This is a guest post written by Ksenia from The Life Degree.
Perhaps you’re reading this after a nice start to the day...
Sun shining, coffee in hand, to-do list successfully broken into. Or perhaps not, because let’s face it, adult life can be hard. For many, health, financial security and domestic stability are serious struggles.
But if, like me, you are fortunate to be securely employed and healthy, an altogether different problem can arise: the fear of falling behind.
Not having the jobs we want, the possessions we see others buying, the quality relationships we crave and the experiences which we think will let us live life to the full.
In some form, the fear of not fulfilling our potential is immense. Trips we haven’t been on, jobs we haven’t landed, jeans we don’t fit into or friends we don’t see anymore.
Simultaneously, we carry both the weight of exhaustion and underachievement, wondering “why me?” or “what’s the point?". Waiting for the feeling to pass, we remedy it all with ready meals and box sets or head out for nights of drinks. When the feeling recedes, we can carry on as if it never happened - until the next cycle.
Yet truth be told, what we have in our lives is infinitely so much more than so many others ever get.
Despite 24/7 news feeds, we forget as quickly as we’re reminded. Did you know that globally, half the population lives on less than £2 a day? Earning £20,000 a year puts you in the top 5% of richest people in the world! Here in the UK, food banks gave out over a million rations of emergency three day supplies last year. And if you think about it, you could probably count a number of people facing greater hardships to you in nearby streets - perhaps fighting illness, loneliness or the cold.
Recently, during a bout of feeling unmotivated, I happened to run past a school. It was lunchtime; children were running and playing - energetic, carefree. It struck me: we were all little once, with so few worries and so many options. When did we build all the barriers we see surrounding us?
When did we start thinking so much more than doing?
Or doing without thinking at all, sat at home, staring into Facebook? Like many of you, I got to the chance to start life at school, squealing in the playground, learning new things, going back to a warm home and a caring family. If I can have that whilst living in a city where an estimated 70,000 children go to bed hungry each night, I can do anything: solve problems, have fun, help others.
If I stop complaining for merely a second, I might just see the the power I have to do something about it and not give up my privilege to do so entirely.
We judge ourselves on our intentions, but we are judged on our actions. Today is your chance to act.
It’s no use staying home, feeling all like meh, I’ll never be great. Done with allowing the opportunities to lead a fulfilling life pass us by, I have founded The Not Such a Bad Day campaign - I want all of you to be part of it.
The idea is simple: seize an opportunity you have to give those that don’t the same chance. My chosen cause rotates; right now I’m working with War Child, a charity helping children facing the consequences of brutal conflicts they have no control over. Donate £2 and make a pledge to do something you can - even if it’s just to call your nan or text a friend.
Or you could send an email asking about that new project at work, go to boot camp, join the library, book a flight somewhere new, try out that interesting dinner recipe or simply walk to the park on your lunchbreak. If you want to be more ambitious, go for it - climb Everest (OK, realistically, maybe Snowdon first).
We worry about missing out - this is our chance to make a difference. You can spread positivity. You can inspire others to do the same. You can help War Child give children the very same chance.
So - are you going to take action today?
Ksenia is founder of The Life Degree, where she blogs about things we find ourselves learning beyond school. She hopes The Life Degree will help people ask themselves more questions about who they are, what they want to achieve and prompt them to start doing more of it. Her vision in life is simple: "Be good, do good."