Have you ever felt plagued by a relentless sense of urgency to establish yourself and achieve in your life?
I feel it as a constant pressure, pushing at me from all angles and I am trying to discover if this is just because of the person I am, or the stage in my life that I am at. I’m also trying to overcome the power that it seems to have over my mindset.
I’ve had birthday anxiety every year for the last few years. I’m only in my twenties.
I always manage to pick myself up before my birthday and adopt an ‘oh well, it’s happening anyway, I may as well enjoy it’ attitude, but I spend months beforehand bemoaning the fact that I haven’t conquered the world yet.
Did I mention I was in my twenties?
I know it’s a rather a pointless exercise, but it seems to be something that overwhelms me eventually and I succumb to pre-birthday blues and ‘under-achiever’ anxiety.
I can’t seem to relax about it. I feel like I am fighting myself, between the ebb of ‘you’re young, and free, and healthy, and enjoying yourself – go you!’ and the flow of ‘but there’s so little time, and your twenties are passing you by, you’re getting older, and look at all this stuff you still haven’t done yet!’
Having a birthday is not the only thing that triggers it; sometimes it can just be as simple as having a disappointing day.
What a stressful life I am going to have if something as commonplace as a disappointing day or a birthday (of which I will have one every year) can send me into a spiral of self-doubt and anxiety about not achieving enough in my life.
In reality, it’s not as if I’m achieving nothing. It’s just that I only have one life and multiple dreams that I’m impatient to pursue. I’m moving as fast as I can possibly go, and probably rushing myself too much in the process, rather than accepting that these things (and me) take time to build, and grow.
I do not need to have all the things all at once, or else how would I be able to enjoy them exclusively for what they are? Not to mention, how would I ever handle all of it?
I know this, and I know that I know this, it’s just a matter of taking this rationalisation and integrating it into my crazy headspace when I’m freaking out about my ‘five year plan’ and how my life is supposed to go. You’d think I would’ve gotten used to rolling with the punches by now, and most of the time, I can, but all too often I find myself under the cloud of stress that I’m not doing enough. And, quite frankly, it isn’t serving any purpose except cause unnecessary negative emotions.
So, in order to acquire a healthier perspective on this, I’m going to try doing things a little differently; I’m going to take things slow, resisting the urge to rush headlong through my life.
I’ll remind myself that not everything in my life has to happen right this second, and that success is cumulative, rather than something I can acquire right here, and now.
I’m still going to think of the future, but concentrate on the now and let purpose guide my days. And I will do my best to trust that the rest will fall into place so long as I am putting one foot in front of the other.
With my focus on enjoying the moments of my life for what they are, and looking for the achievements in each day, hopefully I will remember that I cannot possibly waste my life if I am living wholly within it.
photo credit: MattysFlicks via flickr