So last month I turned 21 years old. By the way for anyone who doesn’t know me, the cool thing about my birthday is that it is July 3rd, so the day before the 4th of July holiday so no matter what day it falls on its always like the weekend for me (not to make anyone jealous or anything lol). Anyways ever since I turned 21 a lot of things have been running through my mind.
For one the shock of how fast it came has really hit me. It’s crazy because ever since we are young we spend our whole lives talking about how we can’t wait until we turn 21. From being upset when our parents tell us what we can and can’t do and we get the “when you’re living under my roof, you live by my rules” speeches. You can’t forget the constant day dreams about being 21 and finally an adult and being free to do whatever you want whenever you want. About no longer having anyone there to tell you what to wear or give you a curfew just making your own decisions.
It’s funny because I remember my mom only allowing me to wear mascara up until about my junior year of high school otherwise she would always notice if I would sneak something else on. Also remember the first time that my mom ever did my eyebrows and I went to see my dad and he nearly freaked out because they made me look “too old”. I just remember whenever going through these situations I’d always think to myself how badly I couldn’t wait to grow up and not have to deal with this.
It’s just crazy because now that I am 21 I have the exact opposite attitude about it. I’ve spent a lot of time letting it sink in and process in my mind. Simply about the fact that I am now 21, facing my last year in college, unsure about nearly everything, and scared out of my mind! I think about how fast this upcoming year is going to fly by and all of the things that I’ve had to start thinking about. For one “what do I want to do with my life?”, or “where am I going to live once I graduate?”, or “how much money do I want to be making?”, and the list just goes on Its these sort of constant thoughts that can drive a person to insanity!
Also! Important fact about myself is that I am the oldest sibling of 5! So I am going to be the first one to graduate college which brings a lot of added pressure. For all of you fellow eldest siblings out there I’m sure you can relate. Am I right? Not only do you have to think about how your actions will affect your own life, but you have to think about the example that you lead for your younger siblings. Not to mention your parents expect nothing less than greatness from you. Only because in their eyes you are the first one they send off into the world with the hopes that you will carry out all that they’ve worked their butts off instilling you all your life.
But along with all of this I’ve had to take a step back and give myself sometime to think. Here’s a few things that I have come up with that help me deal with the moments I start feeling overwhelmed and also just some good things to remember as I am entering a new stage in my life:
1.) Do not be too hard on yourself, it’s not that serious.
For me I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself and beat myself up when things don’t go the way that I originally planned. And I’m certain many people can relate to this especially if you play an important role among your family, peers, and etc. But we all need to learn that nothing is ever that serious. We all have to deal with the moments in our lives where things do not always go as planned whether if it is a test grade, project, personal goal, or anything else. No one is perfect and it is important for us perfectionists to know that. There are times when some situations are just out of our hands and there is nothing we can do about it. There’s no use in beating yourself over something you have no control over. Now, please do not mistake this as not to always reach for your personal best in whatever you do but to know that you did all you could to help the situation and whatever the outcome is not to dwell on it but take it, role with it and move on. We will all be much better off with this attitude.
2.) Learn to say no!
For anyone who knows me personally they know that I have a major problem with saying no. This has been something I’ve struggled with for most of my life and has continued to stick with me. Whether if it is at home or school, I am usually the one who allows myself to take on more than I should. And once again I know there’s a lot of people out there who deal with the same problem. We need to know that it’s okay to say no. Putting too much on your plate only adds to the pressure that we put on ourselves. It can end up being much more of a negative thing than we originally thought. And trust me I know it can be flattering to have people look to you as a leader or someone who can handle whatever is thrown at them but we can constantly let ourselves get swindled into these things just because of that. Especially if it is something you really don’t want to do than it’s okay to say no. If the people around you really love and care about you then they understand if you have to say no sometimes. It’s more important to maintain your sanity and mental health then to take on too many extra tasks that will only increase your stress levels. We have the right to be selfish with our time when we need to because time is precious especially at this point of our lives. Also think of it this way what’s the point of having your hand in several different things where you are unable to put in 100% instead of just having a few things where you are able to do that. Not to mention you’ll have more time to do other stuff you want to do. So if this means cutting down on clubs, extra workloads, favors, or whatever is applicable to your life just do it! It might suck at first but you will be much better in the long run trust me.
3.) Don’t neglect your health it’s too important
I cannot emphasize the importance of this! Health and well being is not something to push to the back burner. Something many of us do, especially my fellow students is neglect our health because we are too focused on everything else. Whether if it is studying, pulling all-nighters, club activities, grades, jobs or whatever. What happens is we push it to the side so much that we wait until we reach our breaking points which is an extremely unhealthy habit. We need to acknowledge our mental, physical and emotional health. This is a personal goal that I have for myself for the year. So many times I’ve allowed myself to get so stressed and overwhelmed to the point where it has affected all aspects of my health which has definitely been a wakeup call. It just so important to do whatever we can to maintain our health regardless of what is going on in our lives. This could mean finding stress relief outlets for mental health such as writing, binge watching your favorite show, talking to a counselor once in a while, getting fresh air or whatever it may be for you. For physical health it could be ditching some of the crappy quick junk food from time to time and replacing it with something more nourishing, trying to hit the gym more or take up yoga. And lastly for emotional health just having those things in your life that feed your soul. Which could be doing something you enjoy, going to church, ending a toxic relationship or spending time with the people you love. Whatever it takes to maintain your overall well-being is what you should be doing and eliminating everything else. Also because a little personal “TLC” won’t hurt you, everyone needs it. You will definitely be much better off in the long run.
4.) Its okay to ask for help when you need it.
One major thing that I have come to notice about myself is that I have a very hard time asking for help. I mean seriously I will wait until I have zero dollars in my account before I finally buckle down and ask my parents for some help. Or if I need help getting something done it takes me forever asking because I don’t want to be a burden. But I am slowly learning that it is okay to ask for help when you need it. There’s a difference between being someone who likes to depend on others to get things done in their life and someone who legitimately needs it. Believe it or not people see this difference and will know if you are just taking advantage of them. For my fellow peers especially those in school or starting their early stages of adulthood here’s a message. We should not be expected to have everything figured out just because we are 18, 19, 20, 21, and etc. Not to say that at some point we shouldn’t get things together but for now we are still young! I’ll be the first to admit that I still need help from my parents whether if it is for financial reasons or any sort of guidance that they can extend. And if you are in the same situation it’s totally normal because trying this whole adulting thing is scary stuff. And it goes beyond just parents it can be your peers, professors or anyone else who may play an important role in your life. Besides asking for help from time to time is no big deal everyone needs it sometimes. Take some of the load off yourself by doing this and you’d be surprised on the positive reactions you get.
5.) Don’t worry things will into place the way they are meant to.
This is my last point and definitely important to realize. It can be very discouraging going into a new life stage especially if you are unsure about the future. Uncertainty can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety especially for those people like me who are keen on personal perfection. I’m still learning this for myself, but slowly but surely realizing that my life will turn out the way that it is supposed to. I’ve found myself getting so wrapped up in thinking about my future, as far as where I’ll end up and what I’ll be doing. I get so caught up in these thoughts and questions until finally I get to a point where I feel stressed. I even start second guessing myself. Also wondering if what I have done up until this point is enough to make me stick out among others for future opportunities. I wonder if I should join another club, get another job or internship just to compete with all of the talent around me. Then I have to stop and realize how much I have accomplished in my life and who I am. Remind myself that I am enough and people are either going to love me or hate me for that and that I need to learn to accept it either way. Spending too much time mapping out your life and putting too much emphasis on “sticking with the plan” will make you crazy I’m telling you. It’s okay to expect the best for yourself and how you want your life to turn out but if you let things fall into place they will. Sometimes when you sit back and watch things happen you may find that you end up being much happier than you ever thought you’d be.
These are just things that I like to keep in the back of my mind on a day to day basis to keep me sane. And hey why not share positive words and advice, because you never know how much it can help someone else. As a 21 year old there are so many things changing in my life so fast and it can be easy to get caught up in that. But it’s good to just pause for a moment at times and think about what I are currently doing and reflect on that. Slowly trying not to spend so much time worrying about what’s next but to focus on how to better myself in the present moment. So please keep some of what I said in mind and maybe consider it in your daily life. Too all my fellow millennials just figuring out life, we got this! The world isn’t ready for what we are going to bring to its future!
The Compulsive Smiler