Right, this is for all the worriers out there. The doubters. The ones who obsess over things they seldom control. This may just help some of you, like it’s helped me today. So take note, quite literally, and see how much better it might make you feel… Just trust me on this one!
If you’re anything like me, and I predict a lot of you might be, you’ll worry about the future. Who doesn’t right?! But for some of us, it’s more than that. You’ll overthink, not just worry, about where you are now in relation to where you want to be. STOP! Believe me, I’ve been going on about all that since I was at school, when I should have been earning my pocket money for shopping trips and school discos without a care for the life that stretched in front of me. I would obsess over my GCSE choices. Then when I’d chosen them, I’d obsess over university courses. Then when I didn’t go to university I obsessed for months over the alternatives, scared that one wrong move would cause my life to become worthless. And not much has changed to this day, except maybe the things I have to worry about. Will I ever move out? Will I get a happily ever after? Will I end up a crazy old bag lady with a thousand cats? (I still think this is highly possible). When I was younger, I used to be so convinced nothing would ever change for me… And even though logic would tell me I knew I’d leave school some day, get a job, make new friends, I just couldn’t visualise anything at all beyond the end of the week. And what happens when you can’t visualise the future, is that you can’t visualise the good that is waiting for you. Which tricks your mind into thinking about all the potential bad scenarios your life will become. You start to get anxious about your future, and all your goals too. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and when I think about that and the madness I’ve created in my mind, my overriding thought is this.. What a waste of a life it is to worry so much about tomorrow that you forfeit today!
Today I felt myself doing it again. A ridiculous and annoying voice in my head, like a devil on my shoulder. “What if I turn 30 and I haven’t sorted my sh*t out at all?! What if I’m still in the exact same place I am now and my life grinds to a halt? What if… What if….” Then I had a lightbulb moment and quickly wrote out a timeline. A timeline of all the prominent things in my life that have happened over the past ten years. I figured I worry most about the next ten years or so of my life… So I went back ten years. Back to 2006 when I was just 12 years old to now aged 22. And although I’ve kept it private as you’ll see from the photo, (not everything need be public), you can probably tell the amount of turning points my life has actually had since 2006. So I’m going to keep this seemingly insignificant scrap of paper and look at it any time I feel like my life is going nowhere as a reminder: that things do change and things always move on, because the only thing constant is change. We know this, we just forget it when the voices in our heads make us feel we aren’t doing enough.
It sounds like a chore but please, when you feel that anxiety at where your life is going, or more likely not going, write your own lists. Choose a time frame that worries you – a year, five or ten – and go back in time and see what’s changed over that same period. It can be life changing event like new jobs or relationships, things you’ve overcome or even those little things in day to day life like the day you met a friend or a holiday you never want to forget. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see how much has actually occurred in your life. That the old you had absolutely no idea about. And apply that reasoning looking forward. And don’t worry, there will be bad things and people you’d rather forget on your timeline too. And they probably led you to better things. But just for this moment, we’re going to focus on all the good. Don’t miss the bad out but just remember it’s only one mark on the timeline, not the whole thing. Our lives are so unpredictable, don’t ever tell yourself you’re stuck in one place because it simply isn’t true. And deep down we know it… There’s a lot of sayings and cliches to remind us but we brush them off in favour of our doubts. Big mistake. I’ve heard a brilliant saying that we can only connect all the dots looking back. You don’t know everything at the time, fine, but accept it. And all you can do is remind yourself it will all make sense one day. And that’s what you have to hold onto.
So in your head or better yet on paper, write your own list. Look back and get it all down. And if you do write a list and want to share, please message me and share if you want! If even one person finds any comfort in this I’ll be happy, because if there’s one thing about being able to write my rambling thoughts and share things online, it’s the minuscule difference you can make in the world.