Adulting isn’t easy. We spend our high school and college careers dreaming of the day that we become independent, move into meaningful careers and truly start living. Then the reality kicks in and we realize that we had more disposable income as a student and that independent life really means doing everything for yourself. Adulting is hard, so much harder than we expect it to be, and the worst part is, we continually put more and more pressure on ourselves to do it better. That’s where we’re going wrong, we’re overthinking it and making it more difficult than it needs to be. Let’s all take a moment to think about some of the ways we’re overthinking adulthood and causing ourselves unnecessary stress:
Trying to achieve all of our goals at once.
Life goals, career goals, relationship goals – we try to do it all. We graduate and we suddenly want everything to fall into place instantaneously. What we should do is take it one step at a time. For example, working super hard for a promotion at the office, but letting your social life slip for a few weeks. Just prioritize what matters most right now, and be sure to regain the other things when life gets a little less hectic later on.
Focusing on what you haven’t done rather than what you have.
It’s so easy to disregard the progress that you are making and focus on the things you haven’t yet achieved. We’re an ambitious generation who are always looking forward, but it doesn’t hurt once in awhile to look back and celebrate the achievements you have made, big or small. You may find that you have much more to be proud of that you give yourself credit for.
Social media makes it almost too easy to compare ourselves to others.
What you must remember is that people post their absolute highs on social media – no one (or at least no one we really want to be friends with) posts about their problems. Watching our friends’ lives pass us by via cellphone screens every day draws way too much attention to the achievements of those around us, which can make us feel inadequate. Stop comparing yourself to others (especially to their Facebook feeds) and get some perspective.
Overthinking the small things.
I’m all too guilty of this. I give myself a hard time for forgetting to buy cereal three days in a row or grabbing a microwave meal for dinner rather than taking the time to cook. These things genuinely do not matter though – I mean as long as I have toast, I’ll be okay! Sometimes life is hectic and chaotic and you just don’t have time to sweat the details- as long as you are eating, showering, and showing up at the office on the reg, you’re doing okay, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Image obsessions and all that is wrong with ‘idealist’ media.
From a young age, a “perfectionist” image is thrust into our retinas via magazines, television shows, movies and celebrity culture. Not only do we compare ourselves to our friends, but we compare ourselves to people we have never met. We actively try to make our lives more like those of the hottest celebs and sculpt our bodies and wardrobes to mirror theirs as well. UMM WHY?! We seriously need to stop this madness and quit defining ourselves by unattainable, and, frankly, unnecessary standards!
Doing what we think we should rather than what we want to.
We consider our decisions in too many paradigms and all too often opt for the route that we think we should, rather than the one we want to. From the little things all the way to the bigger decisions, we worry too much about what others will think of our choices and what will ultimately be best for our careers/relationships/health. What we should be doing is paying more attention to what we want and going with our instincts.
We don’t live in the moment.
We spend so much of our lives wondering, worrying over and planning for the future, and not enough time enjoying the right now. We need to spend more minutes soaking up what we have and appreciating the good things that surround us and less time imagining how our lives could be, idealizing and conditioning our happiness on things that aren’t as important as we imagine them to be.
Figuring out how to adult is difficult, so let’s try to make it just a little bit easier for ourselves by giving up these silly traits and giving ourselves a break once in awhile. Ambition is excellent, dreams are integral to success, but ramen noodles and Netflix binges are acceptable too. Don’t overthink it, just live it and enjoy the journey.