Growing up can be tough! No one said it was going to be easy, but they didn't warn me it was going to be difficult either. There are so many changes that happen between teenage years and adulthood. The freedom is so exciting but it's also so scary! For someone who was never very good with saving money it came as a shock to see how much a weekly food shop for two people can be (I could've bought a fab pair of shoes with the grocery funds!)....then there's all the really boring and annoying things like the rent, the bills, the health insurance, the car insurance, tax....aaaagh!! (Bye, bye pretty shoes!) It's literally never ending!
Then comes the pressure of having a good job so that you can afford the little luxuries in life. All this happens at a time when you're supposed to be deciding what on earth you want your career to be for the rest of your life. Oh please!
Recognise this?...... I feel ya!
I've always envied those people who knew what career they were choosing straight away when they left school.
Naively, I thought that doing a four year degree in psychology at university would make me a psychologist and I'd be set up for life sorting out people's problems. Pffffft, how wrong was I??!
While I absolutely loved what I was studying I had no idea that it would take longer to become the type of psychologist that I wanted to be than it would to become a fully qualified doctor in a hospital! *Queue thoughts of giving up half way through..*
But then I stopped and thought for a while...Who is it that wants me to become a psychologist? My friends? My family? My lecturers? No.
I did! I wanted to become a psychologist...not anyone else. I kept telling myself "I want it and I'm the only person that can make it happen".
And that's exactly what I did. It wasn't easy, in fact it was so damn hard but it has to be said I never, ever give up on something that I want. It took years but it was totally worth it in the end.
Of course as a psychologist you are never finished learning as there are hundreds of new fascinating studies published every day, but I was finished exams (for a while at least!) and could finally concentrate on the things I loved the most, motivating others to be the best version of themselves possible.
So here's where you come in. Are you happy with your life at the moment? I mean, you don't have to be happy with every single aspect of your life, no one ever really is... but are you happy with most parts of your life? Stop and think about it for a minute.
I'm not talking about the days when you wake up and wish you could just pull the duvet up over your head and stay in bed for another hour, or three or four.... I'm talking about waking up every day and feeling content with your life regardless of how mundane the tasks that you're about to face are.
Unfortunately few people can say they are truly content in their lives, but if you can, GO YOU! You are one of the minority and one of those people that the rest of us are probably longing to be.
People say to me all the time, "I'll be happy when I win the lotto and can buy a mansion and drive a flashy car" and I just smile and nod. They know as well as I do that money cannot buy you happiness, but it can sure fool you into thinking it can, especially when you don't have "enough".
What is "enough money" anyway? Is there a point when someone can say "okay, now I've enough money so I can be happy with what I have"? I seriously doubt it.
As humans we are wired to want what we don't or can't have... I can guarantee you that you have longed for straight glossy hair at least once in your life if you have a thick head of bouncy curls, or vice-versa...... It's natural. After all, wouldn't life be so boring if we were all the same or had all of the things we wanted straight away? ........I think so!
So ask yourself this... What are you currently doing to change the part of your life that you are not completely content with? If the answer is nothing then ask yourself this... why not?
You don't need to jump straight in at the deep end, just follow these steps on how to make a few small changes and you're already half way there.
1. Take five minutes to yourself and sit in front of the mirror. Take a good hard look at yourself. What are you happy with or not happy with? Is it something to do with your appearance? Is it something inside of you? The way you think about something? Are you worried about your future, your role in life or something more or less complex? If you can't be honest with yourself then who can you be honest with? Another great way to get inside your own head is going for a 20 minute walk by yourself. Take a path you don't usually take and see if you notice something you haven't seen before. Watch kids playing in the park, or the couple arguing and making up, or the dog chasing the birds. Give yourself time to relax and think about something other than your own troubles or worries.
2. Are you the same person you were 10 or 20 years ago? Of course you are, you've just grown up a lot since then. What was it that you loved doing as a child or teenager? Just because you're an adult now doesn't mean you can't still do those things, you just need to adapt and find a new way of doing similar things. Let your hair down and enjoy yourself... you have plenty more time to act like a grown up afterwards! Since food is the way to my heart I end up making chocolate rice krispie cakes quite regularly when I need a burst of my childhood. (I might even lick the bowl afterwards!!)
3. Introduce yourself to a stranger. Okay this one is a bit more "out there" but bare with me. While the thought might be daunting, the fact is that we can learn so much from strangers and they usually make us feel better about ourselves too. Strangers will be honest and always have a story to tell. People love talking about themselves and it makes them feel good. Next time you go to your local shop ask the guy or girl at the checkout if they have to work late tonight (in a non stalkerish way!)....if they say "yes" say something like "ah that sucks but you probably got a nice lie in this morning instead." That's all it takes! You don't have to find out their life story. Next time you go in they will remember you as being the friendly girl from last time and might ask you how your day is going etc. Take time out of your day to listen to someone else's story without knowing their background or judging them. You will instantly feel better and you'll probably make them feel great too!
4. Remove yourself from the fake online community of luxury and instant pleasures. Let's be real here....we all on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and see images of super fit, tanned models driving around in supercars with designer handbags and a handsome guy by their side....and we wish that could be us....wake up!! That is not reality. These images are how the internet has made us into a money and fame hungry generation and we have lost the idea of what success really is. Ask yourself what does success mean to you....write it down and say it aloud to yourself every day. Eventually you will begin to see that being filthy rich and driving around in a luxury car isn't what you actually want from life. Sure they can be benefits of being successful, but they shouldn't ever be the means to drive that success.
5. The only thing you ever have to do is die. After all we are not immortal (slightly morbid I know)....... Everything else in life is a choice. Everything we do is because of the choices we make. All day every day we are presented with choices and we chose one. Without even knowing it we are choosing to do things automatically......but what about the choices that we can stop and think about? If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do? What about next year?
Now ask yourself "what are you doing to make that happen?". If the answer is nothing then you might as well kiss goodbye to whatever dream you have your sights on cause it ain't gonna happen by doing nothing!
I'm not talking about choosing to quit your job, sell your house and pack up the family and move to some paradise island.....just take one small step in the right direction and that means you are one step closer to accomplishing something.
To me, it seems so ridiculous and insane to not be content with a part of your life..... yet you sit on your ass and do nothing about it! Telling yourself you'll do it tomorrow, or next month or even next year. Well I've got news for you. Tomorrow also has a "tomorrow", there's another month after next month, and there's gonna be another year after next year too. If you tell yourself that it's okay to put things off until tomorrow, or next month or next year then you're setting yourself up for never doing what you want to do.
Even when we tell our inner selves that we are definitely going to do something we forget about the stronger inner self that tells us we are not ready.
Guess what...you are never going to be ready! It's the sad, harsh truth but you can chose to run and hide or you can be brave and tackle it head on.
It's your life and your story to tell. Are you going to be the coward or the hero?