by Niall Doherty

I’ve been out and about in Amsterdam pretty much every day and night since I got here, talking to strangers and working on my flirting skills. Sometimes I’m wandering around on my own, other times I have company.

One night I was out with a local guy who’s in a committed relationship. After seeing me approach a few groups of attractive women, he told me he was starting to wish he was single so he could do the same. I reminded him that while I had the freedom to go and flirt with all these girls, I’d likely be going home alone that night, while he’d be falling asleep snuggled up with his girlfriend.

The grass is always greener

As the saying goes, you can have everything that you want, but you can’t have it all at the same time. Many of us have this annoying tendency to never be satisfied with our lot. We get what we want, only to crave something different.

I’m no exception. Right now I’m only three weeks into my big round the world adventure, and I’m still loving every minute of it. But I’m sacrificing quite a lot to make this lifestyle a reality, and I expect that at some point I’ll begin to long for some of those things I’ve given up. Like a second pair of pants, or a steady income, or one special person to snuggle up to each night.

However, when I find such dissatisfaction arising inside of me, I’ll remind myself that I chose this life, and I have the power to choose different at any time.

Opportunity cost

A friend of mine in the U.S. works 9-to-5 and lives in her hometown. She got married a couple of years ago and became a mom soon after. In many ways, she’s following that traditional lifestyle path that every grandparent would approve of, and that many non-conformist types rail against.

But here’s the thing: My friend is one of the happiest people I know.

Sure, she can’t stuff all her belongings into a single backpack and hop on a Peruvian plane tomorrow, nor is she completely autonomous in her work. But she does have all the things that matter to her most: A nice home in her favorite city, a good job, a loving husband, and a beautiful baby boy. My guess is that she also has occasional moments of dissatisfaction, wondering what it would be like to walk barefoot in that seemingly greener grass over beyond. But when it comes down to it, she knows that she’s built her life around her highest priorities, and that the sacrifices are absolutely worth it.

So be wary of those occasional moments of dissatisfaction. It can be tempting to scrap everything you’ve been working towards and abruptly change direction, in search of that perfect lifestyle where nothing ever feels lacking.

But such a lifestyle doesn’t exist. There’s always an opportunity cost.

The important thing is that you figure out your priorities, and live in alignment with them. You choose consciously what to sacrifice, and rock on with the lifestyle that affords you.

Question: What are you sacrificing to make your current lifestyle a reality? Is it worth it?