Anyone else feeling that end-of-year pressure? I know we all have lots to look forward to but sometimes the end of the year can get you thinking (and not in a good way).
The end of a year can bring many things. For some people it’s lots of positive memories, for others it can bring lots of stress and sudden pressure. At the moment I feel the latter, as much as I don’t want to, but I do.
And most of my feelings lately all revolve around fear. As I listened to this song the other day…
…It got me thinking about our big worries in life, and how really they only bother us because they are all based within our fears. Worries are just fear dressed in sheep’s clothing. We worry about where we went wrong in the year, we worry about whether our work is making a difference, whether our life has meaning and then we just worry some more about our relationships and if they are going to stand the test of time. I mean why? Why do we do it to ourselves?
Ultimately we are all just fearful that our lives are going to end without achieving any real satisfaction. And we are thinking all of this before our ‘lives’ have even started. I mean we’re only in our 20s!
I’ve read a number of articles recently about how life in your 20s has become too highly pressurised. Instead of a mid-life crisis, we are starting to hit a quarter life crisis instead. Interesting eh? But absolutely true. The new vision for your 20s now seems to be drenched in nihilism and a whole ‘make or break’ policy. Because if you haven’t made it, you’ve failed at it.
After all we are expected ‘make it’ in our:
- Travels (you’re expected to have done a gap year at least once in this time)
Because once you hit 30 that all changes apparently. Our priorities turn to babies, marriage and mortgages…or so they say. We all know this is bull (it’s not like your 30th birthday hits you and then your mindset just shifts), yet we still set these ridiculous goals and timeframes for ourselves. Bad idea kids, bad idea. All it does, is cause you stress the F out, and yet we still do it.
Luckily I’ve read some awesome books which can help us overcome these irrational fears. First up is Undecided by Barbara and Shannon Kelley:
This book focuses on the pressure that is put on 20-somethings to succeed. This book is revolutionary in emphasising the pressures on our so-called ‘easy’ lives. It’s true, we have had a completely different upbringing to our parents. We had more to play with, better education, technological advances open to us and more choice. And we are grateful for every aspect of that, but it’s the plethora of choices we are suddenly faced with, which has become the big problem.
“Unlike her mother she was born of a generation blessed with limitless choices–and of a generation that has found that the more choices you have, the harder, it is to find happiness. It’s a generation that appears to have everything yet can’t help feeling that things are just not right.” Undecided – Page 16.
This book will make you realise you are definitely not the only person out there who thinks this way. It’s especially good for those drifters amongst us (like me), who have drifted from job to job, had their successes and many failures and have tried to change things around so much that it’s made their heads spin! I have had so many ideas about careers and courses I need to take to better myself, that it boggles my mind! I think now is the time to just focus on ONE thing – doing whatever makes you the happiest. For me, that is working on THIS BLOG!
In reality I think they are all very valid concerns to think about. We all need direction in life after all. We need to know we are going in the right direction and we all need to feel valued. At the moment I probably don’t feel either, but I am doing my best to try and change that.
Another great book which has got me through many hard times is Happiness Now! By Robert Holden.
This book is magic for reminding you that you do deserve to be happy. We all deserve it. We just play crazy mind tricks on ourselves to tell us that we don’t. Robert words everything very simply, uses lots of personal examples and even cases that he has encountered. He also reminds us that it is up to ourselves to attract happiness…if we push it away and think we don’t deserve pure joy, then we, quite simply, won’t receive it.
“At the precise moment you need love and care, you administer a course of personal abuse and neglect. By refusing to love and be kind to yourself, you’re punishing yourself, playing out your guilt, atoning for your weakness and ‘getting what you think you deserve’…as long as you believe you are guilty you” continue to attract unhappiness…In fact, you will experience as much unhappiness as you believe you deserve.” Happiness Now! Kindle location – 1633
Everything you read in this book seems very obvious once you’ve thought about it. I mean of course if you’re not open to being happy, you won’t be happy – you’ll stay being miserable. But at the time that just doesn’t occur to you. I found this book revolutionary for changing my thinking…it’s a Godsend, especially at this time of year.
I also read recently that a study conducted by the British Heart Foundation discovered that each of us has an average of six regrets and spends the equivalent of about five days a year dwelling on them. Quoted in The Metro on November 23 2012, journalist Tariq Tahir quoted psychologist Dr Gayle Brewer saying: “Many of us seem resigned to the idea that is impossible to live out our dreams for a variety of reasons. Often it is not seizing opportunities that we regret. And it’s not until later that we realise how important they really were.”
I am terrible for focusing on my ‘failures’ and regrets, especially when a year comes to a close, I get so stressed out about it all. But then I found this picture….
…And it instantly made me feel better, because isn’t it true? We made those decisions at a time, when they were the right ones to make. I’ve made that picture my wallpaper on my work computer because I have to stare at that damn thing all day…hehe.
So some additional POSITIVITY is required!
I am making baby-steps to feel better right now. I am signing up for more blog-related things than ever before. I mean I went to WTM (although it was last-minute) but it inspired me, so as I result of that I signed up for a WordPress course at college, then I signed up for The Blogcademy next year (sooooo excited!), then the Travel Bloggers Unite conference (which I’m super excited about – as that will mean a very spontaneous trip to somewhere in Europe and boy do I need some spontaneity in my life again!). Lots of options but they make me happy – so I have to go towards them.
My blog makes me believe I have a purpose. I want to make this site into the best brand that it can possibly be, I want to inspire other people to be happy and inspired, I want to live a life doing what I love. So I have to focus on it very, very hard. It’s difficult when you feel like other people don’t share your dreams – often they don’t understand it. I mean some people think, if it’s not bringing in a regular salary then why are you bothering with it? Well because one day it might and if you don’t try to make it amazing…well, then you’ll never know (you can apply that one to anything – the motto of that tale is JUST GO FOR IT! Take it to the stars and let the universe decide).
So my tips for ensuring contentment in your 20s are to embrace these ideas instead:
- Don’t set aged-based goals, you’ll just stress yourself if they don’t happen.
- Don’t ever think you have to settle for anything (only ever go for what you really want).
- Make decisions that make you happy (go on your around-the-world trip, change your job, move to another city).
- Rely on yourself. No one else can make you a deliriously happy individual (you can’t expect that of someone), you have to figure all that out on your own first. (Radical Self Love baby, a la Gala Darling: ).
- Try and just roll with it a little (don’t look to the future too much).
- Talk to your friends about it – they may feel the same…
- Continue to educate yourself (read, join online forums, do a night course – learning is a great way to constantly stay focused and appetised).
- Don’t get bogged down by the idea of being a ‘manager’ or ‘married’ or a ‘mother’ by a certain age, make your biggest, shiniest goal just BEING HAPPY. That simple. You will reap what you sow, guaranteed.
Love and smooches Em xoxo