In a fit of enthusiasm for the good weather, I went for a run yesterday and saw this graffiti scrawled on the pavement in massive white letters: "I wish I had as choice".
It made me stop and stare for a moment before I kept on running, but it stayed with me. (For anyone wanting to check it out it's in St Werburghs, the footpath that leads from Ashley Down to the allotments - you can cheer yourself up after with a walk around the city farm if you like). I wish I had a choice . . .
Now I'm assuming this has something to do with Brexit. I don't know what it's like where you are, but certainly in my community and my bubble that is Bristol, Brexit caused massive shockwaves leaving people feeling lost, betrayed and anxious. I read that 75% of 18 - 24 years voted in the referendum, and that a huge majority voted to remain. I can understand why our young people perhaps are feeling isolated, abandoned and hopeless right now.
The thing is though - we always have a choice. It might feel like a choice between a rock and a hard place sometimes, but there is always a choice. The choice is in your mind, how you respond to a situation, your point of view, and the stories you tell yourself about your situation. We're pretty good story-tellers, most of us, although we may not realise it. We tell ourselves stories all the time. Stories about how life is, what we're capable of (or not), what is possible (and isn't). Marketing campaigns feed these stories by capitalising on our fears that getting older is to avoided, that putting on a little weight is akin to getting sick, that change is terrifying, and most of all, that classic that never fails - that we're never good enough, no better how much we do. It's really easy to start to feel like all of this is true because it's not just in your head, it's on billboard and Facebook ads and magazines around you.
We live in a time of overwhelming amounts of information. Learning to discern and sift through through all of it is an art most of us are still learning. But how it would be feel to take a step back from all that information? To take a moment to consider whether your beliefs about yourself and the world are being fed by what you read and who you talk to? How would it feel to tear up those stories and write some new ones? And how it would feel if, in those new stories, .you believed that the best was yet to come?
The truth is, none of us know what is going to happen next. Brexit was a reminder for many of us just how out of control we are. But we are in control of our mindset. If you feel trapped in a cycle of negativity, could you try changing the way you think about things? Sometimes we actually make to make changes in our lives to be happier, but so often, we just need to find another point of view.
Henry Ford once said, "Whether you think you can or you can't - you're right". Whoever wrote that graffiti - I hope they can find their way to realising that they do have a choice. The choice is always there. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts.