Autumn, or as the Americans nicely put it, Fall, is here. I’m usually not a big fan of this season, because of the change in weather and it getting cold again. Going out becomes subject to the weather once again. However this year, I am looking at it in a more philosophical way. I know that this has nothing to do with travel, but bear with me, I will get there 🙂
Fall is a time when leaves start to fall from the trees. The trees shed their ‘skins’ to prepare for what’s to come and grow new ones in the coming seasons. And this made me think. What if Fall is also meant for us to do the same thing? What if we are meant to look at our own lives, see what needs to change, for us to become stronger, and just do it?
Incidentally, I saw one of the famous Ted talks recently, and the speaker was discussing how girls are raised to aim for perfection, and boys are raised to be courageous and adventurous. And that is definitely having an impact on how we are facing life. Where boys are applying for jobs when they have only 60% of the qualifications required, us girls are only applying if we have 100% of the qualification. Why? Because we are afraid to fail. We are afraid to fall down and not be perfect. And we are damn missing so much from life.
A very good friend of mine (who happens to be a guy), once told me: ‘You better fall, and get up again. It’s life. Because once you have fallen, it gets better, because you have learned and gained a new experience.’ And this is something that we have to remember every day of our lives. If the leaves do not fall, the tree cannot grow new ones and it won’t look its best in Spring. Same thing with us. If we never fail and fall in life, we will never learn and become better people.
Being a girl who suffers from anxiety, this is something that I must repeat to myself over and over again. It’s okay to not succeed in everything. It’s okay to not have a grand plan for life. It’s okay to fall and get up again once in a while. As that Ted talk taught me, this struggle is something that we have been raised with as women, because our mothers have been raised that way. And thinking about it, you can see the difference between us women and men. Why do we struggle so much with our bodies, when men are being told that having a Dad bod is more than okay? Why do we spend hours and a good fortune on clothes and makeup, just to look perfect, when guys just put on a shirt and they look fine? Because we want to be perfect. Now, I’m not saying that only women suffer from this. There are men who struggle with this as well, and spend ages in front of the mirror before going out, making sure that they look perfect. But I feel that the pressure from society on us women, is so much greater.
And this pressure is also felt when we travel. Why? Because when going on trips, we continue with our life, with our thoughts and with our insecurities. Even when we are on holiday, we still have to struggle. And that is making us lose so much. So why bother about not looking cool enough (me during every festival)? Why bother about being too short and that you’re going to, ironically, stand out (me every time I’m in the Netherlands, read this to get the picture 😉)? Why bother about not being skinny enough (me every time I’m on a beach trip)? People are different, and that’s what makes us special. Because you know what? Being you is enough. Looking the way you do is perfect, and anyone looking at you is not thinking how strange you look. Instead, they are looking at your smile and how your eyes light up when you’re hearing a particular song or when you’re looking at the most amazing sunset.
So my advice to you (and very much to me!) is to enjoy every minute of your life without worrying about how you look, what the future holds, whether you will succeed or fail. Just live the present, and do whatever you feel like doing. Children (or should I say boys?) are encouraged to climb on monkey bars and do anything adventurous in a playground. Why shouldn’t we do that in our adult life? Why should we worry about how we look when we’re on holiday, instead of enjoying every single minute of the trip? Why should we give up on our life long dream, because people will talk about us if we fail? Here’s the good news, we shouldn’t.
So the universe has given us a chance now. Together with the trees, we can shed anything that we don’t like, not being afraid to do it, and just live freely. Living a life which is free of any expectations will be liberating, both for you and also for the people around you. They will get to see the real you, shining through.
‘What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?’ – Erin Hanson