Or are you laying the foundation for a better you?
Are you actually “doing nothing” or are you at the brink of an absolute break through?
We have this misguided notion that in order to be doing well we must be in a constant mode of success; that we have to keep a sparkling life propped up by a solid direction and perfectly posed Instagram shots. But what about those moments in-between? What happens when plans fall through and life feels like it’s in constant flux?
After I checked “get a degree” off my life’s to-do list, I experienced the dreaded post-grad slump. I and so many others often model our early adulthood after an idealistic, neat little template: finish high school, go to college, score yourself a big-kid job and find some nice person to get a dog with.
But anyone who’s chosen this “mapped-out” route knows it’s far from cut and dry. We enter college starry-eyed, drunk off new freedom and cheap beer. A semester or three might breeze by. It’s easy not to worry when graduation isn’t even a blip on the horizon! But, eventually, you might find out your four-year plan is actually shaping up to look more like five years. Or maybe you find out that anthropology really isn’t your life’s one passion. For the first time you get a taste of life’s tendency to completely muddle up your expectations.
After graduation, I was stuck in a maddening cycle of applying, interviewing and inevitably not landing jobs. Disheartening is a mild way to describe my first year out of college. It felt like I was the only one struggling to get a grip. I watched as people I graduated with scored awesome jobs. Under heavy financial stress I finally did what I swore I’d never do; tail between my legs, I moved back in with my parents.
Any deviation from your expectations has the potential to knock you off balance and leave you feeling lost. When you’re not exactly where you thought you’d be at any given milestone it can feel like failure. Especially when other people your age seem to have it all together. But here’s the thing… Even if that were true, which believe me no one actually has it 100% together, none of that matters as long as you keep moving forward.
Growth happens right on time. It’s a lesson I still have to remind myself from time to time. If you’re too occupied with what other people are doing, you’ll neglect your own path. It can be excruciating to focus on the here and now when you’re not where you want to be. But sulking in your discontent isn’t going to move you forward an inch. As difficult as it is, you have to be your own biggest motivator. Think of your goals as already accomplished. Realize that each step you take, as seemingly small as it may be, is moving you closer and closer to your destination. And most importantly please, please realize that you are not late or unworthy just because you’re not exactly where you want to be quite yet.
Give yourself the credit you deserve. I get it. You’re tired and want something to show for it. Patience, my love. You’ll get there. But look around you. What can you be grateful for right now that you accomplished since last year? Are you going to therapy to get a handle on your anxiety? Awesome, I’m so proud! Do you have less debt? Hell yeah, that’s amazing! Maybe you kept a house plant alive for the first time! Brava, may many more follow! Those little victories count. And they move us closer to the person we hope to be, inch by inch.
Even though I’m not exactly where I want to be, I am beyond proud of myself. I’ve been riding through a season of ups and downs. But instead of dwelling in the realm of what-could-have-beens and what-should-already-be’s, I’m learning to lean into where I’m at. That’s not something I could’ve said a few years back. And turns out, moving home was truly the best decisions I could’ve made for myself.
With a change in perspective our so called short-comings can become a platform to a new beginning. Embrace your now. Don’t tear yourself apart and ignore all the growing you’ve done. Bad days will come but always hold on to this fact: As long as you get back up and keep on trying, you are winning.
So tell me, are you really doing nothing with your life, or are you setting yourself up for the totally badass, abundant life you’ve always dreamed of?