It's hard to admit that most of my life has been encompassed with worries, but it wouldn't be an honest post if I don't. I've worried about getting good grades, about making the "right" kind of friends, of being overweight, of being accepted in any and every social circle, of being the child my parents would want me to be while simultaneously trying to discover who I am as a person as I embark on my adulthood.
A lot of mental space and time has been devoted to these concerns and I'd love to say that they helped me achieve enlightenment and become the Ubermensch, but of course they did not. They only made me self-conscious and slightly neurotic, manifesting in my inability to really step outside myself and realize that most of the things I worry about don't matter. Foresight might give a bit of an edge when it comes to careers or choosing the right partner, but the constant rumination over what I would have wanted to happen versus what is actually happening serves no purpose other than sleepless nights and the odd stress-induced yeast infection.
So, why do we do this? I would assume it's a form of adaptation and survival in our concrete jungles where the the main threats are an inability to navigate the Internet and heart disease. There's no real physical release of cortisol that gets built up in our office jobs, because we are forced to stay seated for 8+ hours a day, so it forces its way out through random heart palpitations and that end-of-the-world feeling common in angsty teenagers the world over.
And how do we stop? I don't think there's any way to really stop feeling worried because it's part of our intuition. But what I think we can do (and what I plan on doing myself) is disregarding the 'should' and focusing more on the 'is'. I can stress all day every day about what should be happening in my life, what I should be doing, what things should look like based on the generic template of a small few. But what I want to do instead is focus on what is happening and deciding from there if I want to change it or not.
I've always been told that "normal" people, especially "desirable" women, shouldn't be doing certain things. What should we be doing then if not what our hearts or minds desire? If you noticed in my recent post, I did something on this blog and my Instagram that I haven't done before because of this innate worry of how people think I should be acting. I put a picture of myself up of me in my bra. While that may not scream 'rebellion' (considering the plethora of Instagram models whose literal jobs it is to do that and more), it was a big deal to me because I threw out a notion that I'd had in my head for a very long time - "good" women shouldn't show their bodies.
This was one of many milestones in my adulthood as I separate myself from who I thought I should be to who I am and actually representing that truth - my truth - in my writing. Undoubtedly, I have a long way to go and unlike many of my fellow young women I started late in the race, but as they say, it's never too late. It may take some time and I expect to go through some uncomfortable growing pains during the process, but it already feels like I've brushed debris off the ancient relic of who I could have become if I'd stopped caring about trivial things a long time ago.
This is a challenge that everyone can attempt especially if you're feeling as uncertain about things in your mid-twenties as I am. I'd love to know what you think about this post and if you've had any similar experiences.