about experiences; about loving, losing, dancing, tasting, learning, feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling. It’s about a photo album full of memories, and it does not matter whether that’s physical or mental. And on that note, it also does not matter whether your memories take place in every country in the world or just in one place.
Until a few years ago, when asked about my biggest fear, I would say, “Someone giving up on me”. The thought of not being good enough for someone was soul-crushing for me; the idea that someone slowly realised that I no longer enrich their life was an idea I could not take.
Now, my priority is no longer to enrich someone else’s life but my own. And with that, my fear has shifted. I am still afraid to not be good enough for someone, but that someone is now me.
The feeling of wasting my life has been with me for almost a year now. I feel like I’m no longer evolving. At age 16, I went to live in Australia for six months. I graduated from school, I lived in London for seven months, I got a Bachelor’s degree. Then I made my dream of moving back to London happen. And then I stopped living.
I stopped living when all I wanted from this new life abroad was to live. I had been tormented by an emotionally abusive relationship, of which I had finally broken free nine months prior, and I was determined to turn my life around. But London was nothing like I had hoped it would be. Instead my anxiety spiralled, my depression returned, and I became more isolated than ever. I don’t need to remind you of the whole Brighton/Eastbourne disaster, but all in all… this feels an awful lot like failure. Or, worse, it feels like my fear is hovering above me like a big, fat, dark cloud.
My goal had always been to move to the UK, and life never felt wasted because I was constantly ticking steps towards it off my list. But once I’d reached the end goal, all my dreams were dreamed. Fulfilled. Living in the UK is no longer new and exciting; it’s become second nature to me. This is my life now.
And when your dream becomes your reality, you have to build new dreams.
I think that’s where I’ve failed. I no longer dream. I exist, but there’s nothing I exist for. Or, to put it differently, every time I dream a new dream, I don’t know how to get there anymore. And I let it demotivate me and put me down.
So here’s a belated New Year’s resolution: I want to start dreaming again. And not only that, but I want to chase those dreams, start wandering and wondering and explore how to get there. I’d lost the capability of finding purpose in life, and I’m determined to rediscover it.
’til next time x