It’s no secret that social media can be exasperating.
Seeing friends, particularly those within the same age-range, post updates of their accomplishments can be a bit, well, disenchanting.
This was one factor that led to my own ardent belief that not only should I have a six-figure career by now, or be travelling wildly around India on the backs of elephants and backpacking across Europe for an entire summer, but be madly in love, adorning a sparkling 10-carat diamond on my finger. Or something like that, anyway.
Possibly this contributed a bit to what I call my “quarter-life crisis”, a fantastically overwhelming sense that I has become –yes — a total loser.
Of course when you spend time comparing your life to the experience of others, you will inevitably end up being disappointed. My own life was being vastly distorted and reduced to mere ash by the very though that I was supposed to have my life together (as though there were some requirement for me to have all the answers!).
What I was failing to take into account was that these feelings of inadequacy were distracting me from some of the ripest, juiciest years of my life: The Soul-Searching Years.
And these don’t necessarily happen in your 20’s, either. These times are injected into our lives periodically as a PAUSE button, one which is made for taking time to re-evaluate. To test the waters. To play. To get a little bit messy in hopes that we discover new faculties and strengths.
What do these times require? Being A-Okay with ambiguity. Trusting that it serves a vital function.
And my God, yes it does.
The emotions that resulted from resisting my Soul-Searching Years were vastly profound and overwhelming, and energy I spent reprimanding myself for not having accomplished more was desperately needing to be redirected into conscious, loving introspection and deep and meaningful exploration. In my perceived ‘stuckness’, life was simply inviting me to get to know myself on a new level.
There are years meant for action, and years meant for reflection. The Soul-Searching Years are best spent compiling information, making connections, trying out to new things, and hopefully failing a bit, too. Even though it might not look like it, periods of perceived aimlessness can be periods of profound growth, and nothing can stunt that growth more than feeling like you are supposed to have it all figured out already.
My best advice: Ease into the unknown. Go inward. Ask questions –lots and lots of questions, and be open enough to receive the answers. They will come, at the right time.
(And if you need to, maybe even deactivate that Facebook page for a little while.)
Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Maybe (just maybe) there is a reason for all of it. And, in the words of Confucius: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”