I’m coming clean. I’m guilty of something.
It’s something every single one of us does, but I’ve been embroiled in it lately.
Something ‘bad’ will happen, and a certain kind of rhetoric entrenches in my mind:
- I don’t know what I’m doing with my life.
- Everything feels like it’s going backwards.
- I feel like I’m half the man I was five, ten years ago.
- I’m making decisions with zero certainty that they’re the right ones.
- I feel distant from everything and everyone I love as we all get older.
All of this, every single shred of it, is bullshit.
I could sit here and say “I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I’m healthy, living in a (relatively) free country, I’ve had an awesome life, I have people I love who love me back. I could be starving in [insert third world country].”
And yeah, that’s true. But in reality, all suffering is relative. If we lived a life of luxury and riches and ease, the simplest problem would feel life-crushing.
But I digress. The real reason all those aforementioned thoughts I have are bullshit is simple:
They are pure undiluted fear, disguised as the truth.
Some people might only have days to live, or are facing incredible adversity. Even those heavy, truly significant problems, are only events–we decide what they mean. The fear that they can create will only paralyze you. It will keep you from enjoying the moments of your life as they happen. It is bullshit.
We all have problems. We all have doubts, we all live in a world of uncertainty. While I’m carrying this weight around, I’m sleepwalking through precious, beautiful days of my life.
So maybe I have no idea what my future is. Maybe I’m nothing like the me I was when I was younger. Maybe some things in my life are going completely awry. Maybe I’ll never know if the decisions I’m making are the right ones. Maybe what I thought I wanted out of life has changed drastically. So it goes. So it has ever gone, for me and for everyone else.
Just let go. To hell with all the paralyzing fear that makes you want to never get out of bed. Change is inevitable. And not just the change you expect. Change you always secretly feared or never wanted will happen. But change is the nature of being alive.
Every problem can be described as this: You have a plan, an expectation. That expectation is not met or goes sideways. Anger, fear, doubt ensues.
I won’t sit here and tell you to live a life without expectations. But I will say this:
Life will probably go nothing like you thought it would. That’s alright. It is full of incomparably beautiful moments. Enjoy them, and the wildly different experiences that will follow. You cannot stop change. Fear is bullshit. Let it go.