I awoke one morning at 4am after falling asleep at midnight. Maybe it was the wine. I jolted awake and these thoughts ran wildly through my mind.
Everything (and everyone) is but a speck in the ocean of time and life.
This one is for you fellow night owls. Whatever is eating you up inside today, be it:
- a challenging relationship that’s been testing your patience and sanity
- a friendship that’s currently giving you grief
- a lack of job options available to you
- the fear of not having or owning enough
- the fear of not being loved for being you
- wondering late into the night if you need to be “better”, “thinner”, “hotter”, “smarter”, to not feel so alone (and awake)
- drama in the (night) club
- facing (or avoiding) family that doesn’t get you
- thinking you’ll never be respected for your choices
As a former teenager and now a young adult, I have nothing to offer but this piece of advice,
The days are long, but the years are short.
Oh, how much time I spent, mulling and moping moodily and now looking back, how fast those years passed.
The thing about growing up and getting older is that you’ll realise (some of us sooner than others) that the time we spend agonising over these details at points in our life, is just a tiny speck in the context of this incredibly vast blue ocean that’s our lives.
How deep and wide can our lives get? I don’t know. But you get a better idea as you grow older.
Recommended Music: Moving in Slow Motion by The Sweet Remains
Nothing Bad Lasts Forever
It just feels like forever
Recalling my teenage years, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything different.
I wasn’t a great student and I was constantly late for classes, even the ones I enjoyed. My days in polytechnic passed in a whirl. I mostly felt alone when I was surrounded by friends. My family was “broken” by conventional standards (whatever conventional may be) and I had really strained relationships at home. I often felt disconnected from my family.
I screwed up my internship and scored a C. This pulled down my GPA drastically and I didn’t manage to get into a local university. I was so disappointed with myself, I didn’t even try. I couldn’t afford the private university fees. I went straight to work. I got into a really bad relationship.
I spent many nights drunk and crying myself to sleep, writing in a little brown book what must be the closest I’ll get to ever being Lang Leav (nowhere close actually, but cringeworthy self-pity was a hallmark of my writing).
Eventually things started looking up. All you got to do is to surrender to life. Feel the lows as they come, enjoy the high points, but never holding on to one state.
They arrive on the heels of hard times
When you’re younger, it feels exhilarating to be on this crazy trajectory, but when you hit a low, it becomes so easy to stay there because you’re frozen by fear, self-doubt and/or self-pity. It’s a weird thing to say, but everybody wants to be the protagonist of their own story. Wallowing during low times tend to put us in focus as the lead character.
One thing I’ve sort of learnt through my crazy younger years, is the ability to let hard, sad times go. I also remember better that not everything bad that happens to me is anyone’s fault – not even mine. I can be responsible, without self-blame. I’ll make better choices with the facts I know, not my beliefs. This little lesson makes life more fulfilling and filled with far less drama. Basically I stop overthinking and start introspecting.
I have a different love for my parents now after the many years spent avoiding opening up to them.
My past failed relationship finally ended because someone else decided to let it go – to my benefit. At that point, it felt like betrayal, today it feels like liberation and the beginning of a new life that led to today.
I left some friends behind and learnt to maintain my relationships differently. I sometimes feel like no one cares still, but I remind myself that this is not a fact but a belief I feed myself.
After my failed internship, I was offered a challenging job by someone I met during that same internship. She saw potential in me when I thought all I amounted to was nothing much. I put all my self worth in how people evaluated me, but had I evaluated myself more accurately, I might have been more motivated and discovered my own potential earlier.
The thing is I was caught up analysing a tiny portion of my life under a microscope and because of that I forgot to look wide and focus out.
I recently got married. This is a life milestone I have avoided like the plague, but things just happen. A person who loves me in a way I don’t even think I love myself comes into my life and shows me a different perspective, a different view of the big breathtaking blue.
You cannot plan or orchestrate anything. You are just a tiny speck in a big blue ocean and when you surrender to that thought and realise there’s nothing bad about that, you realise just how amazing every moment can (potentially) be – even the f*ing shitty ones.
Own Your Life
Tell your story in many different ways
And here’s the kicker.
We all think everything that happens in our lives is part of an elaborate narrative. It’s not. It’s just a bunch of things happening and we attach the meaning we want to those series of moments. We create a story of our lives we tell ourselves and others.
You know what’s crazy? That can change any moment. Change your perspective and it changes your ENTIRE life. The moment you put on a different pair of glasses, new paths open.
Just remember when you’re down and out – feeling so alone – that everything you know about yourself, based on what you think other people think, are merely beliefs and not facts.
Facts are things you sure as hell did do. Like getting drunk, for instance, and puking on a friend. Your friend is angry. Fact, fact and fact again.
Beliefs are thoughts that go, “You are a horrible friend, because no good friend would get drunk and make life hard for their friends. You’ll always be a bad friend because you never change.”
Say sorry. Move on. Feel really sorry. Empathise with your friend and understand how she felt and why she got mad. Feel bad. Own it. Go ahead, but stop blaming yourself.
Grow. Do something different. Accept that you made a mistake. Promise yourself and others you’ll be better, but don’t for a minute believe the bullshit you’re feeding yourself that you can never change. Don’t get stuck in becoming a victim of yourself in your self-crafted narrative. Tell me the story of your struggle… and of your victory.
It took me 10 years to reach this state of mind and way too many lessons. I truly hope with all my heart, it’ll take you less.