As you get older, things mean more to you. You start to realise that time is ticking by a hell of a lot faster than it used to and you begin to weigh up exactly what you’ve done with your own.
Who am I? What have I done with my life? Who will remember my name?
Within an instant, a fat, black cloud hovers above your head and starts raining on your parade. You thought you were going to have a good day. You had high hopes for a top afternoon of merrily eating your lunch alfresco with a sneaky glass of vino in hand, and now, thanks to nagging niggles, they’ve been washed away.
With so much going on in modern-life that can impact our mental well-being, it’s of no real surprise us adults get days like this. The pressure is solely on you to make your life better, and sometimes, the world around us just doesn’t want to play ball. Everything seems against you and it’s not your fault, dammit! And that’s just the thing – it’s not your fault, so chill with the happy-quashing already.
Competing with yourself is not always a healthy practice if it leads you to this place. Things don’t always go to plan, sh*t seems to be flung in 3’s, and sometimes, you just get tired of constantly batting it away.
Being an adult doesn’t mean you’re a walking, talking Encyclopedia of knowledge. When things go wrong that one too many times, it’s okay to say you don’t know what to do. Admitting that to yourself doesn’t mean you’ve failed. After all, no-one ever said that the path to greatness was going to be a smooth one, did they?
Ultimately, accepting our lives for all that they are (and have been) is the only thing that’ll ground us. Trying to compare your success – or lack thereof – with someone else of your age or gender will only serve to bring you down. You’ve got to stop hating yourself because you’re not there yet. The bigger the dream, the longer it’ll take to get there, and the further you go, the harder it’ll become to master. That’s the aim of the game.
When you think about it, life is a little bit like a game of snakes and ladders. Everything seems to be working in your favour one minute – jubilantly landing on one ladder after another – only to suddenly stumble on a snake and slide your way back down to the beginning. It’s exasperating! But that doesn’t mean the game is finished. You’ve not been knocked off the board. It only means that it’s time to take a break.
So when this annoying situation slips you into frustrated despair, remember not to throw your counter at the nearest player and storm off. In order to begin the process of tackling this difficulty and overcoming the sadness it’s caused, there is only one place to start: Accept the situation and your feelings towards it.
Retreat for as long as necessary and use your time wisely to challenge how to approach things again when you’re ready. Also, remember that it’s not over unless you give up trying. A happy person knows that they sometimes have to admit defeat – it’s part of the process. But they maintain belief in who they are and what they have to give, and so will always be ready for future opportunities when they arise; which they will.
Lastly, feeling happier begins by acknowledging all the good things you have. Of course, we are all naturally competitive (it’s how we learn and grow as individuals) but when sh*t hits the fan, it’s better to remember the good things we’ve achieved in our lives, rather than the ones we haven’t. Identifying these simple pleasures again will help reignite the flame of your bigger passions, and soon enough, you’ll feel spurred on and ready to try again. But this time, with a stronger head on your shoulders.
It’s essentially all about staying positive and focusing on what matters. Even when things are a bit shitty and you’re feeling particularly negative, handle it with optimism. If you’re feeling swamped, take a day off work and pamper yourself. If you’re feeling lonely, go see your friends. And if you’re feeling low and don’t know where to begin, then hit pause for a bit and recharge your batteries.
It’s okay to not be okay. Just know that it won’t last forever.