Lately I’ve been having conversations with my friends that often have a similar thread, they, or I should say we, sometimes feel a bit lost. For me it was when I reached thirty, I started to question: Am I where I thought I would be at my age? With all of the pressures of a modern society, I suspect that lots of people ask themselves this question at a variety of life stages.
I had a particularly “DMC” (Deep & meaningful convo) on just this and, as women often do, we put the world to rights and called out some home truths that helped me and I thought might be worth sharing:
First of all – Give yourself a break!
We beat ourselves up way too much these days. Looking at impossible comparisons on social media everyday no wonder we’ve convinced ourselves the life we have is missing something. We need to focus more on what we have not what we don’t have.
Think about everything you have achieved up to this point and reflect on it
you’ll probably be pretty impressed with yourself when you stop being so self-judgmental!
I recently attended a few yoga classes, (so yes, now I think I’m an expert!), and the instructors talk about gratefulness. When I’m feeling down on my way to work after a heavy weekend I remind myself that I’m grateful to be well enough to go to work every day, I’m grateful that I have a place to go where people will miss me if I don’t show. I can’t imagine, and I’m grateful that I don’t know, what it’s like to be so ill you can’t leave the house and go to work or the shops or the pub and see your friends. I found this shift in my thought process really helped me to be more resilient.
Remember, your job does not define you
Ok so your job isn’t always that much fun, but nobody’s is all the time. No matter what you do for a living, you’ll have aspects you enjoy more than others.
You have to look at your life holistically & not get hung up on one aspect
so yes sometimes I question how my corporate job is making a difference to others but then I remind myself that I do make a difference to the people I manage or to my friends in work. And without my job I wouldn’t have the means to go visit my friends or family or give gifts to the people I love … don’t fixate on one thing you are not entirely happy about rather give yourself credit for all the things that you are happy about, often it’s your job that facilitates that. If you feel strongly that your job is not making any significant difference or you’ve sold out to your true passion, what’s stopping you from filling that need outside of work? – go volunteering, take up a hobby, there’s always options and making a small change like that can have a big impact on your outlook.
Having said all that though, if you find yourself thinking about work all the time when you’re not there, or it’s actively contributing to your general unhappiness, I would recommend you look for something else, because again you should be able to appreciate all aspects of your life without one area negatively impacting all others.
Try not to catapult too far into the future
In my case it’s:
Should I move back to Ireland?
- If yes – when and where to in Ireland?
- What job would I get there?
- Should I be investing in property in London?
- Should I be thinking about starting a family?
And so on…
For others it might be:
How do I find a partner?, how do I know he/she is ‘the one’?, If I think they’re the one, should we marry?, If so when? ….
I’m tired just writing that list. We plague ourselves everyday with tons of questions that nobody has the answers to!
I remember I was particularly anxious after uni, I questioned what next? – where will I get a job?, what will I do for the rest of my life? ……I’m out of uni a loooooong time and guess what? – it all worked out just fine!, so when I find myself incessantly and annoyingly questioning my future, I remind myself of that.
Stay connected to the people that know you best
Making new friends is great, but there’s nothing like sitting down and chatting to an old friend that really knows you. Wealth / success / life goals / popularity / achievements / material possessions all go out the window and that person just talks to you and listens to you like a person. If you have even one friend like that consider yourself lucky and don’t let that connection fade. I find meaningful social interaction really helps my mental health and overall well-being.
Life is a balancing act
We have to remind ourselves that
most people don’t have the luxury to analyse their lives as much as we do these days.
If you even get to question how fulfilling your life is, you are in the very elite minority. When my mother was my age she worked as a cleaner killing herself to clean 12/13 hotel rooms a day to feed three mouths at home. She certainly didn’t get a lot of time to question how happy she was! I’m not saying we shouldn’t question these things but I do think that everything is a balancing act and it’s better to accept that
not every aspect of your life is perfect all of the time, and that’s ok!
Hopefully my DMC lessons resonate or help others who are feeling a bit bewildered as we all do every now & then. Next time I think I’ll add more wine to the conversation and see where that takes us!!