I don’t suffer from anxiety, which makes me feel like I’m not a part of a super-select VIP group out there. JK, anxiety is an extremely hard issue to deal with and go through, and I commend all the people out there suffering through it and bringing awareness to its power. But, sparing those Thursday nights I stay up until 2:30 AM having an existential crisis Googling “grad schools in Europe” and “I HAVE NO FIVE YEAR PLAN WEB MD HELP,” I’m pretty calm. This doesn’t mean I’m not nervous during a good amount of my life. But I’ve come to realize that most of the stressors that do get to me are pretty irrational and just plain pointless. There’s so much real shit we all should be worried about (wtf we are going to do about climate control, why they cancelled Smash) that we just have to take a hard pass on caring about the things that aren’t actually worth a freak out. Like these:
1. You’re not going to wake up one day and have all your friends hate you.
Do you ever have that daydream where you go up to a table of all your friends for lunch and they all turn at you like, “no we all hate you, you’re awful and your presence contributes nothing to us”? You probably have, and unless your friends with the Heathers, this will almost definitely never happen. Not responding to a text for a few days doesn’t make you friendless, it just makes you kind of spacey and a little self-centered, but your friend sent a selfie saying ‘tell me I look good,’ so you two can BOND over your self-centeredness! It’s the second best thing to bring friends closer, besides mutual hatred of a third party.
2. An awful day doesn’t mean the rest of your life will be awful.
Do you have a really hard exam today, on top of being worried about that job application due at 5 PM and that zit on your chin that’s livin’ and laughin’ all over your selfies? It happens. And they’ll happen. AND THEN THEY’RE DONE! One of the best things I tell myself to get through really hard days is that there is a tomorrow. I know what you’re thinking, “Uh yeah, I have a calendar too. Please stop talking to me and let me sit in a ball.” But, I know when I’m extremely worked up, you sometimes forget that all these events, while important separately, have an end date. Not only does it calm you down, it gives you a much clearer state of mind to actually complete all these tasks (accept curing acne, because if I knew the answer to that I would have been much more popular in middle school).
3. Not being in a long-term relationship right now doesn’t condemn you to that #SpinsterLife.
I’m not sure if it’s because during our youth Sex and the City was on more hours of the day than there are hours in the day, but so many of us in our twenties are obsessed with finding a long-term partner like, by lunch. Snap out of it! We’re the first generation that have been told, “hey we kind of have a lot of people in our world, and it can’t really sustain it supes well so like.. just chill!” and we should embrace that. Relax, go on dates, go out, and definitely don’t rush. Settling down may seem like a dream for people who are tired and lonely, and I understand that. So when you start to feel that way, just remember what the legend Whitney Houston told us: that the greatest love of all is learning to love yourself. And sure, you can’t have a couples photo shoot in the woods, but least you know for a fact you definitely don’t have ticks.
4. Being three pounds overweight and unemployed is not the worst thing that can happen to you (I KNOW!).
As much as we want to be, we can’t all be Lauren Conrad. Beautiful, employed forever, and kind of always living in an early-2000s dream. We just can’t. But that doesn’t mean we should just panic and give up. Sure, you keep downloading My Fitness Pal hoping for the best but only to get reminders that you haven’t tracked your meals in 3 days because you’re embarrassed of all the late-night pizza you ate. Stop that! Never be ashamed of late-night pizza! Just like you didn’t care how you put way too much hot sauce on your slice, you shouldn’t care if someone thinks you could lose some weight. As long as you’re trying your best to be healthy, don’t stress. Instead, find things you like to do that are healthy—like waking up early to get a morning walk in or challenging yourself to make at least one fresh meal a day.
Much like being proud of your own body, you should be proud of your own career path. One of the most important gems of wisdom I keep in my mind (which is primarily filled with Teresa Giudice quotes) is to never compare your Introduction to someone else’s Intermission. AKA someone’s finished pizza isn’t better than your ball of dough, it’s just at a different stage. So get off the LinkedIn of your classmate who is doing everything you want to do, and just start doing what you want to do. They may have more experience than you, which they’ve worked for, and now it’s time for you to stop worrying and do the same. There’s nothing more rewarding than getting work done and seeing results for it. Plus, if you keep doing what you’re doing, and doing it well (à la Jennifer Lopez), opportunities will show up—and maybe even money!
Just take a deep breath, take a break from whatever you’re doing, and realize that while it may come as a shock to you—you’re going to be just fine.