If being anxious about the future was a sport, I would be winning like Serena Williams, slamming my motivation through the tennis court with all my fury.
I have wasted countless hours on my bed, puzzling my head with questions that have no real answers to them, like: ‘What am I doing with my life?’, or ‘Is it worth it?’.
It’s not a big deal and it’s no big truth. When you finally shut your school books for good and you adventure to the big world of adulting, you realise that – holy crap, what is it even out there for me? How do I find the Sims crack code for money, happiness and success?
The problem is that there is way too much out there. There are never ending university degrees, underpaid part-time jobs at cafés and in retail, work experience that it’s more like being glued to the photocopier and the coffee shop for that extra hot latte for your lazy boss; but there are also picturesque videos of young people travelling and getting sponsored to do it, and you watching them on a Friday night, hugging the ice cream tub; it’s stalking your high school work updates on Facebook and feeling disheartened looking at your bank account.
We are jealous, we feel hopeless. We feel that getting to the 30s, the years when you’re meant to have it all figured out, is like your first exam in high school. So far, yet so terrifying.
We feel paralised at the thought of having wasted time; and it drills inside our brains even when we are out with friends, enjoying life as it comes, like a 20-year-old should; yet we can’t help waking up with that drowsy feeling that things should be different.
Things should go differently because we deserve success, we deserve to feel happy about our lives; we deserve to land that graduate job and we deserve to get lost through the streets of an Indian village with a heavy backpack on our shoulders.
Then if we know that we deserve the best, what is there to stop us?
THIS IS HOW YOU DO IT.
How are you?
Before you get caught up in a self-pity maze, where you spiral down a black hole like Alice In Wonderland; find a moment of stillness where your mind is still grasping at those bits of lucidity and clarity.
Now ask yourself. What is going on in my mind right now?
That’s a multi-million dollar question, I know, but how many times have you actually tried to stop at any moment and really look through the layers of insecurity, stress, lack of sleep and poor dietary choices (and drunken nights) and understood what was underneath all of these doubt?
Not often, I bet. The younger we are, the more we feel invincible because the world is our oyster and as we haven’t been touched by the cinism and the unfortunate happenings that do not touch our privileged and flawless lives, we don’t have any idea on how to be self-aware and how to tune in with ourselves. These things can only picked up later, after stumbling onto your 20s like a drunk deer.
We assume, judge and sweep our problems under our childhood beds, because we mistakenly think that the mess that we make with our lives can be picked up later, like the dirty laundry that we kindly shove into our mum’s washing machine as if it was a dirty body to dispose of.
But you need to sit down and ask yourself this important question, because sooner or later, you will be facing a huge obstacle and it will take a lot of your mental strength to overcome it. It may be a new job, or a new hobby, or breaking up with your partner; either way, a major decision calls for emotional clarity.
Sometimes we feel terrified and anxious about the things we love and strive for the most simply because our headspace is clouded with judgments, negativity and chaos that can be attributed to many things.
We react aggressively to people’s opinions on us and we touch our hair when we feel shame rising inside of us – the body shows what the mind can’t.
But you are the master of the ship. You lead the way out of this foggy, depressing shitstorm.
Dealing with your emotions and understanding when you’re clouded by their weight, it is important in having your eyes set on the prize.
Speaking of those eyes…have them glued to the prize.
Everybody wanted to be millionaire before they turned 30 a couple of years ago.
Now, everybody wants to be a millionaire before they are 25, be the founder of successful social start-up and travel the world, getting paid for vlogging and being recognised as a “media influencer”.
Expectations have never been higher since the last Harry Potter book came out.
Young people today are born into an era of stagnating economy, where the horizon is fogged by rising unemployment rates, little job opportunities and the 1% squeezing as much wealth as they possibly can to put into their frozen, expensive mojitos.
Some would say, ‘we’re fucked’. I’d say ‘things could be better, but it’s just a matter of focus’.
I know that it’s harder than it sounds, but if you surround yourself with negative people who have no direction, nor they know what they are doing with their life; then you will tend to gravitate towards them. Newton forgot to include it into his laws, but consider it as the most important fact you will ever come to understand.
The people you surround yourself with, the objects that you buy and the experiences that you take to live – they are all part of a complex design that will decide whether you will get to the prize or not.
Some people go through incredibly difficult times; they lose their jobs, they break up with their long-term partners and they fall into depression. But then they rise up, they get better; things start turning around for them and that creates this snowball effect. Next minute, the depressed, self-loathing person on the couch binge-watching Netflix every night is giving a speech in front of thousands people who PAID to listen to them.
Or maybe your path will be smoother; maybe your mind and your creativity will respond better to calm waters. A safe job, saving money, investing and making the most of your weekend helps you juggling a repetitive job from which you find peace and personal satisfaction.
Everybody has a different pace in this marathon to happiness.
Either way, three things will count in keeping your eyes on the prize.
1) Surround yourself with people who keep your eyes on the prize.
I know that you have so much fun boozing and partying with your best friend and I am not telling you should stop doing that, but please, be more selective. Be aware of who is a snake and who is an ant. A snake is always putting you down, doubting on your abilities to achieve your goals and who tries to manipulate you into doing things that distract you and keep you further from reaching that dream. They are also going to bite your ass whenever it’s convenient for them, so watch your back (and your ass). An ant friend is someone who wants to help you by supporting you, by not listening to you for hours because they have to but because they want to be there for you. It’s someone who believes in you and who is trying to do their best to keep you focused on getting that dream.
2. Accept that every path is different.
As I have said above, you don’t have to follow the job-better job- investment route. Your path is specific to your goals and your capabilities. Trying to mimic somebody else’s career steps and achievements, without really learning their lessons, is only the recipe for a disaster. There is nothing in nature that repeats itself in an identical same way; you are your own path. Discovering the path is the fun part of it, because you discover yourself.
3) Get rid of short-term distractions.
Maybe not all of them, but get rid of the distractions that take precious time away from getting to your goal. We need to have fun, live life a little and fall asleep to another episode of Narcos; however, don’t stretch it too far. You know when you have been up every night, or partying with your friends and you have this really uncomfortable feeling that maybe you should have stayed home next time, and you promise yourself that, when you wake up the next day and a killer hungover circling your head.
Yeah, that’s what I talk about cutting short-term distractions. You don’t need to go out every night, if your goals requires you to get up and work at 5am of the next day.
Be realistic about what you can physically do in 10 years, when your mind and your body won’t be able to handle 10 jagger-bombs.
Talk it through
The biggest taboo besides sex and mental health among Young Millenials is sharing their own dreams. I shiver at the thought of sharing my own dreams with strangers sometimes. And that’s probably why I started this blog, because I literally had to explode my own brain cells somewhere!
No, but the problem is that we are so scared of our own dreams ourselves, that the thought of having to share the emotional baggage that comes with actually doing them is utterly terrifying. We’d rather vote for Donald Trump than talk about what we wish to achieve in 5, 10 years.
No wonder why the “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” is the questions that screws us over during job interviews – how are we meant to put into words the wonderful and terrifying kaleidoscope that our dreams form inside our minds?
But sometimes we need to talk it through. Grab a friend, a family member, a partner, or a cat. And talk to them about this dream.
Make sure that this person is the right one for the job. You don’t want them to be toxic, or negative; nor you want them to be too excited and enthusiastic about the plan. You need someone who is able to listen to you and support you through the tough times of figuring everything out while your life is on hold.
Talking it through will ease up the anxiety built up from trapping a big plan inside your head the whole time. Some people might have amazing advices for you to take, other might have a hug that is worth more than 200 business plans.
Talking it through can also mean having a conversation with yourself. Go for a meditative run, write in your diary, go on a Twitter rant and ask for opinions.
Get out of your headspace and ask questions, don’t be afraid for the response.
accept that big things don’t necessarily take time, but they definitely take focus. You can’t expect to achieve overnight success, or aspire to great stuff if you can’t lasso your mind back to reality and force it to grind on your work.
It takes effort in doing that, but with repetition and a little bit of time, you can get there.
Focus is the key though. Not having your eyes set on the prize leaves a door open to anything that is out there; distractions, negativity, toxic relationships and self-hatred can sweep through the crack of that door and distancing you from transictioning to the life you actually deserve.
Focus, don’t get distracted and get support from your own self and your circle of friends.
Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me. Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moment, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand. And I don’t want to die. / SYLVIA PLATH