I’m in my late 20s, which means I’m in that weird place where I have a few friends doing great things, some still in the same place they were in ten years ago (in their parents basement smoking ganja), and others that are just waking up to a life they enjoy living in auto-pilot. Some have gotten married and settled down, and a few are still looking for something special. Some haven’t gotten the shag-a-thons out of their system yet, either. Now, whether it’d be chaos or monotony that keeps them complacent, I have very few friends who are fighting to become the best versions of themselves.
Going Against the Rest
One thing that may be happening is you’re still rolling with friends who have been your gang since high school and you have some weird sense of camaraderie about life. Best case scenario, you were all ambitious geeks with your 5 year plans, ready to pursue a well thought out path. But let’s be honest, that’s not the case for most of us. Some of us have had to experience being the ‘first’ of the group to experience something new. For example, maybe you were the first to get pregnant, or to get a full-time job. Maybe you were the first to move back home after life gave you its first real spanking. That, or you’re experiencing being the ‘last’ one of the gang to jump on the bandwagon. Maybe all your friends are married with their 2.5 kids, or are on their way to a successful career. We do love our gangs. They’re the first to come over when something big happens and they’re the last to judge you when you screw up. We couldn’t imagine surviving some of life’s curveballs without them, right? Right. Well, at some point, you have to detach and realize that you have your own life to live. First, you need to accept the rhythm of your years. Maybe Suzie-cakes was ready to be a mommy fresh out of college - and maybe you won’t be ready until your mid 30s. Maybe you’ll never figure out one thing you’re supposed to do or be in this life; maybe you’re meant to do or be a million things. More importantly, no matter what the collective stand on ‘ambition’ is within your gang, you’re allowed to want something more (or different) and you should never be afraid to fight for it.
Going Against Yourself
There’s no doubt about our environment playing a huge role in how we view our lives. What plays an even bigger role? Yourself. So many of the obstacles we face are put there by our very own doing, that placing blame on the world always seems like the easier option. But there comes a point where you have to realize you are responsible for your own life and the boundaries you place for yourself.
Stop Playing the Victim
The first thing you have to do, above all else, is you need to stop playing the victim. So maybe your friends have jobs and families and you’re back to living with your parents because a job opportunity went sour. The victim card is not a key card to get you into a better life. You have to get up and make the changes yourself. More than just wasting time whining, playing the victim creates a mental barrier for you and soon you’ll start to believe this crazy idea that you have no control over your life. You’ll start to view yourself as this helpless little thing that just takes hits and is at the mercy of circumstances outside of its control. Wake the fuck up or chain yourself to a corner, because life will be full of punches and you’ll just voluntarily position yourself to take each blow.
Free Your Spirit (and Your Mind)
We are slaves to much more than circumstances; we’re slaves to societal standards of perfection, to romantic ideals, and to labels we’ve adopted through life, like mother, lover, sister, and friend. A million obligations and none are to ourselves. The reality is, life is chaos, and it can be exhausting. What makes it even more exhausting is the mental chaos we voluntarily add to it by setting boundaries for ourselves, doubting our abilities, and lowering our self-worth at every downturn. Imagine the peace in silencing all that is unnecessary. Imagine making yourself a priority and enjoying the special treatment you deserve.
Take Back Control
It all starts within you. Putting yourself first means being stronger and more able to take on the rest. It means being a better friend, a more attentive lover, and a more efficient worker. It means giving your life purpose instead of waiting for one of its punches to knock you out. It means, maybe, becoming a leader in your gang instead of the first or last to experience something new. First, you need to detach from the dependence you have on your environment. Ignore everyone else’s pace, understand that, in many ways, we’re all victims to life’s circumstances, but it’s what you do with each experience that defines you. Next, you need to sit in front of a mirror and take a long, hard look at yourself and the mental blocks you’ve put there. Understand that you’re the only one with the key to those handcuffs and that once you’re able to escape, a beautiful life of hope and happiness awaits. Nothing matters in life if you’re not enjoying living it.