When you’re a child and you declare ‘I’m going to build a castle!’ you have no doubt in your mind, that that is exactly what you will do. In said castle there will also feature a water slide, a chocolate fountain waterfall and the entire cast of your favourite cartoon series; all dutifully pledging their allegiance to you. You are confident if not a little sassy as you swan around your house being the ultimate dictator.
When you go to school, you fill your friends in with the next instalment of what went down in the lair last night, as well as what is to come. They ask you in awe struck wonder, what you plan to do next and you tell them wisely, it is time to get a never ending bubble gum machine installed into your bedroom. They gasp as bubble gum is surely the ‘forbidden fruit’ in every household that contains parents, who would only shudder at the prospect of having to wallop you on the backside as you choke, or hall you to the hairdressers to prep you for being scalped.
As we get older we start to become more socially aware. We are met with the horrible realisation that our parents do in fact not know everything. That our metabolisms will in fact slow and that we are now responsible for booking our own trips to the: doctor, dentist and hairdresser (mothers do it so much better). More than that, we experience internal and external factors that will affect us; that will tarnish how we look at the world. Whether that comes in the form of experiencing a loved one get sick, the break-up of a relationship or to be faced with the plights of mental health.
We can still be positive people but we’ve now also become ever so slightly cynical- however you may argue that this is because you’re being ‘realistic’…but are you?
When do you think you started to become more put off by the prospect of a challenge than being invigorated by one? We as a generation are in some ways drowning in everything that is social media; we cannot get on the tube before 8 am, without having already been flooded with pictures of ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘achievement’. Do you think that as a result of these constant new uploads of pictures and status’s that your own hopes and dreams are perhaps drowning? That the constant reminders of success make you fear failure even more?
Let’s take this back to when we were children, when you declared you were going ‘to build a castle’ and you honestly believed you would. When you and the brat next door were going to have a running race and he said he was going to win and you looked at him and said ‘no I will’ with all the menacing force you could muster. Have we honestly lost that sheer determination that was ingrained into us as children? Or have we just allowed it to get immersed in all the negative noise? Why is it so often that you hear friends talk about things that they want to do, more than the things that they will do? We all have constraints stopping us from doing things immediately, whether that be a job, money or another external factor. However, more often than not those are ‘short term’ constraints. It’s not as though you are in prison and you won’t be on parole for another forty years. If anything now is the time in your life you will have so few constraints.
This mentality that we can’t do things before we’ve even tried needs to be shaken off vigorously. Look at the four guys hoping to cross the Atlantic using pedal power alone to raise awareness for mental health. Or equally Tegan Philips, who left behind a career in law to go round the world doing amazing adventures (shout out to her 10 iron mans in 25 days last November), whilst creating brilliant adventure cartoons. It doesn’t have to just be endurance if that’s what turns you off. It could be dedicating yourself to a ten-week cooking course, submitting a piece of writing for a story competition or backpacking through parts of Africa. Don’t be put off by factors that you believe are preventing you from doing or achieving something. Lose your inhibitions and start pursuing the things that you keep saying you will do, so that they become the things that you can say you’ve done.