When I was a little girl, I constantly stressed about the future. You could definitely say I was a worrier. In elementary school I worried that all my friends didn’t like me, in junior high I stressed that I would never go on a date and not be smart enough to finish school, in high school I constantly worried that I would never get my first kiss, get asked to any dances, make it into college, or make enough money to live on my own. In college I stressed that I would never graduate, never get married, and never be good enough to get a job. I spent over a decade worrying about what the future would hold, and fearing that I wasn’t good enough to match the challenges ahead of me. I was a ball of self-doubt and I fretted myself into into a cluster of insecurities.
Hindsight likes to remind me that I spent all that time worrying for nothing. But in the moment, those sleepless nights and knots in my stomach felt very real, and very legitimate. While occasionally there are situations and unknowns that send my mind whirling into what-if land, I try not to let uncertainties affect how I feel about myself. As a self-proclaimed worrier in recovery, I some advice for those of you fretting about the unknowns in life, advice that has helped me get out of my head and start living in the moment, with less fear and much more confidence.
Are you ready, Darling?
Life is full of uncertainties. It’s OK to feel nervous, unsure, and even scared about your future, but more than any of those emotions you should feel excited, because even when things blow up in your face, you’re experiencing life head on. You never need to be worried about experiencing life, even the sticky, the raw, the tear-filled, and the crushing parts. In fact, sometimes those parts are the ones that teach us who we really are and what we are really capable of. Those really tough days aren’t scary, they’re just difficult. They’re not impossible they’re just demanding.
Remember all of those worries little worrier Lowery agonized over? Well, I went on my first date with an amazing guy (he’s married now), I finished high school, I got my first kiss (and lots of others), I moved out, finished college, got an amazing job, fell in and out of love with a few very interesting fellas. And despite how many times I mulled each of those scenarios in my mind, none of them happened the way I initially imagined or wanted, and hardly any of it happened when I wanted it to. Along the way there were several bumps, bruises, scrapes, and heart breaks. There were times that I felt like the wind was knocked out of me and my situation was hopeless. Yet despite nothing working out the way I had envisioned, I’m still standing. But more importantly, I’m happy.
We worry because we fear the unknown. We fear that because we’re incapable of forcing life onto a predetermined and routed set of train tracks. But what I want to stress is that even when the train goes off tracks, while it may not be the ride you anticipated, it’s still one hell of an adventure if you can just put your mind at ease at take each wild moment as it comes.
It’s all going to work out. How do I know? Because look how far you’ve come. You’ve made it to this point, surviving even your “worst day ever.” So instead of getting caught up in the what-ifs, remind yourself that usually when you’re scared shitless, or a mess of nerves, it’s because you’re about to be challenged in a way that will teach you something really incredible. And I can tell, you’re up for the challenge.