The ups and downs of a six-month attention span
One of the most defining characteristics of Gen Y is its short attention span. We’re a generation that’s been raised with instant gratification, ever-faster and ever-better technology and an obsession with multi-tasking.
I’m certainly no exception. I have an infamously short attention span and inability to focus on any one thing for too long. I can’t watch a movie at home without flipping open my Macbook. I can’t take a tram ride without a book, an iPod and my phone to keep me busy. I usually “stick it out” at a job, in a relationship, in an apartment for about six months before I quit or start actively researching other options.
With that said, I’m coming up on nearly nine months in Australia, eight months in Melbourne and seven months in the same job. I’m practically breaking at the seams, ready to move on to something new. My six-month attention span–my plan for “slow travel” around the world–has led to an awesome lifestyle, but it’s not without its drawbacks.
- Always ready to try new things: Whenever I get sick of one thing, I’m ready to move onto the next: whether that’s a different class at the gym (yoga, spinning, kickboxing, boot camp–I’ve tried it all!) or the country I live in. Being open to trying something new (even when I have no idea what I’m getting myself into) has led to stand-up paddle boarding, paragliding, moving to Australia.
- Flexibility and variety: Adapting to life in a different country or in a second language takes determination and patience. You have to accept that your way is not the only way, and that often, your way is simply not a possibility. Changing jobs and apartments means that you’re always adopting new skills, interacting with new people and adjusting yourself accordingly.
- A lack of passion: I envy people who have discovered their “thing”–a hobby, a career, a love that makes them want to wake up in the morning. I love travel and I love writing, but I’m still not sure if I’ve discovered my perfect niche. I fear that loving travel means never being quite satisfied–there’s always somewhere else to see, something else to experience.
- Never an expert: I’ve always picked up board sports quickly–the highlight of my wakeboarding attempts is standing up on my very first try (I fell every subsequent try). I love snowboarding, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding–but because I’ve never invested the time, effort and money into buying my own equipment and actually practicing consistently, I’ve never gotten very good. The same goes for public relations, social media, even traveling–by never doing the same thing twice, I’ll never be an expert.
- Not reaping the rewards: It takes a bit of time to establish a routine that works, whether it’s sorting out the most efficient commute or finally feeling comfortable in a friendship. By the time I finally start to fit in, it’s usually time to leave–which makes goodbye all the more bittersweet.