Photo by Jaelynn Castillo from Unsplash
Upon entering your twenties, you realize there never seems to be enough time to do what you want. Each day passes so quickly; you can barely keep up with the big changes happening around you. Just pondering on how different your life was a decade ago brings tears to your eyes, along with nerve-wracking doubt. As you grow older, you can’t shake off the fear that someday time is going to catch up to you, and you’ll be left with failed dreams and regrets.
Your twenties are a time when you’re most vulnerable to the expectations and opinions of others of you. Everybody seems to have a say on what you should do, where you should work, what you should wear, what you should believe in, etc., and here you are, letting them. As you navigate your way to finding your own identity, you unknowingly put yourself in this line of thinking where competing for other people’s attention and approval is the only way to feel validated for having ambition. It’s like you’re restricting yourself to dreaming unless someone says otherwise.
This lack of freedom to fully express your thoughts and goals is upsetting and dispiriting. To shield your ego from getting broken, you put yourself in this maze where you must pass a certain level before you sanction yourself to be happy. It’s one of the reasons you’re bending over backward to fulfill your dream despite the odds. Time is something you can never bend, manipulate, or negotiate with. Whether you think it’s moving too slow or way too fast, it moves regardless of your speed or limitation.
Pressuring yourself into doing more than what you can is obstructing the natural process of finding your purpose. When you’re always in a hurry, you sabotage your plans. You deprive yourself of the opportunities out in the open because you make decisions in a rush, leading to further stress and anxiety.
THE FEAR OF GETTING OLDER
A lot of people go out of their way to cling to their youth as much as they can. People force themselves to retain anything that represents their novelty, whether it’s their physical appearance, behavior, or a hobby or activity they used to do. They prevent themselves to adopt to new changes in their lives because they do not want to lose the successful milestones that “made them who they were.”
Apparently, there is anxiety in all of us as we grow older. It scares us to meet strangers and experience new things in life regardless of our age. It terrifies us to confront our deepest fears and clean up after our messes. It makes it difficult to accept that a part of growing up is experiencing the same struggles as our parents, grandmothers/grandfathers, and even strangers. We are afraid of losing our youth before people can call us “successful.” It pains us to know time is catching up on us before we have the chance to prove to the world our abilities.
Due to this fear of failure, we reduce ourselves to an idea of instant and consistent success. We create this mindset that our worth is directly tied to our achievements. We are in such a hurry to make it in life because we fear time will not be enough. We’re scared to grow old and accept a new set of responsibilities, forced to abandon the dreams they once had when they were younger.
LIFE IS NOT A RACE
We all live different destinies. There is no race you need to win. There is no competition with other people. There is no need to catch up to those whom you think are way ahead of you. You don’t even know if they’re as happy or successful as they show on their profile. It’s your mind that’s creating these false perceptions to unnecessarily pressure you into “becoming like them.”
When you watch strangers gain success from a screen without knowing anything about them, it’s easy to assume they’ve got it all figured out. Seeing other people’s lives better than yours makes you feel awful about yourself. Social media reinforces the narrative that life is a race, and you’re left behind. However, remember that what you see on social media is almost and always never real.
The things posted online are incomplete, unnatural, staged, or fake to make you feel invalidated for all your efforts. Never allow your doubts to team up with an even deeper fear stemming from using social media. If you don’t resolve your insecurities, you’ll always be stuck in this endless race that you’re destined to lose. In your head, you’ll get too focused on winning and getting ahead that you forget to take responsibility for your actions.
Remember that you don’t have to try so hard to attempt to control situations that are clearly out of your hands. It is not a matter of who gets to achieve his dream first. It’s the painstaking yet rewarding journey of attaining it and how happy it makes you feel in the long run. Life is not a race, but if it were, you would never know how far ahead or behind others are in their journey. Focus on positioning your goals towards the right direction and you will definitely make it in life.
BE MINDFUL OF THE PRESENT
Frantic minds lose sight of what matters—the present. Remember, the future is not promised. Always working with haste keeps you from being fully aware of the present. This is because you keep on dwelling on the outcome of your efforts or worrying about making the same mistakes as before. You fail to appreciate the part that you get to work for your dreams today because you made it through the trials of the past.
When you pay too much attention to the past or the future, you forget to enjoy the what’s in front of you. Your mind is cluttered with so many thoughts; you forget to think clearly and rationally. Stop what you’re doing and pat yourself on the back for the progress you’re making. It’s important to find joy in the little, simple things.
It’s those short moments that you know will never happen again are what make them so special. When you’re too panic-stricken on work, you miss to embrace these rare experiences of life. Sometimes, it’s healthy to just be in the moment and let yourself be vulnerable no matter what anybody thinks.
HAVE PATIENCE IN ALL YOU DO
In your pursuit of attaining your dreams, acknowledge that there will be hurdles and obstacles along the way. Keep an open mind to surviving hardships, so you won’t be quick to give up. It’s not going to be a smooth-sailing trip, and things will only get more difficult as you grow. Your efforts will be tested as well as your willingness to sacrifice everything you have for your goals.
One thing you should take to heart is the virtue of patience. When you have the tolerance and resilience to perform with excellence despite the number of setbacks you face, you can do anything. Even when confronted with extreme emotions, being patient will help you maintain composure when others give up. The power of patience is magnificently underrated.
By planning your goals carefully and knowing for whom you’re doing this, you will find your sacrifices even more meaningful and worth doing. Remember that reaching your goals is not as important as when you’re in the process of getting them. Be patient in your journey and you will find contentment every step of the way.
YOU ARE WHERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE
When you feel lost, remember that your emotions come from your mind; so change the way you think. If you feel lost, that’s because you think you are, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Your mind, depending on what you expose it to, can be very tricky and powerful. When you feel the pressure to keep up the speed, remind yourself to slow down.
When you’re frantic of the things you do not have, choose to be grateful for the things you do have. Know that you are enough. Know that you are at the place where you need to be. Give yourself time to breathe and acknowledge how far you’ve come despite your silent battles.
Your current situation is not your final destination. You are not derailed or misled by your shortcomings. If you plan to move forward in your life, be assured that everything you need is already within your power. You have the intellect, skill, confidence, and passion to go on. You just have to make a choice and fight for it.
The compulsive need to submit ourselves to extreme criticism to achieve our goals is a reflection of how little understanding we have about life in general. We are in a hurry to achieve success in our lifetime because we are blinded by the premise that we are in control of everything. The false mentality is: If we hasten the work, we beat someone else who’s after the same dream. If we attain success sooner, we grasp more and better opportunities before others could.
Sad to say, life doesn’t move based on a pattern; or if it does, it’s a design beyond human logic and understanding. Life is unpredictable and surprising regardless from which standpoint you’re in. There’s no precise or certain way of telling what the future holds, so there’s no better way to live life than to simply embrace it. The realization that hard work only does so much to contribute to your success comes when you experience adversities and trials that are out of your hands. You begin to perceive that life doesn’t always give good results just because you made good choices.
Even if you work at maximum speed every single day to keep pace with time, some things still don’t happen exactly in your favor. You can work twice as hard as everybody in the room, but you can still feel inadequate and unproductive at the end of the day. Even sheer skill and determination are not enough to guarantee the attainment of your dreams. The point is, you don’t have to be in a hurry because what’s meant for you will come to you in the right time.
Life doesn’t always work the way we want or we think we deserve. It is much bigger than all of our wildest dreams. What we only truly have is the present and every single breath that passes through our lungs; nothing more. What we do about it defines how we see life and how we treat other people who go through different battles but nevertheless have the same fate as us.
“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in your mind.”David G. Allen