When you get to a certain age or a certain point in your life and you realize that it isn’t what you imagined it to be, it’s easy to get discouraged or even a little desperate. Sometimes, it feels like everyone else is moving forward and achieving amazing things while you’re left behind. Take a deep breath, relax, and remember these things:
Life is a marathon, not a race—we all go at different paces. When you feel like you’ll never get to where you want to be, remember that everyone feels exactly the same. The truth is none of us really know what we’re doing but we keep trying anyway. If you don’t have the career, apartment, relationship, or anything else you want, don’t feel discouraged. You’ll get there eventually—it just takes a lot of hard work and patience along the way.
Every small step counts for something. It might sound like a cliche but it’s true that every small achievement brings you closer to getting the life that you deserve. And it doesn’t have to be a big thing, either. It could be getting up out of bed even on those days when you’re at your lowest and getting work done. There’s no success with perseverance, so keep going.
You don’t have to stick to the timeline you created for yourself. When you were younger, you might have imagined yourself married with two kids by the age of 30 with a successful career but that doesn’t mean that you should feel bad about the life you have now. We set high expectations for ourselves even though we know that it’s unlikely that we’ll ever accomplish all of these things. It motivates us to work harder to get what we want. Still, just because you’re not there yet doesn’t make your life a bad one. Stop feeling disappointed in yourself and start focusing on what you’ve achieved so far.
You’re allowed to change your mind. Chances are, you’re not the same person you were a few years ago. Even if you thought you were sure about what you wanted, it’s okay to change direction and try something else. At the end of the day, you know what you want and that’s all that matters. Don’t let anyone else have any influence over your decisions. If you want something, go for it.
Things could change at any time. You probably won’t win the lottery and become a millionaire overnight but that doesn’t mean your luck can’t or won’t change sooner or later. So, if you feel like nothing will ever get better, just remember that change is inevitable and things will turn out the way they’re meant to eventually.
Having a life plan is limiting. You might think that having your life mapped out down to the finest detail will keep you motivated but it’s actually holding you back. Why should you stick to something that doesn’t allow you to take risks? It’s okay to admit that you don’t want the same thing that you wanted four years ago. It’s hard to plan for the future because you don’t know what’s around the corner. You don’t know if you’ll end up switching careers and moving to another city—that kind of thing is usually quite unexpected. Not having a plan to follow is freeing, not stressful.
You don’t have to stay in a situation that you hate. It doesn’t matter if you’re earning more in your current job than your previous job if you’re not happy. Ultimately, it all comes down to your happiness. If you feel like your relationship isn’t what it used to be, or you’ve had enough of living with your roommate, then you always have the option to leave. You don’t need a reason – just do whatever is best for you.
You’re not running out of time. It might feel like you don’t have much time left to achieve everything that you wanted to but there’s no deadline. You don’t have to know what job you want or whether you want any kids today, tomorrow, or even next year. Believe me, you have time to figure that out. What you should be doing is taking each day as it comes and appreciating what you have. Besides, you don’t have much control over the future so there’s no point in stressing.
Taking risks is what life’s about. If you recently took a risk on a career change or agreeing to a first date with a colleague, then don’t stress if it doesn’t end up working out. At least you can learn from it and try not to repeat the same mistake twice. That’s what life’s really about.
Your friends are probably in the same boat. Honestly, none of us really have a clue what we’re doing. They might look like they’re happier or more successful in life, but there’s so much that you might not know about them. Maybe they’re struggling with work deadlines or they just had another terrible first date but they don’t want anyone to know that. Don’t compare your life to anyone else’s because your life isn’t supposed to be like theirs. Celebrate your own victories instead of envying others.
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