Raise your hand if you’ve ever been overwhelmed by feelings of uncertainty (mainly related to the future), questioned what you want to do with your life and then thrown yourself into an anxious frenzy which may or may not to lead to mass consumptions of wine, frequent heart-to-hearts with your mom and the sudden desire for an exotic vacation in which you can just go LIVE YOUR LIFE (read: spend your days on a beach, drink, have no worries, lay in the sun, get a tan, did I already mention cocktails?)
Welcome to your 20s.
I’ve been overwhelmed, I still question what I want to do with my life (kind of everyday), and am getting better about the whole anxiety thing. No comment on the wine, mom talks, or vacations…
For lack of a better analogy, life this past year has been a roller coaster. My boyfriend recently changed his career and that has provided its challenges for him, for me and for us. Having him make that big change in his life caused me to turn inward and look at my own career. In a big way, I’ve closed out the creative side of myself in hopes that my fear of following that passion and avoiding it all together would make it go away. (It didn’t.) I also asked myself (and my mom) a lot of questions – what do I really like doing? What makes me happy? Can I apply that to my job? Instead of being constructive about this process though, I was really hard on myself.
It has only been recently (are you surprised this revelation occurred during a heart-to-heart with my mom?) that I’ve decided being this hard on myself is nothing but a great recipe for making me feel absolutely terrible, and that maybe embracing the uncertainty of it all is the way to go.
This feeling was only reinforced with these powerfully simple yet so true words that magically appeared in my inbox at just the right time:
“If you’re in your 20s or even 30s, you might feel a lot of uncertainty all the time — you aren’t sure what your life purpose is, or your uncertain about what path you should take in life.
This is normal.”
I’m sure you’re intrigued, so go read the fantastic article on zen habits that prompted this whole blog post today.
Obsessing over whether or not you are doing the right thing or following the right road does nothing except keep you exactly where you’re at – which is stuck, anxious and worried. What’s even more important to know is that regardless of what your peers are posting on social media or telling you about at parties, inside we all feel this lost, hopeless, what the hell am I doing with my life feeling from time to time. As Leo Babauta states, it’s normal, and of course we don’t want to all show that side – it makes us look vulnerable and like we don’t have our ducks in a row. But we all feel it, especially in our 20s. It’s easy to forget we’re all winging it out here and that none of us have it all figured out.
The zen habits article provides a few solutions to coping with the uncertainty. And so I’d like to add my own advice to the mix – EMBRACE the uncertainty. Take it from someone who already wasted her time wallowing in it, constantly second guessing herself and wondering if she was wasting her time or doing the right thing or pursuing the correct passions. That path did nothing but give her anxiety.
Halfway through my 26th year, (which has felt like one big bundle of uncertainty) I’ve learned embracing this unclear point in my life is the most important thing I can do for myself right now. I will never get unstuck if I keep approaching my life questions in the same old ways (like avoidance). I’ve also learned that feeling like I’m in a place of not knowing does not automatically mean I’ve failed myself in any way – by embracing the unknown I’m just putting a little more trust in the process and opening myself up to potential to learn on the go.
Embracing the uncertainty, doing something outside of your comfort zone, and trusting the process may seem small at the time, but they are often the catalyst to welcoming more positive change into your life. Embrace on!