I spent my twentieth year filled with anxiety, worry, insecurity, self-hate, and a general sense of uncertainty and fear. It was, after all, an uncertain time. I had recently broken up with my boyfriend, and I had just transferred to my third college, this time in New York City, for my undergraduate degree. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. If only I had known then that, just two short years later, I would meet, fall in love with and move in with my future husband; earn my master’s degree from an Ivy League school; start a business, and develop some of the most meaningful friendships of my life! It would’ve saved me lots of sleepless nights.
I didn’t know it then, but life has a way of catching you up to where you need to be. It takes care of you, even if (or especially if!) you’re feeling behind, lost, or out of sorts. I think many of us have experienced some version of this. The life you want can seem out of reach, and then it feels like you’re suddenly reflecting on how far you’ve come.
That’s not to say, however, that those changes happen outside of our intentions and actions. Or that those periods of uncertainty aren’t tough. But I have learned some tricks over the years for getting through the valleys of life with a little more grace and ascending the peaks a little more quickly. Here’s the shortlist.
Things are not as bad as you think.
I remember feeling like I was in a crisis all the time, and that that would never end. Talk about feeling doomed! Shockingly, I was wrong. What’s more, with each doomsday that I got through, I realized that I was stronger, more resilient, and more in control than I thought. It turned out I could not only control how my day went. I could control how my life went! The same is true for you.
Nothing lasts forever.
The bad times will end…and so will the good times. That’s why you have to learn your lessons from the bad and cherish the good. (Think there’s nothing good happening? Think again! Gratitude is a mindset that you can develop and expand with practice.)
Take the risk!
I remember coming across a job opportunity when I was 20 that was in sales and had huge earning potential. I wanted it so badly, but I held myself back out of fear. The dialogue happening in my head — “It’s too big for you,” “You’ll never get that,” “You couldn’t handle that” — kept me down for a little while, but eventually I took the risk and went for it. And I’m so happy I did! Not only was it financially lucrative, but it gave me the skills and confidence that I needed. Sound familiar? The next time you come up against something similar, tell yourself to stop playing small! The only regret you’ll have when you reach for something outside your comfort zone is that you didn’t do it sooner.
There is no such thing as perfect timing.
So stop waiting! Stop waiting to find the perfect job, to have the perfect body, to start that business you have been dreaming of, to tell that special person how you feel about him/her, to go on that vacation or to do anything else that you are thinking of but not allowing yourself to move forward with. Stop waiting to be happy!