11 Life Hacks For The Emotionally Struggling 20-Something

4 Uncomfortable Signs It’s Time For You To Make A Major Life Change

It’s time to get comfortable with your own, profound, inevitable evolution.

I’m not just talking about astrological shifts (although the recent full moon in Pisces has signaled a need to surrender to the inimitable flow of change). I’m talking life changes, and major ones, the kinds you get glimpses of after a cup of solid java, the ones that hide behind a shivery silver fear.

These don’t happen at midlife or in your late twenties or with any planned timeline. They are potent and startling and, strangely enough, timely (although you don’t know it yet).

It can be beyond challenging to step into one of these willingly. That’s why major life changes plan sneak attacks (for the most part).

Yet they are also delivered gently and mindfully, and you ultimately have control over accepting them. In fact, it may be time for you to make one right now. You’re reading this article, aren’t you?

Here’s how to tell a change is looming.

1. It’s becoming harder and harder to wake up as your best self.

Scientist and New Age writer Gregg Braden—author of The Divine Matrix—once said in an interview that he does not step out of bed until he feels he is embodying his best self. That’s a tall order, and I confess I struggle to meet it every morning.

Yet it’s worth reflecting on how you wake up. What floods your chest when you open your eyes? Excitement and rapture? Gratitude? Dread? Fatigue? Anxiety? Hope?

Additionally, how closely does this emotion or state of being align with your best, truest self?

My best self is not a self guided by dread, fear, or anxiety. When I’m intimidated or fearful, I shrink. I start talking too much. I am less empathetic; I struggle to assert definitive, healing no’s.

My best self is kind, exuberant, and attentive to the pieces of light in every fellow human, eager to whip up a startlingly good batch of hummus, and maddeningly nerdy. She is an enigma at times, but that isn’t a bad thing—she compensates by admiring the stories of others.

I know I’m waking up as this self when I’m eager for the day to begin, immersed in a feeling of gratitude, and prepared to give.

A job that does not align with your purpose or truth, an abusive relationship, a stressful interim or an addictive habit—all of these can keep you from easily waking up into your best skin. If it’s a challenge to even visualize your best self right now, a major life change is looming, and you’ll likely be the agent of it.

2. The majority of your relationships are not serving you.

I’m all about the right kind of selfishness.

To be selfish, in my eyes, is to mindfully choose to fill your life with what serves you—that which enables you to stand in truth.

Relationships can be powerful channels for growth and self-understanding; the right ones can propel you further along a rich and generous destiny. They can make you giddy to be alive.

The wrong ones—the ones that don’t serve you—can limit and clip you. They act like brambles on a forest path, to make a simple metaphor. You may be able to get up the path despite their intervention, but you may stumble, and you may cut your lovely ankles.

The really wrong ones can force you to give up something you love. They can force you to believe that what truly sings in your heart is nothing but an illusion (it’s not!).

Take some time to reflect on your current relationships, romantic, platonic, familial, professional. Are the bulk of them serving you? Or is the majority voting to keep you from shining brightly?

If you say no to the first and yes to the latter, it’s time to change, baby.

3. You prioritize escape.

When I know a change is inevitable—when I know I’m in the midst of evolving, and excruciatingly so—I like to run away. I don’t always run away, but most times, I do.

These escapes aren’t big swerves. They’re more like little daily patches that cover up a larger, more probing dilemma.

When I’m depressed about something—an aspect of my career, a rejection from a publication, a frustrating relationship—I may start watching more T.V.—what I view as a means of “turning off my brain” and escaping into a fictive reality.

I’ll drink more. I’ll stop going to yoga. I’ll eat messily. I’ll sleep too much. I’ll listen more to negativity and doubts.

None of these things are necessarily wrong. I believe in the power of coping mechanisms. They exist for a reason. (And I’m not about to quit binge-watching This is Us anytime soon.)

Yet if these mechanisms are what you look forward to, and if they signal a patching-up of larger, more brooding issues, you may actually be digging more deeply into a needful change. In fact, recognizing an addiction, however large, however small, may be the start of this change.

I’m not saying that it’s time to go to rehab. Nor am I saying that I’m addicted to mac n’ cheese (although, who isn’t?). Yet if you start to look forward more to your escape than to your daily spin of reality, change is already happening.

4. You’re afraid of making a major life change.

They—whoever “they” is—say that where there is fear, there is power. If you fear making a life change of any kind—ending a toxic relationship, setting boundaries within your family, abandoning your career—this may be all the more reason that you should do it.

Think about the times you’ve stepped into your fear to vanquish it. What happened? Likely, you felt empowered. Likely you learned something about yourself. Even more likely—you changed.

If you’re wary of doing anything, you probably should do it. If you’re terrified of the plunge of a major lifetime, plunge, darling.

As a side note? Major life changes are often the manifestation of your soul’s desire. They often involve a lot of labor pains and contraction. But they can be what shoulders you more firmly along the path of purpose and joy.

Welcome them in time. Lean in and feel the wind—experience the change. TC mark

About the author

Kate King

believer in changing the world