Every day I am reminded of the daily tasks I must accomplish to have a productive week, whether in my personal or work life. I have openly discussed the anxiety that I face, but as time goes by, I have gained more insight into some of the stressors that have led to these feelings of anxiousness. There’s one specific issue I’ve encountered numerous times and what I have identified as a main contributor to my anxiety, which is difficulty living in the “now.”
For me, living in the exact present moment and freeing my mind of any future goals or tasks that need to be completed is almost like pulling teeth. It’s as if my mind is constantly racing: full of thoughts about the next thing I need to do or the next phase in my life I’m anticipating. In your late 20s, it can be a little discouraging when you look at others or simply examine your own life and notice that there are still many life events that seem to be hanging in the distance, seeming unattainable or something that just won’t happen for you.
Have you felt this way? Maybe it feels as if you are up against a clock and time is rapidly ticking away. Many of us expect to have that dream job, house, marriage, or family by a certain age. Then you get to that specific age, and it doesn’t seem like things are manifesting fast enough. If you have ever felt like this, know that it’s quite normal, and many times these feelings are not even related to making comparisons with others. Instead, it can be attributed to societal expectations and pressures you have placed upon yourself to accomplish certain goals and dreams. However, one thing I have learned about life is that not everything occurs at just the time we’d like it to transpire.
Although certain dreams may have not manifested in your life, don’t become discouraged and give up hope. Continue to focus on personal development and being the best version of yourself while trusting that there is a divine plan crafted just for you. Instead of constantly stressing about the future, take time to appreciate the present moment. It’s easier said than done sometimes, so here are some steps to follow.
1. Express gratitude for your accomplishments and the things you have
When was the last time that you patted yourself on the back or took a few moments to remind yourself of all the many things you have accomplished in your life, whether big or small? When things are not going well, we sometimes harp on the negatives, which can be detrimental to our psyche.
Choosing to identify and focus more on the positives, such as the steps you have taken to overcome various life challenges, can give you the drive and confidence to continue to strive for greatness. Choosing to be grateful for what you do have in the moment can foster positive feelings: hope about the future, resiliency, and overall happiness. Take a little time out of your day to write down recent accomplishments, as well as the people or things that you are currently grateful for.
2. Free yourself of unrealistic expectations and time frames
At 18 years old, I often caught myself saying that by the time I was 25, I’d be married with a child on the way. Well, now I’m almost 28 years old and there is not even a boyfriend in sight. I struggled for the longest time with this self-imposed deadline because it was something that I had been saying for so long that when it did not happen, I honestly felt like a failure, as if I would be single forever!
However, in retrospect, I have been able to invest my time into building a solid career, having new adventures, and discovering things that I did not know about myself. Furthermore, these strict time frames that we put on certain life events need to be reevaluated, because often they’re not very realistic. They’re birthed from society conditioning us to believe that there are specific appropriate ages for certain events to manifest. If these events do not occur during the period we would like, we’ll still be fine. There is a bigger purpose and deeper meaning for why it has not happened. Just because it has not happened yet doesn’t mean it will not happen at all. Remain encouraged and continue to live your best life.
3. Let go of negative emotions
Finally, clear your mind and heart of any negative emotions that have brewed from not having the life that you may have envisioned. Feelings of anger, doubt, and envy can creep into your mind, causing you to become frustrated at how slowly things may be happening. As I’ve already said, it is essential to identify and acknowledge those feelings while working to not let them overtake you. Trust in God’s timing while also doing the work that is needed to further your personal development. Work on replacing these negative thoughts with positive affirmations.
It can be devastating when it seems as though certain goals or life events are not being accomplished fast enough. However, learning to live in the present and expressing gratitude for what is occurring now will help to lessen the anxiety and pressure that you place on these deadlines. If you struggle with this, repeat this affirmation: “Although I am not where I envisioned I’d be, I am still grateful and appreciative for the life I have, and therefore can be excited for what is to come.”