Sometimes you freak out. You don’t have a college degree, maybe you had a child before you were prepared, possibly got married at a young age? After high school came a series of unplanned and impulsive decisions. Okay okay, maybe I am just describing myself here but- either way we all have these moments every so often in our lives, when we just can’t help but have a proper meltdown about where we are going in life.
A mid life crisis is defined (by Wikipedia mind you) as “a period of doubt, anxiety, and dissatisfaction that some people experience in their middle age.”
AHEM- may I just point out that it says middle age. NOT early 20’s. I am still in my 20’s and feel like I experience these way more than I should. But whatever age you are, I personally think that with the right mindset, mid-life crisis are something we can all easily avoid/overcome.
One thing that may send us spiraling into this over thinking frenzy, may be unintentionally comparing ourselves to our peers. I have friends who are running very successful businesses, some who are working on Master’s degrees, some who have already bought a house for crying out loud! Every once in awhile I will catch myself thinking about how far ahead of me they are in life and kick myself for being so ‘all over the place.’ Then I remember, I really am pretty darn content where I am right now. Comparison is the thief of joy- so stop doing that!
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘everyone wants what they don’t have.’ Well maybe you should consider taking a look at what you do have, and practice feeling grateful for having it. Teach yourself to want what you already have.
I live in a small apartment with my husband and son. I am not currently in school, nor have I completed any degree, however I have received certifications that allow me to have a full time job in a field that I have been working to get into for a couple years now. I left college and moved 1000 miles from home to marry my husband after only a few months of knowing him at the age of 19. When I was 20 I found out that I was pregnant with my son, shortly after my dog ate my birth control. I have worked several dead end jobs. Some for long periods of time, and some of them for fleeting periods of time. If ever I was unhappy or felt I could not be myself at my place of work, I always quickly found something else and left. I never allowed my circumstances to define me. I have never felt ‘stuck.’ Every impulsive ‘crazy’ decision I have ever made in the long run has ultimately brought me happiness.
My youngest sister always said she admired me for quickly changing my course whenever I was unhappy. The funny thing is, I always admired her for knowing exactly what she wanted, and sticking to her guns about her life choices to make something of herself. She will be graduating college this May. And I will be her biggest fan when she walks across that stage. She is doing two final projects about…… (drum-roll please!)……her big sister! THAT’S ME! I am so flattered about this, that it makes me realize that choosing what you know is best for yourself, no matter how strange it may seem to others, is okay. And in doing so, you may unknowingly inspire someone else to take some big leap and unconventionally follow their heart into uncharted territory.
I think society places incredible pressure on young people to have it altogether now more than ever. I have always said that when my son graduates high school, I will not make him feel like he needs to have his life figured out right away. I want to encourage him to pursue his passions. I want him to dabble- to experience trial and error (just like his mommy.) Unless however he thinks that he knows exactly what he wants, and getting his education in whatever field is what he chooses. I want to put emphasis on life skills instead of education. I certainly don’t mean to down play the importance of education by any means, I just don’t believe it is a requirement to be a successful, happy person.
Thanks to Facebook, it is almost common knowledge now that at age 23: J.K. Rowling was broke, Oprah Winfrey was a TV reporter, Tina Fey was working at the YMCA, and Walt Disney had just filed for bankruptcy. While they were in these situations, every single one of them were working on their dreams on the side. Maybe you should consider turning off Netflix every once in awhile and work on figuring out what your dream might be. After that, work at them with all you have! Imagine what your life might be like if the answer was yes to everything you asked for. You are uniquely made; therefore no one else in this world thinks like you do. No one else has your perspective, and believe me when I say you are important, and you do have great things to offer this world.
Many people hesitate when it comes down to pursuing a new passion. They have limiting beliefs about what they can and cannot accomplish. Understand this- if you believe that you are incapable of achieving something, I promise that you will never achieve it. On the other hand, if you can convince your mind that you can have anything you want, and that you deserve to have everything that you want, I promise that you can!
Now is not the time to squander our passions and dreams. Now is always the time to feed them. To be frank, it doesn’t matter what your age is, old or young, you have enough time to create the life you want. There is always enough time to pursue a new dream. Stop hesitating. Stop deliberating. Change your course and don’t look back. Learn how to accept failure as a lesson and move on. Understand how to internalize doubts that others express about you. That is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. If you have a dream, or a goal, don’t ever give up on it. No matter what your current circumstances are.
If you have never read the book The Secret I highly suggest it. This is something I have been studying for years. My older sister gave it to me as a gift a very long time ago, and it has changed my life in so many ways. Without going into too much detail, it is mostly about how we create our own happiness. How we can mold our perspective in every moment of our lives, to live how we truly want to live. Now, you might be thinking “yeah okay I have heard about that crap” but before you roll your eyes so hard that you go blind, consider this- have you ever met a truly happy person with a bad attitude? Doubtful. I want to write about this topic in more detail later on down the road, but for now let’s just focus on your attitude.
I like people in general. Hell I love most everybody! One type of person I will not tolerate however- is a complainer. They are just a drag to be around. It’s like they think the more vocal they are about how much things suck, the more likely it will change. The thing about that though, is when we focus solely on the things that suck in our lives, we start to lose sight of the good things! And on the flip side- when we start to focus our attention on the good things we have, then we start to lose sight of the bad things, which is a great thing!
I am not saying that we should ignore our problems, but we should never dwell on them.
This brings me back to my point of gratitude. Instead of magnifying situations that piss you off, shift your energy and focus to the things that bring you contentment. If this is hard for you to do, maybe try to become more mindful of things you have that you should be grateful for- simple things such as: a home, a working vehicle, your health, the health of your loved ones, food in your fridge, a safe place to live. Do you have toilet paper in your bathroom?? Be thankful for that! (We were at one point too poor to buy toilet paper, and since then I will always be thankful to have it in the house.)
Practice makes perfect, and though it might seem silly to start noticing these small but important privileges that you absolutely do have in your life, acknowledging the smaller things is what will help you with that mental shift in your way of thinking.