Are there really facts of life? A bible or text in which to live by? A rulebook? A path to wonder down? A direction to go in? People to follow?
For centuries people have found solace and comfort in following something, whether it's Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Judas, the path to enlightenment, even Justin Bieber and the more recent growing celebrity of YouTube stars and social media moguls.
It seems this behavior in humanity repeats itself in every generation in some form or fashion. But what if you don't believe in or choose to follow these people or ideologies?
The past 2-3 years have been a struggle for me. I find myself at times feeling like I'm tip toeing down a very foggy path where all I can see are the few feet in front of me and the rest is unclear. This is one of the most frightening, paralyzing and frustrating things for me. High school gives you a clear path to graduation day. College has a path to follow as well, and again, graduating and having a feeling of accomplishment and finishing something at the end.
Now what? What's the next thing? Is this it? Do I return to school for a masters as a filler to bide my time because I don't know what I want? Maybe get on a plane to somewhere foreign and explore my way through a totally different environment? Perhaps I'll practice living off the land in the mountains of California!?
All my life I've had a path. Granted, I've had control and have made choices along the way toward something bigger, but I was still on a path. The feeling that I am out in the open, naked, scared and unsure of which direction to take has caused me to turn to things like food, creating problems, taking jobs that aren't fulfilling.
Friends and family assure me that I will "figure it out", like it's some Rubik's Cube puzzle that will one day have a resolve at the end.
The problem isn't that I feel lost, it's that I feel like I SHOULDN'T be. That I should know my 5 year plan and have something lined up to work on. I hate that. The feeling of being stuck in something. I don't want a 5 year plan, I want a now plan. A plan to work through today.
I don't even like calling life a journey, as a journey often has an ending or conclusion. Instead I'm going to choose to call it an evolution or exploration. Evolution doesn't have an end point, it keeps going and going; it evolves and unfolds on its own.
Here are some things that help me ease these feelings of panic and fear. They are in no way a means of eliminate these feelings, they are merely an array of tools to apply throughout the day to cope:
1. Yoga/Meditation - I can not stress the importance of turning off the noise of social media & the world around us. Practice being still and quiet. This is where I find relaxation, clarity of self and have an understanding that the fear and world we create in our minds cause us to act in such a way. My fear of the future puts me in panic mode and I feel like I'm in danger. Instead of grabbing a bunch of M&M's, I take 5 deep breaths and bring awareness to my feet and hands and gently let thoughts pass me without giving them much weight or validity. You can even do this in the car!
2. Working Out/Gym - Along with life's frustrations, there is a punching bag at the gym and a bunch of things I can use to beat out my frustration. I also like to run (when it isn't snowing).
3. Sex - Who doesn't love sex?! An orgasm is a perfect way to relax you as well as having some fun in the process. The good news is you don't need to have a second person with you to partake.
4. Music - I enjoy listening to punk rock and tend to use that as a means of enjoying the moment I'm in and find that most of the punk rockers I like to listen too tend to have similar messages of breaking the mold and doing what you want to do in life. Great examples:
- American Idiot - Green Day
- The Anthem - Good Charlotte
- Festival Song - Good Charlotte
5. Unplug - With every app and device demanding our undivided attention 24/7, it's hard to quiet the expectations of the "world" and opinions of others. Delete the apps from your mobile device. Break the habits that bind you and the cycle that keeps you killing time and from doing projects and things that are truly important to you.
6. Lose the Expectations - Nothing is worse than feeling like you're expected to do something that goes against what you really want to do. Pretty silly, right? Make a list of the expectations that hold true for you while not allowing the opinions of friends and family to get in the way. They will make suggestions but their opinions and suggestions have everything to do with THEM and what they would do. You are a different person than your parents and family.
7. Stigma & Dogma - This goes with number 6 as well. Don't allow stigma and dogma to rule over you and set your path. They will ruin you.
It's okay to not know what you want to do, where you want to go or even who you are and what you want to be doing. Life is meant to be lived, explored and allowed to evolve in what ever time it takes on an individual basis. What works for 1 will not work for all. We are all too different and multilayered to be generalized under one umbrella.
I leave you with a quote by Steve Jobs.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs
The full speech can be found here - https://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die