When did We Lose Ourselves?

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Via GIFY

I was sitting outside last night, smoking a cigarette, and as I watched the smoke float up into the air, I thought, why do I do this to myself? Because it feels good? Sure, but how long does that actually last? For me, maybe a few minutes or a few hours, depending on my level of stress. For others, it could be different. But it wasn’t the cigarette I was concerned about, it was the general idea of why we do terrible things to ourselves?

Drinking until blacked out; inflicting physical pain; inflicting emotion pain, starving; throwing up; binge eating; self-deprecation; doing drugs; the list goes on. We do these things to feel better or maybe to escape, but is that the actual outcome? Does it last? Hours, days, months, even years later, do we actually feel better or free from our problems? If it’s consistent, then maybe the answer is yes. I can attest to many of these actions helping me to cope with various issues, but when it comes down to it, at the end of the day my problems are still there and I’m left with mental and sometimes physical scars.

Some people aren’t able to ever stop and see the other side. I’ve straddled that line many times, and may be doing so right now. It’s hard to see and even harder to sit down with yourself and ask “why?” The hardest part, in my opinion, is learning that reason, or that there is no real “reason,” and trying to figure out how in the hell to stop and find a better way to cope. That’s the place I’m in and I’ve been in multiple times. You’re in limbo, not sure where the light is at the end of the tunnel, or if it even exists. I like to believe it does, but I’ve yet to see it.

I know it’s much more complicated than the things I’ve written here, because I’ve lived it. I’m still living it. But I still beg the question:

Why do we find it so easy to destroy ourselves?

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It’s Time To Start Living

“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75”
-Benjamin Franklin

Your twenties are a time of making mistakes and learning from them and discovering your likes and dislikes, but that isn’t the case for everyone. It’s also a time to start thinking about what you really want in life and that’s really f*cking hard.

I thought about myself and realized that I’m not truly living my life to its full potential. I have a mindless part-time job and I’ve lost sight of a lot of my passions, which has led me to this haze of confusion and panic. It’s not enjoyable and it’s no way to live a life. I want to focus on the now, but there are times when the now just isn’t cutting it and I need to start thinking a little bit about my future and what it holds.

I need to make a change and what better time than now when I have all this free time due to my lack of a real job.

Here are some helpful tips to start getting your shit together, while still being able to focus on the most important part of life: the present.

Create a Mind-Map.

After reading 1000 Internet articles about happiness bullshit (I refuse to lose my cynicism) I became even more confused and hopeless. I started to think about all those random college courses I took on stress for an easy A and I remembered making a “mind-map” which is basically one of those big webs that has a central idea/goal and then branches off into several smaller ideas.

It’s basically a big mess but connecting everything together turns chaos into a semi-cohesive map.

I found it hard to think of one “big” goal for the center because I literally have zero idea what I want for the future. So instead I made a few simple objectives that I want to complete within the next year (have my own apartment, find more hobbies, learn more about my passions) and next split those up into smaller goals, and then even smaller tasks to complete those goals.


Invest in a Planner.

I needed to find a decent planner to help me focus on my daily/weekly tasks and objectives. I have a tendency to buy outrageously expensive planners and then NEVER touch them because planning makes me anxious and spending money makes me calm, so it took a little more research.

Finally I just googled “best planners” and I successfully found a great planner for $30 bucks that even had guides to figuing a lot of this shit out. Time to start planning!


Find a Hobby.

Over the years I have completely lost track of the things that I used to truly enjoy doing with my free time, aka I found Netflix and never looked back. In my new planner I made a list of activities that I remembered enjoying and some new ones that I thought sounded fun and started figuring out how to plan these things into my schedule.

Becoming engaged in all the different activities helped me to remember how much I used to love painting, writing and being generally crafty/creative, while also introducing me to the new Barre trend, which I now love. Additionally I remembered that I absolutely detest trying to learn how to play the guitar. It’s just not fun and there’s no point.


Look At Job Descriptions.

Finding a job that I enjoy or at least could manage to do without stabbing myself is one of my main goals, but I can’t find something if I don’t know what it looks like. If you already have a job that you love, maybe figure out what steps you need to take to gain more responsibilities in your current position or even to get a promotion.

I began with writing down things that my ideal job would have, like structure with room for creativity, friendly and outgoing coworkers, and a short commute from my current living situation (aka living with my parents). Once I had a pretty basic list, I hit the job boards and stopped focusing on job titles and started looking into the actual descriptions to find what I thought would be a good fit. It’s definitely a long process, but now I have a better idea of what it is that I’m searching for.


Make a Budget.

Hobbies can get very expensive, especially when you’re still trolling the job boards, i.e. saving money is of the highest necessity. Your daily salad/sandwich lunch combo; your extremely important Netflix subscription: these things all add up and they add up quickly. Before you know it, you’re the best-dressed person working three jobs just to afford everything.

Enter Mint.com, a trusty money-managing app/website. I started to see what I was spending too much on (shoes) and then made a monthly budget to keep track of my income versus my expenditures and where I could make improvements (stop buying shit). Now it’s easier for me to figure out how much of my paycheck to put into my savings and how much I can use to spend on clothing (I’m a realist- I’m buying the damn shoes). One step closer to my goal of getting the HELL out of my parent’s house while still being trendy.


Find Your Motivation.

What do you look forward to during the week? Is it your daily vanilla latte or a weekend getaway with friends. Whatever it may be, use it to keep you going when you start to get the Sunday Scaries” and let it lift you throughout the week. To keep that motivation going while working on your budget, tell yourself that in order to afford your daily treat, you need to save x amount of dollars with each paycheck.

Want that new Kate Spade purse? Create a money-jar and put in $10 every time you go out and try a new activity or send in a job application and watch the money pile up. You’ll be surprised how much of an effort you make when a prize is involved.


Have Confidence and Support.

The final step in my process to not figuratively dying at 25 is to not take everything so seriously and to have a good support system. The previous steps are each important and have continued to help me along, but they aren’t without wiggle room. Life is full or ups and downs and sometimes they are out of your control. I’m only 24 and far from perfect.

Life doesn’t stop for anything or anyone, you just need to make sure and try to pick yourself back up. If you don’t think you can do it alone, or you find yourself suddenly lacking motivation, enlist a friend or a family member to help out. Never underestimate the power of a good bitch-sesh with your bestie or watching a Lifetime movie with your mom on a rainy day. We can’t conquer the world on our own.

I don’t want to stop living at 25 and go through the next 50 years of my life in a dense fog of hate and boredom. I want to start existing in life and doing things that I want to do, and have a great time doing them! Life can get a lot shittier if you let it get past you and I’m sick of that happening. Figure out what works for you and go for it. Life’s too short to spend one more day hating it.

Disease/Disorder

It really irks me when scholars, doctors, and damn insurance companies separate the term disease from disorder. I get that there are differences, but many disorders cause diseases. I know that technically there is no real scientific evidence, but I still think it’s bullshit and everyone should agree with me. The end.