I have to admit, I’ve been in a rut lately. I’ve been struggling with insecurity, anxiety and this constant, gnawing feeling that “I’m not quite there yet,” wherever, there is.
To back it up a bit, I’ve been working a constant 9-5 job since I graduated. And while marketing and social media never sleep, the roles I’ve held have all been “traditional” corporate jobs. By no means this isn’t to take away from my current job – I like the work and I love my coworkers – but I have this nagging feeling of “is this it”?
One of my coworkers brought this up the other day: I’m in my late twenties and after having worked 5 years, there’s no “goal” I’m working towards, no term paper I need to finish, no exam I have to get through, no MBA I need to complete. I’m very much a goal-oriented person with an A-type personality so to suddenly have no adult milestones on the horizon (beyond the “traditional” ones of marriage, children, etc.) has suddenly left me feeling adrift.
So enough of this preamble: I’m about to break it down and make it super real for y’all because these types of conversations, no matter how difficult, are easier to have and to share the more we talk about it in the open. Deep breath, here goes.
Doubt and Insecurity:
Doubt: a feeling of uncertainty. A truer statement was never said. The feelings I’ve described above can best be summed up as: am I enough? When I stack myself up against ______, where do I stand? How do I compare? When they were in my role/my age/my position, what were they up to?
I’ve experienced this on both a personal and professional level. I love social media but knowing what everyone is doing and hearing about all of their successes at such an intimate level definitely brings the doubt with a capital D. I am thankful to have an awesome network of girl bosses, goal crushers and realists, along with my hugely supportive boyfriend, who I can lean on and help put everything into perspective.
This one’s a biggie for me. Just the other night, I ended up skipping date night and free tickets to the Canucks game because a bout of anxiety hit me so hard I felt I couldn’t breathe. I mentioned I’m an A-type right? So when things aren’t going according to plan, for whatever reason, makes it feel as if the four walls around me are closing in.
But as I write this and reflect on my triggers, I think it’s important to understand exactly that: your triggers. This weekend it was because I felt I hadn’t accomplished enough on my “to-do” list. I know, silly right? But what’s important here is knowing what pushes your buttons and likewise, how can you prevent them? I’m still struggling on the “prevention” step but I know for myself reminding myself to keep a balance and not letting things get so overwhelming you can’t breathe is what’s key — this is hard, as I find I get tunnel vision in these situations. And when that doesn’t work, go outside and walk your dog – just get a new perspective to distract yourself momentarily.
Nothing is what you want it to be, and that’s okay. I’ve definitely gotten better at this over the years and I attribute this 100% to my boyfriend who has an endless well of patience. I don’t mean lie down and take it but when things aren’t going the way you want, or maybe you’ve heard “no” one too many times, or maybe you didn’t get the promotion you wanted, it’s okay. I’m a big believer in signs and I’ve often found that when things aren’t going the way you intended them to, there’s a larger reason at play — the hardest part is waiting to find out what that larger reason is! But trust me, it’s going to be okay.
Embracing the New:
Again, A-type personality here. The unknown is terrifying! How can you plan for something when you don’t even know what’s coming down the pipeline?! My workaround has been to future proof everywhere that I can and to be proactive. Saving for a rainy day, asking someone you admire out for a coffee, or taking on that freelance project — all of this well help prepare you so that when the time comes and the unknown hits, you’re ready for it.