It’s the summer and since I’ve been on break, I’ve had tons of time to reflect on my life. I don’t know, whenever I experience changes in my life, I start to reflect on where I am and where I want to be. Sometimes though, the thought will come to me like, girl, why are you rushing your life? It’s not a race. Relax. I’m moving soon and starting a job at a new school as well so needless to say, I’ve been feeling lots of anxiety and reminiscing on times when I was younger.
What prompted me to write about this topic? To be honest, and I’m low key embarrassed to say this but I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw someone posted a pregnancy announcement right after she got back from her honeymoon. She literally got married and was pregnant right away. I didn’t even do the thing I usually do, write a stale “congrats” message under the photo. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it because well, I was super jealous. The older I get, the more I realize that I better get pregnant soon and married because my ability to procreate would soon be inching towards…not happening. Everyone who knows me knows that I want a kid and married like yesterday.
When I was in high school, I expected to live in Atlanta (in Virginia- Highland to be exact) while working as a writer or journalist with my husband and our three kids.I pictured myself driving a Lexus and surrounded by love. I pictured myself thriving and happy. I pictured myself dating at 19, engaged by age 20 and then by 22, I planned on getting married. To who? I had no idea but thats how I wanted life to happen. Spoiler alert: nothing went as planned.
Where am I today? Well I’m an author (click this link to buy my book if you haven’t done so yet), I’m teaching in Orlando, drive a Toyota and, keep moving from apartment to apartment each year, and I have a cat. Like that’s it! Now, obviously things didn’t go as planned. I took longer to graduate college. I Struggled a lot financially (I’m still working on clearing the damage I’ve done in my early 20s). Lastly and certainly not least, I’m single and have not had one child yet. I am dying inside.
Where do we get this imaginary timeline from? Well from lots of places. First of all social media. It’s real easy to stop and compare ourselves to other people’s lives. Honestly, it seems like the older I get, the more I see people settling down and getting married or having babies or both. Some people are buying homes. Others are traveling and living the life they’ve always wanted and sometimes it’s hard not to question, why not me? I get it, not everyone posts their lows and non highlight reel moments (sometimes I wish they did) so we’re only seeing what they want other people to see. Sometimes though, it’s hard not to feel a pang of jealousy when I see pregnancy posts or wedding/engagement posts. I know things in life happen when they are supposed to and that it’s never “late”, it’s so hard to see the positive outcomes for myself.
There was a time when I would get so obsessed with other people’s lives, that I found myself on social media, constantly feeling like trash and comparing my life to others that my life was legit passing me by! I would complain and complain and complain as I deepened the hole I was digging for myself. That type of thinking has gotten me nowhere but depressed and super stressed. I was so wrapped up in everyone else’s life that I had nothing going for myself. Truly. It wasn’t util I had a wake up call that I figured to get out of my own way.
Life is legit a process and we have to trust the process. There will be highs and lows but we cannot be so focused on our lows that we miss the world that’s right there in front of us. We have to let go of how things should be and just focus on how they actually are. Once we accept where we are, that makes it easier to make out our next moves to get us where we want to be. Time is something that we cannot get back once we lost it. That’s a fact. We can’t go back and fix our mistakes no matter how bad we want to. We just have to accept where we are and work from there.
We need to learn from life’s lessons instead of wallowing in our sorrow. We can’t control life. We should learn from our obstacles than look at them as blockages. So, how do we chill the fuck out? According to Harvard Business Review, we can take the following steps:
- Track your triggers. If you know you get triggered when you see a couple or someone who’s living the life you want, take note of when it occurs. Is it at night? Is it in the morning? Is it when you go through a breakup or a change in life? Note when it happens so you can plan your next step accordingly.
- Shift from reactive rumination to purposeful reframing. Basically, stop dwelling on where things went wrong or on what should’ve been. Focus on where you are and how to get to where you want to be.
- Take small actions that has us making small wins. It’s confidence building and besides, those small steps we take can lead us to a life better than we imagined!
- Rid yourself of internalized expectations. Don’t feel pressure based on your peers or those close to you.
Buddhist teacher Daisaku Ikeda writes: “Nothing is irredeemable in youth. The only real mistake you can make when you are young is giving up on yourself or allowing fear of failure to prevent you from trying to accomplish something. The past is the past; the future is the future. Look to the future and keep moving forward, telling yourself, Everything starts from today—it starts from now, this minute, this moment!”
As mentioned on XONecole’s website: “Nothing happens overnight. Don’t let Instagram trick you into thinking you’re going to have insta-success, an insta-bae, or an insta-career or business. Things take time, and we’re not always privy to the sacrifices that come before the success, or the growth that comes before the glow-up. Trust the process, and trust the timing and the fact that what is meant to be will happen when it’s meant to be.”
Point is: your life is your life. Life is what you make it. Don’t just sit there on the sidelines while life moves past you. You have to go after what you want. Nothing will be handed to you. Don’t live your life focused on other people or spend all your time putting on for other people. Your life is your life. It’s okay to change and evolve. Your life choices should evolve as you evolve. Life will pass you by and it’s up to us as individuals to live it (strategically) to the fullest!
These are things that I constantly have to remind myself. Make a inspiration or vision board and map out what you want. If you don’t know where to begin with one, check out this post. Write down your goals and the steps you need to make to make it happen.
Have you ever felt like was passing you by? If sou, how did you change your outlook?