I had my annual review with the bank this week, which was thrilling. I opened an ISA, which I suppose makes me a proper adult now. The teller going through the paperwork was considerably younger than me. I would guess that this was her first job out of school. Under the section for financial goals, she put my move to London in August and the trip my mother and I will be taking to Peru next year.
Like almost everyone who knows I’m moving 450 miles away to settle, her first reaction was fear. She couldn’t believe I would move away from here, not because it’s particularly great, but because it was a change.
In all the autobiographies of people I admire, none of them ever talk of staying where they were born. They all craved the bright lights of New York, London or Los Angeles. It always seems to me there are people who are aware of their mortality, who are determined to experience everything they can and those who aren’t and don’t.
I’d like to clarify that I have nothing against people who are content with their lot in life, or whose dreams are easily within grasping reach. If you’re from a small town and want nothing more than to stay there and have a family, then be my guest. As long as that is what you truly want.
There is a difference between these people and those who are simply ignorant of their surroundings and don’t think to question the choices that have been presented to them. In my book, that is unforgiveable.
Why are we so afraid to make positive changes? Negative ones tend to be thrust upon us- losing your job or a death in the family. Human beings have proved themselves to be one of the most adaptable creatures on the planet. If you can deal with bad situations, good ones should be a cakewalk.
Fear of failure is a big contributor to us not trying in the first place and it’s something I am guilty of. If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right? You worry what people will think of you if it all falls through. That it might be awkward bumping into old school friends and ex colleagues.
In the words of Sex and the City’s Samantha Jones: “Honey, if I worried about what every bitch in New York was saying about me, I’d never leave the house.”
We have to stop thinking so much about what others think of us and consider what you think of yourself. Consider some of your heroes. Writers, musicians, travellers or even people you know. Why do you admire them so much? What are they doing that you’re not? It’s time to be your own hero!
Patti Smith, singer, writer and artist, arrived in New York City in 1967 with not a single cent in her pocket. When I panic about my move to London falling through and being a disaster, I think of her. She had no money, nowhere to live and didn’t know a single person in the city. What an example she is to us all. I’m no Patti Smith but if she can do it, I can too. More importantly, so can you. Get out there and live.