Being a recent graduate, I’ve been through a shit-storm of emotions. Fear, anxiety, stress, happiness, all of the above. Everything leading up to graduation was fine. Yes, I was stressing about my future and life after graduating; but the fact that my future was unknown and waiting to be written, still provided me with some hope. Now that I’m done and everything seems to be settled, I think to myself “well f*ck, now what?” Things happened so fast and it wasn’t the fairytale I always pictured myself in once I stepped into the real world. I found myself unhappy and lost. I started having deep thoughts which then morphed into thinking about everything I knew and who I was. When I sunk to my lowest, I thought to myself “how did I dig a hole this deep?”. The annoying thing about overthinking is that it will make you question everything, but the great thing about overthinking is that it will make you question everything. It helps you get to the bottom of your problems (in a very ineffective, stressful manner). After frying my brain and rewiring it to come to the happy place I’m in now, here is what I learned about my obstacles:
1. External forces
Everyone has their opinions; some like to claim that theirs is the “right” or “only” way of thinking. Some people, especially ones that care for you, are very adamant about it. Sometimes their opinion or approval is exactly what we need to push us into the right direction. Other times, it will drive us to a slow and painful death. It’s never their intention to cause confusion or resentment. Often, we forget the power of our words and how influential they can me. Everyone thinks they know the key to happiness and that it’s universal. Hell no it isn’t.
I have always known I was passionate about entertaining people, but I was told that it wasn’t practical. For a while I fought the idea in my head that it was unattainable. I refused to let go of my aspirations. After all, it was my life; who are you to tell me what I want? But time after time, any reasoning/dictation that is reinforced on you will start to get to you. Even the strongest minds aren’t safe from incessant brainwashing. “Go into finance” “Become a pharmacist” “Go into business”. At first I would say yeah, I would go into finance if my only life goal was to buy a home in suburbia, perhaps fill it with dozens of designer handbags to make up for the talent and passion I lack (that was a mouthful, and not calling anyone out). But then I began to think, is this what I want? You hear it long enough that it makes you think that any ideas you had were foolish. I didn’t just feel misunderstood, I felt childish for trying to preserve the passion that gave me the energy to be happy. So I fell into the habit of being someone who others wanted me to be. With every victory I had like finding a job in my field, I wasn’t sharing happiness or excitement, I was seeking approval.
I was mad. I was mad at myself for succumbing to these irrelevant voices. I was mad at myself for letting people’s opinions redirect my path. I can’t change anything now, I’m already here in the future. There’s no use being angry and pointing fingers. Ultimately, I had a choice and I decided to be afraid of risk; just like I was taught to be. Once reality kicked in, I knew I couldn’t stand idle. I’ve wasted precious years going back and forth on what I wanted and if I waste anymore time I would be throwing away potential. I had to stop overthinking and look at the simplicity of the situation: I get to make the final decision. Simple. As. That.
2. Putting my life into stages/phases
I have my ups and downs just like any other person. Another dumb thing I tend to do is put a start date on being happy. I would tell myself Okay well once I move out I can start to be… or Once I graduate then I can… Bull, complete bull. When you reach that start date you realize you can’t flip a switch and start crapping rainbows. If you are unhappy, you will lug it with you wherever you go and whenever you are. You have to start making adjustments now. Like I said before, external forces can have its way with you but the core of happiness is within you. There is no such thing as a start date, you’ve been going so don’t tell yourself you can’t do it until sometime in the future. And again, you’re not going to flip a switch, but you should make some changes in the right direction. Start with a smile, start with self-motivating talks – whatever – just don’t wait. A little nudge is all you need sometimes.
Being afraid and set on old ways narrows down your chances of finding happiness. I was stubborn when people constantly shoved their opinions into my head. And because I was angry that others’ opinion took over me, I compared 9-5’s and corporate-life with airplane food and demonic children. But if I was going to let resentment get the best of me, I was *cue South Park voice* gonna have a bad time. I lightened up a little bit. Instead of letting myself drown in unnecessary negativity, I worked out the positive aspects of my situation. My office job isn’t that bad, it’s actually great. It’s a good stepping stone and there’s a ton of room for growth and it’s really flexible. I decided to make the best out of most if not all situations in life. After all, there are never negative events, just negatives thoughts and reactions. You get out what you put into the experience.
There are endless factors that can keep you from being happy and these three things were the most poisonous to my being. Realizing these poisons has helped me think positively and finally start living a life I’ve always wanted: carefree and inspirational with a touch of dark humor. How does that work? I have no idea, I’m ranting. Hopefully I gave you some good insight. Everything I write on this blog comes from some source of experience (or overthinking) because I want it to be personal and grounded. Anyway, have a good weekend!
Sorry for such a late post, it’s been a very busy week for me!