stress & feeling the need to have it all figured out
We have all felt it: stress. Once you hit a certain age that little voice inside your head reminds you that you should have your life together by now and it just gets louder and louder with time. You are an “adult”. Are all your ducks in a row? All your eggs in the appropriate baskets? By now you should be a fully functioning human with one of those things that people in the real world have: a life.
Yeah, we all know that feeling of impending failure. The little nag of the need to be on the right path. School alone can cause anxiety beyond comprehension. Imagine that dreadful feeling you get when you are at Thanksgiving and your nosey relative starts the annual interrogation: “So, dearie, what’s your major? What do you plan on doing with your degree after you graduate? Are you working hard or hardly working? You’ve got to make sure you put some time aside to study instead of partying 24/7.”
We get it. How about that nasty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think of what’s riding on your success? Maybe you are the first person in your family to be going to college. Or maybe you are part of a family that has all gone to college, and now you have a closet full of gigantic shoes to fill. The more you think of it, the more it grows into this huge ball of stress and soon you are convinced you are going to fail.
Perhaps even more relevant is the fact that your Facebook feed and Instagram homepage are both filled with endless scrolls of proposal announcements and pictures of sonograms. Everyone around you is getting married, having kids, and getting their dream jobs. Are you the only one that hasn’t settled down or created a home? Those shiny rings and cute baby pictures are lovely to look at but can be a passive reminder of how far behind you are in what is socially accepted as your timeline in life. But more on the wedding rings and babies in another post…
Needless to continue, the pressure is building up to an insurmountable height at this age, whether it is at 18, 21, or 25. Even worse, we all suffer through it silently, believing that we are the only ones who feel this miserable.
But you are not alone, my friend. Time and time again I have felt all of life’s pressures and expectations and I almost feel like an expert on this subject now. Whether you fall into one of the situations above, or you are lucky enough to be stress free, I hope this post will help you keep peace of mind. So, here are three bits of advice that I have gathered from my experiences to help you deal with all the stress:
1. Age is just a number
You have so much more time than you think. Just because you are 24 and still a junior at university (like me) doesn't mean anything! You don’t need to play by the rules, and you most certainly don’t need to rush into anything. Smell the roses as long as you want. Sure, life is short but it doesn’t mean you need to rush through it without enjoying anything!
2. Don’t be afraid to fail
Take risks! Take lots of them. Every time you play it safe you are missing an opportunity. Don’t be afraid to fail, and more importantly, don’t care what others think of you if you do fail! You will be learning and living life while they watch and judge you. Go ahead and change your major a thousand times! Apply for that dream job you have had your eye on. And most certainly ask that hot guy for his number. Do it.
3. Be yourself and do it with pride
Here is where I get all cliché. I know we have all heard it before, life is short and you only live once (cringe… did I just use a ‘YOLO’ on my first post?). Don’t waste that short amount of time being ashamed of who you are or where you’re at in your life. It’s your life and you deserve to be happy. You should be doing just that. Forget the social constrictions on your life and strive for happiness! In the long run you will live a fuller, longer life that you will look back and be proud of.