It has been a couple weeks since I quit my job.
Was I excited? Yes.
Did I have so many plans laid ahead of me? Yes.
Was I looking forward to being free from the corporate life? Hell, yes.
But, alongside of this excitement, I started having this uneasy feeling. A sort of feeling you get when you have an indigestion. A sort of feeling you get when you’re taking a test that you didn’t study for. A sort of an ‘Oh, Shit!’ moment when you’ve realized your mistake too late.
Some people call this a nervous breakdown — I call it being lost in life.
You may be wondering, what I’m so lost about. I mean, I should be thrilled leaving the soul-sucking job, right?
Well, if I knew exactly what’s wrong with me, I wouldn’t be so lost. But, here’s the gist of it: I feel like a failure because I don’t have a ‘profession’ after 35 years of my life. I have a future vision, but it seems so far away and I’m not sure how to get there. There’s a huge gap between what I want to do and what I can do. And, I’m afraid the time will fly by and before I know it, I’ll be in my 50s with no achievements in life.
It could be fear, insecurity, or just plain old mid-life crisis.
But after a long thought (and, a little help from the internet), I came into a realization that being lost in life is actually no different than being physically lost on the road.
You know your destination, but not sure how to get there and how long it will take. You have limited resources and must use it wisely if you ever want to reach your destination. And, most importantly, you have to solve the problem. Yes, of course, you can ask for help, but you will have to take the initiative.
See, I believe, this analogy puts things into perspective. And only once you put things into perspective, you have a clearer, more accurate picture of your situation. Here’s another way.
Do you know anyone who’s brutally honest? Someone who can say the truth right in front of your face without being apologetic? Someone who’s so straightforward, you feel like you’ve got punched in the face and made you tear a little bit?
I thought to myself. What if I ask for an advice of my life situation to these people, what would they say?
They’ll probably say:
Shut up and be patient.
F***ing do something about it. Stop thinking and start doing.
Well, what specifically are you doing to improve your situation?
Isn’t it better to take one small action today than do nothing? I mean, just thinking about it, it’s a guarantee that you won’t achieve anything.
Yup, no empathy whatsoever. But here’s the thing — sometimes it’s necessary to hear the uncomfortable truth. With no sugar-coating whatsoever. Nada.
Why? Because only then we wake something up inside us. It can be anger, a sudden jolt, or the ‘ah-ha’ moment. Let’s admit it — we almost always want to hear what we want to hear. Here’s probably what you want to hear: Everything will be okay. It’s okay to be lost in life, it just takes time. Or, you are not alone, it’s okay to feel that way.
And, in fact, there’s so many articles talking about just that.
Really? But, HOW? How is everything going to be okay? How is it okay that you aren’t the only person feeling this way? How does that change anything? If you were lost on the road, would you really be sitting down thinking — “Oh, eventually, I’ll find my way. Everybody gets lost once in a while, so I’ll be okay.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. This clearly ain’t going to solve the problem. So then, what will?
To be honest, I don’t have a straightforward answer for you. But, if you are going through what I’m going through, I want to invite you to get up and start making some changes. A change that will hopefully help us find the way out of our mental maze.
Here are four changes I’ve made for the past week:
#1 Structure Your Day
With no structure, your day may fly by with nothing meaningful being accomplished and that’s not a good feeling to have. Structuring your day will not only boost your productivity but it will also create sense of achievement. You can schedule your calendar or create a to-do list. The tasks you have on your list can be reading, cooking or doing house chores. There’s no strict rule to this, but make sure you include something that you enjoy doing!
#2 Go For A Gratitude Walk
I’ve first heard of a ‘gratitude walk’ from Alex Ikonn. Basically, the idea is while you are taking a walk, talk about the things you are grateful for (it can be what you currently have or what you don’t have yet). The point is to show appreciation — It has been proven many times, that expressing gratitude strengthens our emotions, make us physically healthier, and overall, happy.
#3 Discover New Places
Try going to places that you’ve always wanted to go but haven’t done so simply because you were too busy. Or, be spontaneous and pick a random place you’ve never visited. You don’t even have to go far — short visits are just fine. It will create excitement and joy!
#4 Engage In Self-Talk
Take a moment everyday to engage with your thoughts — it’s an act of mindfulness and self-awareness. Ask yourself thought-provoking questions and answer them meaningfully. It can be as little as 5 minutes and there are no limits to your questions (for example, what are your concerns and why do you have them? What are your future goals and dreams? What sparks joy?). Being attentive to your thoughts will help you understand yourself at the very core. You may also discover something about yourself that you weren’t aware of. All in all, you will have more clarity, purpose, and control in life.
Truthfully, from time to time, I still have those uncomfortable feelings. Maybe, it won’t ever go away. But, just like how you would ask for directions, re-set your GPS, or use a compass when lost on the road, at the very least, I have strategies, a plan in place. And, I can look in the eyes of my brutally honest friends and tell them that I am, in fact, being patient. That I did something to improve my current situation.
So, stop thinking and start doing. The changes may be small. It may not even have a huge impact today. But, I can assure you that you can find your way once again.
P.S.: Have you ever been lost in life? If so, what was your experience like? What was your strategy to overcome those feelings? Please share in the comment section below — I would love to hear it! Oh, and if you enjoyed this article, please share with others! Cheers! 🙂