By Sadie Young
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantine and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” -Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath, the old broad, knew exactly what she was talking about. What is it about our generation and not being able to make real life decisions? There are endless possibilities in this time that we live, and yet we spend so much time thinking about ALL of the opportunities that we fail to choose any. And then they just wither and die like the figs on the tree.
As a society, we are crippled by the necessity of decision making. So we stay at dead end jobs in places we have no connection to, because we don’t know how to go out there and get what we want. We don’t even KNOW what we want! We post memes and laugh at jokes about “not knowing how to adult,” but it’s 100% true. Our parents made shit happen, and we-- the kind of entitled, slightly spoiled, twenty-somethings that we are-- just stand there, mouth metaphorically gaping, hoping and waiting for our lives to be Instagram and TV perfect.
We are surrounded by this false idea of perfection. If our lives aren't exactly like this person’s, then we must not be happy. We are consistently pining for lives that aren’t real: reaching out for places and things and personas that are a mere façade of real life. So what if their lives look fabulous? They still put their pants on one leg at a time (thanks Dad, for that saying). All we see is what they want the world to see. Too much time and effort is spent on looking like we’re happy and trying to fit the mold, that we lose the idea of real happiness in the mix. As long as it looks like we are having fun, that’s all that matters, right?
Because we are trying so hard to be a part of this fake world we’ve all taken part in constructing, we choose not to make decisions and figure out what amazing things are out there in the world for us to embrace. Because deep down, we’re terrified of making the wrong decision. What if, after everything I do to make this goal a reality, it’s not what I thought it would be? What if it doesn't live up to the hype?
Guess what? Then you pick your ass up, reach up into that fig tree, and choose another fruit. We’re so worried that we won’t “find” happiness, that end up we hindering our own ability to be happy! You can be happy RIGHT NOW! What is stopping you from doing something that you love? You. That’s it. Stop standing in your own way. When we can finally learn the fact that we are in charge of our lives and that mistakes are okay, then we can really start to see beautiful things happen.
(Image via stocksnap.io)