You didn’t think you’d be here again. Or, at least, be here again so soon. You thought you had gotten it right this time. You thought this time it would last. You thought you knew what you wanted. You thought. You thought. You thought. But all that overthinking didn’t prepare you for the curve balls life threw at you.

So here you are. Staring at the ruins of the future you had envisaged. Gazing at a blank slate you didn’t ask for. Facing an empty page, at a loss for what to write next, wishing you could just flip back to the previous chapter. One terrifying question circles in your mind.

What do I do now?

You can focus on everything you’ve lost – on everything you can’t get back – but you won’t move on if you do. You can take the time to mourn the loss. Catch your breath. Tend to your wounds. Eventually, you’ll have to decide it’s time to let go of the things that are no longer meant for you.

Yes, it is unfair. Yes, it shouldn’t have happened this way. Yes, you don’t deserve this pain. But you don’t get to pick all the challenges that come your way. You only get to choose how you respond to them. You can analyze and agonize over every what-if, trying to figure out how you could have changed the outcome. But it’s too late. It happened.

What do I do now?

You’ll never be able to control all the variables in your life. Instead of exhausting yourself in this pursuit – instead of finding comfort in a perfectly predictable future – learn how to find comfort in knowing you can survive its inevitable unpredictability. Draw your sense of security from within instead of from external sources, as they are prone to fluctuations and disappearing acts. Know that, whether you’re in comfort or chaos, you can adapt. Place your faith in your own strength and ability to overcome.

Know that you can start over. Start over every day if you have to. Because the thing about starting over is that each time you do it, it gets easier. One day, you’ll stop being afraid of the things you can’t control. You’ll stop worrying about your plans falling apart because, even if they do, you won’t. One day, you won’t see that blank slate as a calamity but as an opportunity. An opportunity to reinvent your life.

What do I do now?

Shake off the shackles of your comfort zone and get creative with your future. It won’t be the same as the one you had imagined before, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be great in a new and different way. Get a new job. Live in a different city. Try that activity you’ve always wanted to. Take that trip you’ve been meaning to go on. Start all the things or start one. Just start. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Anxious adventurer. Dabbles in science, architecture, and writing.

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