You go to college, you put in the graft, it’s what you’re told you need to do. Three years of assignments, projects, group projects, idiots in group projects that ensure the USB is safely ejected.
You get a part-time job, you spend your weekends working through the hangovers of messy Saturday nights, the blur of weekends mounts as the year goes on, distinguishing nights becomes hard, distinguishing bad decisions becomes harder.
You go on your yearly holiday, a month in Thailand with the girls, you fall in love with a tanned Ozzie on Phi Phi for all of a weekend, lose your phone over too many full moon party buckets. You do a J1, 3 months in Berkeley, you get a job feeding fat yanks cholesterol infused burgers in a country club.
You finish college, start your career, with your standard commute, the same bus every day, five days a week, in and out of your dull suburban commuter town, you spend 60 minutes twice a day, head down mindlessly scrolling through social media like everyone else around you. That’s 480 hours a year, 20 full days of your life a year, spent on that commute, head down, scrolling, mindlessly. You sit in an open filament lit office floor of 30 people, only three of whom you can tolerate.
Your weekends, still blurred, except now you carry the hangover in peace, on the couch watching Netflix, some weekends you take an excursion off the couch to far off places like the cinema or the park. You buy the new car, the new phone, the pretty watches, you work out 3 times a week, you go to the personal trainer after work, the one you saw on Instagram, over priced but the progress pictures will be worth it.
Despite telling yourself that you love your job, you live for your holidays, Christmas, Easter, Summer, countdowns are endless and essential to you. ‘That’s a great job you’ve got yourself’ you’re told. The money’s great, it’s what you’ve always wanted to do, you’re great at it. Everybody says so. Days, turn into weeks, turn into months, and next thing you know you’re 45 and still on the same commute to the same filament lit office with the same dickheads you hated 20 years ago.
If it wasn’t so morbid it would almost be funny wouldn’t it? How quickly everything can get away from you, how you can become so preoccupied with the day to day running of your life you forget to live. Granted those 20 years have no doubt acquired partners, children and tonnes of happy memories but what have you really done?
See, we set goals and benchmarks and make bucket lists and tell ourselves we’re going to live life to the fullest but in reality very few of us do, some of us fight a constant struggle between life and living. The bucket list could, would and does remain forever full as long as the excuses stop you from dwindling it down, cocooned in commitments that we deem “more important”, the need for a plan, the need for structure, overturns any and all spontaneity .
This year I found myself in a position I’ve never been in before, relatively commitment free. I didn’t really grasp this until one evening I sat consoling my best friend. She was dumped right after Christmas and in a state of despair over the fact she was now 25 and as single as could be. While pacifying her panic and trying to interpret broken sentences through her angry tears, I ironically began to realise just how good we had it. Here we all were at 25 and for the first time in 5 years our whole friend group was single & had no huge responsibilities holding us down. I mean yeah we all had jobs and were firmly climbing the career ladder but there wasn’t a baby or a boyfriend between us and it hit me what an opportunity this was. Now none of us were ready or willing to drop it all, don the dreads & a bagpack and begin trekking across Nepal, but we were in a position to do a lot more with our lives and that’s where the yes year came from.
The Yes Year..
It’s the yes year, yes within reason granted, but none the less its the year of yes. It’s the year of turning the ‘I wish’ into the ‘I will’, the year of no regrets, it’s taking the opportunities over complacency and forming a habit that will mean you don’t look back in 20 years wishing you’d done it all differently. It’s the yes year. We agreed, after years of rationing the yes’s due to the commitments in our lives – college, relationships, jobs – all of which were poorly disguised excuses, that we were no longer allowed to say no to anything. So let me tell you exactly what the T&C’s of the yes year entails:
1.Yes to what serves You.
As much as the yes year is about experiences it’s about growth too, there is a fine line between being the yes person – deemed a little bit of a push over, and being the yes person – living life to the full through yes’s. I think that the yes year should seep somewhat into personal presence but shouldn’t define you. Essentially the yes’s should extend as far as they serve you and serve to counteract your excuses of opportunities past. Yes to leaving your comfort zone and setting up camp somewhere that makes you a better you.
2. Yes to the experiences.
So obviously there will be times when you’re faced with multiple yes scenarios. Ultimately we have no rule here, however if it’s within reason go for the one you’re less comfortable with. If the alternative is an isolated activity of you watching 4 hours of Gossip Girl like a couch potato you’ve absolutely got to yes the other situation. Yes to the last-minute plans, to the spontaneous activities and yes to the situations you wouldn’t normally put yourself in.
3. Yes to any and all holidays.
This one explains itself. It’s the 16th of January and I’m completely dry of holiday days for the year with 4 trips booked and a mountain to climb but.. yes.
4. Yes to what makes you happy.
Yes to any and all decisions that make you happy, yeh like limiting class A drugs and whatever I suppose that’s a given, but for however long that happiness may last is irrelevant. Do it. Stop trying to be this varnished version of yourself and do what you want, like what you really want… if it comes back to bite you, blame it on the yes year 😉
Yes to the fullest life you’ll ever live.
Yes to what serves you, serves you in the moment, serves you for a minute, serves you for months, yes to it all.
Yes till it’s a life that’s pouring out of your skin, dripping down your chin.