It is after midnight and my 27th birthday is now over: I am officially one year older. The day itself was actually quite mundane, since my friends and I had celebrated the occasion on Saturday evening.
Instead, I find myself sitting here at my computer contemplating life and where I currently am in it (when I probably should be going to bed). I am 27 years old, recently single, a week into a move to a (semi) new city, and one week away from starting a new job.
And I have truly no idea what I am doing. Its a scary realization, but ultimately the brutal truth.
If I let myself think too much into the week ahead and the start of my new job, I find myself quickly overwhelmed with anxiety. As someone who was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder in 2013, this feeling is all too familiar. It is exactly the feeling that I am trying to fight and change. It is so easy for me to focus on the negative, on the huge never ending list of things to do and uncertainties that linger on the horizon.
I am not good at “going with the flow”. I would never describe myself as easy-going or laid back. I am a worrier. My mother is a worrier – it is in my blood. When I don’t have anything to worry about, I worry that I am missing something.
I have spent the last year of my life working hard to love myself and increase my self confidence. For the first time in my life, I am trying something different to accomplish this goal: I am trying to trust my internal voice and not worry about the future or my long-term plan. I need to prove to myself that I can handle whatever life throws at me. I need to learn how to provide for myself and not lean so hard on others when life’s wrinkles come my way. I want to look in the mirror and see myself as a strong, capable, young woman who can accomplish anything I desire.
This is having… mixed results so far.
It felt incredible to not rely on anyone for my recent move. I made the plans. I called and arranged the movers. I packed up everything and trusted my own decisions. I lived with certain risks and when I was standing in the front hall of my new house with all my belongings sitting in front of me, I realized I had done it. I had done it on my own and everything had turned out okay. I handled it without help. I trusted that I could do it, and I did.
Six months ago, the anxiety associated with a move like this likely would have taken over and made the whole thing a huge, overly-dramatic, stressful situation. I would have relied on my family and my ex boyfriend to help me. I would have been scared and doubted myself. There would have been a lot of yelling, fights and tearful conversations.
Was I stressed? Of course. Did I cry? Many, many times. But, this time I remained in control. This time was different.
Except for right now. Right now, I am sitting here doubting myself. I read an article once on the Fraud Complex, also known as the Impostor Syndrome, which perfectly describes what I am feeling.
Why am I trusting myself when there is a huge possibility that I don’t know what I am doing? What if I am listening to an inner voice that is wrong? What if am steering myself in a direction that will lead me to failure and hurt? What if I can’t do this? What if all my problems or stresses are of my own creation?
What if I am missing something?
And here come the worries.
I will never be able to answer all these questions. I also am trying to realize that I will probably miss something. I will screw up and things will likely not turn out exactly the way that I imagine. However, that doesn’t change anything. I will still be able to handle it. That is what I have to tell myself.
Even if it all goes to shit, I will be here and I will push forward. I will make it work and I will handle it.
I am only 27. I don’t have to have it all together yet. It is okay for my life to be a little bit messy. I can figure it out as I go.
As scary as it is, there is a weird sort of beauty in the fact that I have no idea what I am doing. It means that there are no limits to what I can do or where my life can go.
I don’t always see it that way – tonight is a perfect example of this. So, I am writing this to serve as a reminder to both myself and to any of you who need a little perspective.
YOU ARE GOING TO BE OKAY.
You can do this. You are strong and you are capable. You are the only person who can see what is in your heart. Believe in that. Believe in yourself.
Take a deep breath and just think about what you can do right now to move yourself forward.
One year can take you anywhere. Huge changes can happen in the blink of an eye. Six months ago, I would have never thought I would be living in Guelph on my 27th birthday – but here I am.
Who knows where I will be at 28? I certainly don’t and that isn’t a bad thing. I have to choose to embrace that I have no idea what I am doing. I will figure it all out soon enough.
You will too.
Lots of love,