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The fear of being ordinary: Do you know the feeling? I sure do

man on skateboard jumping


Blog |   06. Apr 2021

Anja Navadvorskaya

I believe that many of us strive to conform to our perceptions of the world. A world that is largely constructed by idealized images on social media. Images of people travelling the world, writing music, or realizing crazy inventions that fascinate us. People full of wanderlust or full of money.

In between all of these dreamy people that we come to envy; we find other people. Most often ourselves.

Our perception of our own lives becomes just… Regular. Standard. Whatever.

Sometimes I feel a little punch in the stomach when I realize that I’m not the one cliff jumping in Bora Bora, nor inventing new extensions for high-tech software solutions

Sometimes I feel a little punch in the stomach when I realize that I’m not the one cliff jumping in Bora Bora, nor inventing new extensions for high-tech software solutions. I might be having a regular afternoon with a cup of noodles and way more than just one episode of Criminal Minds…

Should I then feel unsatisfied with my life? Because I didn’t do anything important?

Over the last couple of months, being in complete Covid-19 restlessness, I realized how scared I am of not becoming more than normal, not becoming great.

When I was travelling, before starting at CBS, I remember how full my life felt. I was so excited all the time. Every day was full of adventure and new experiences. Today I work at a respected marketing agency and am about to finish my bachelor’s degree, which should make me feel just as good! But somehow, it’s different.

I must admit that I probably use way too much brain capacity on dreaming about travel, music or crazy inventions that I’m so very far from inventing. For a moment I might remind myself to appreciate my life (which is great by the way), but it does not last longer than the next post I see on Instagram. And then jealousy kicks in…

Do you recognize this feeling? It even has a term: Koinophobia.

Our perception of what life should be makes normality unacceptable and basic joys are somehow not enough in the bigger picture.

How do we get rid of the fear of having a “regular” life?

For sure, all of us can enjoy a walk now and then, or a delicious breakfast on the weekends, but it’s always accompanied by an explanation: “Oh, I needed this walk, because I have to work on a major project next week” or “Oh this breakfast was just what I needed, I didn’t even have time to eat properly during the last couple of days because I’ve been so busy”.

Maybe it’s just me, but I have realized that many of us can’t just say that we stayed in bed for a whole Sunday, without having to explain it in a bigger context.

And as the legendary Carrie Bradshaw would say: It made me wonder… How do we get rid of the fear of having a “regular” life? And how do we learn to understand that the definition of regular is all in our minds?

My initial thought? Stop using social media platforms as a measurement of your success. I know this one is a little comprehensive. Nevertheless, it is so important to learn. Try to delete your Instagram or whatever your guilty pleasure is for a couple of days – as a start.

Next, I believe that we have to learn to concentrate on small goals. Those are the ones leading to big results that will remain and not only be momentary victories.

Are you still feeling restless? Get a hobby that makes you smile – even if it doesn’t contribute to career growth or profit. A hobby that makes you celebrate small accomplishments and care less about what other people do in their lives. Not possible? Use your fear of being ordinary as motivation!

After all, we are all ordinary.

portrait of woman

(Private photo: Anja Navadvorskaya)


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