Is there anything that is scarier – or more exciting – than the future? We all know by now that our lives never turn out the way that we think they will. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it’s bad, but one thing is always the same: the fact that we can’t stop time from marching on and we can’t control everything that happens as it does. Here’s how to chill out about the future so you can focus on what you actually can control – like how to spend your entire long weekend on the couch while still managing to feed yourself.
The best stuff is never planned, it just happens.
Think back to your college days. You can barely remember the info that you crammed into your head come exam time, but you’ll never forget that one crazy night when your now ex-boyfriend tried to move a bed through the basement connecting several dorms (true story). Your best moments are never the ones that you plan for, they just spontaneously occur. Now they’re your best memories.
No one has it all figured out.
No, not even your friend who’s always super organized, color codes her agenda, and knows what she’s doing every Saturday for the next year. Life is a journey and we’re all just innocent participants going along for the ride. So the next time you start to feel that old anxiety coming back about what you’re actually doing with your life, remember that it’s totally normal. We all feel that way sometimes.
I am the queen of this, and I’m not alone. It’s easy to concoct scenarios in your head about how wrong something can go, but it sucks to waste days and weeks freaking out about something and then have it all work out okay.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Anxiety is no joke and if you really can’t stop the negative thought spirals, don’t ignore it. Get help. Talking to a therapist or health care professional will make it much easier to face the future because you’ll learn how to change and reframe your thought patterns.
Your 20s basically suck. Period.
News flash: millennials don’t have the market cornered on having a rough time. My mom always tells me how awful her own 20s were. You can only go up from here, right? With age comes experience and wisdom, and your dating life will improve once you reach your 30s.At least you’ll be able to streamline the process and weed out the losers.
Expect things to get better.
I was at a bar celebrating a friend’s birthday recently, and someone said their mom responded to their super low salary with a joke: “Well, you can only go up from here. They can’t pay you any less.” It’s funny but it’s also totally true. We’re all unhappy with at least one aspect of our lives: we’re single but don’t want to be, we want to make more money, we want a better job. Why not believe that the future will give you what you want? It will be here before you know it, so you might as well stay positive.
Create your future by creating an awesome present.
It sounds silly but the future will be here as soon as tomorrow, and what you do today affects how tomorrow will go. Living in the moment is harder than it sounds, but mindfulness is pretty trendy right now, so give it a try. Make sure you actually enjoy your life and every part of it. Hang out with non-toxic people, find work you love, figure out what to binge watch on Friday nights. If you’re happy with the way your days play out now, you’re going to like what the future brings, since at least the major stuff will stay the same like your job and friendships if all goes well.
Control what you can.
You can’t become a lawyer without applying to law school. You can’t be a professional writer if you never write down a single word. Plant the seeds now for the future that you want. If there’s one thing that slows down the worry monster, it’s being productive and taking the right steps to get what you want.
Focus on the past.
Don’t think about the things you wish you could have said to your ex when he dumped you via text. Or that one embarrassing job interview that you want to erase from you brain forever. Instead, think about what you’ve accomplished up until this point. You’ll be cheering yourself on and looking forward to accomplishing even more in no time.
Get excited about something.
For many of us, being happy means having something to look forward to. Plan a dream beach vacation a year in advance. Save up for a huge, fun purchase. Whatever you do, make sure you’re truly thrilled about it. You’ll be able to face the future with a big smile and open arms.
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