Anyone else out there grow up with an idea of what Your life would look like by the time you reached this age?
I know I did and as I sit here typing away in my 450-square-foot flat (that we rent), with no dog at my feet (yet), no kids crying (yet) and a (soon to be) hubby (yay) out at the office, I can confirm that life hasn’t unfolded the way 12-year-old Jenn assumed it would by the time she reached the ancient age of 30 (ha!). Surely I’d have it all figured out by then - the house, the family, the job. Adults know everything, don’t they?
A decade later, 22-year-old me started realizing that 30 isn’t really as old as I once thought it was. I dreamt of teaching yoga for a living (check), having a studio on the lake (check), being a freelance writer (every word so far has been free), having a published book (word count is still 0) and maybe even owning a house with my unknown future hubby (second half of that is happening in 2019).
The ‘yoga’ side of me that knows life happens exactly as it’s supposed to. That even if we don’t understand it, we’re exactly where we need to be and it’s always, always better to trust than to force.
But every so often this calm side of me gets smacked down by the anxious side that believes wherever it is I’m heading, I’m just not getting ‘there’ fast enough.
Sound familiar? When the voice in your head is left to run wild, is it constantly demanding that you speed up? I know I’m not the only one who finds herself dragged around by worry every now and then - that I’m not doing enough, that I need to make better use of my time, that I’ve somehow missed the boat on something. Why do we feel like we’ve fallen behind in life when we reach a certain age, look around and don’t see what we thought we would?
I know why. Comparison. Which we should really just call the Devil because it can really make your life feel like hell, can’t it? I’m sure there’s more than a few people you can think of that make the voice in your head say wait a minute, that’s what I thought my life was going to look like by now.
The friend whose in love. The friend who actually owns a house. The friend with the killer career. The friend with the baby(ies). The friend that wrote that book. The friend whose in such good shape. The stranger you see on Instagram doing all the things that you thought you’d be doing. And then you torture yourself a little further by cross referencing who you are with who you thought you’d be. Talk about a recipe for anxiety, overwhelm and never feeling like you’re enough.
There’s a big difference between what you think your life is supposed to look like and what your life is actually supposed to look like.
The voice in your head actually doesn’t know everything and whatever it is you think you’ve fallen behind in - love, health, career, family - it really isn’t going to help if you start stressing about speeding up the process and forcing things. When things don’t work out the way you thought they would, you have to have to flex your faith muscles and trust that life has different plans for you (maybe better than you can imagine yourself) and those plans come with their own timeline (that you can’t control).
Obviously, this is all assuming that you aren’t locked in a closet wondering why you haven’t met Mr. Right (he can’t find you in there) or why you aren’t where you want to be career wise (you have to be willing to take some risks for that) or why you can’t buy a house (not sure closets are where the money is made). Whatever it is you think you want, there’s no denying that you need to do something to move forward but that doesn’t mean forcing and fighting the natural timing of things. Everything happens when it’s supposed to. The voice in your head is just a really good liar and tries to convince you otherwise. It actually doesn’t know everything.
So the next time you find yourself getting sucked into the exhausting world of thinking that life should be happening according to the timeline you’ve created in your head - stop and remember that as nice as that would be, it’s just not the way life works.
Life hasn’t unfolded the way that 12-year-old me thought it would and am I ever happy about that. There are things that are a part of my life today that I never could’ve dreamt up and before they happened, there was a time I felt lost and confused about them. And yes, there are definitely things that I want to create in my life (the book, the book, ohhhh the book!!) that just haven’t happened yet and today I’m reminding myself that that’s okay. Life has a way of working itself out and if we can develop the awareness to quiet the voice telling us that we’re not getting ‘there’ fast enough, we’ll be a whole lot happier on our way to wherever ‘there’ is.
Maybe you’re exactly where you thought you’d be by now - bravo my friend! Maybe you aren’t - welcome to the club. There’s a lot of us here. I’m willing to bet way more than you think. I hope you find some comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone and the next time you hear that voice in your head telling you to hurry up and get ‘there’ you stop and ask yourself: where is there anyway?