^ The lake I live by in Hanoi
I know it’s a cliche, but I did think I’d have everything in place by the time I hit 26. When I think about it, I don’t even know what ‘having everything in place’ looks like. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing at this point, but it’s not what I expected to be doing. Or maybe I thought I’d feel different by this point, like something changes and you suddenly become somebody with a world of wisdom behind them.
Probably once every couple of months, I have these days (to be honest, it could be a week) where I just can’t wrap my head around what I’m doing with my life. So, basically, I have a good degree – I’m emphasising this because I forget it all the time, I have a career that will last a lifetime if I want it to and I’ve embarked on the huge adventure that is teaching and living in Vietnam. Yet, still I have these phases where I feel like I’ve literally done nothing with myself. I feel like I’ve achieved nothing and I’m wasting my time.
I’m waiting for my life to be perfect. I don’t know if this is just my personality, if I’ve been partially influenced by the media or if its the old comparison game, but I feel like you should hit this point in your life where suddenly everything is ‘right’. No more bad days at work, no more days where you fall over your own foot in a Zumba class (it happened), no more days where you’re just in a bad mood and don’t know why.
It’s such an unrealistic thing to expect and I know that. On a daily basis I accept the reality of things, but sometimes the overarching vision of my life is wildly skewed.
I’m starting to think that maybe I will always feel a little bit like this from time to time. I know for sure that life will never be perfect, which means I’ll probably always face days where I question absolutely every decision I’ve ever made and try to quantify it by comparing myself to Beyoncé.
I think all we can do in this situation is, quite honestly, give ourselves a bit of a reality check. I’m going to start acknowledging and showing gratitude for five aspects of my life every time I feel those negative thoughts creeping in.
So, here’s my reality check:
- I am living in Vietnam. I moved here. I left my job and my family. I’m not the only person to do it by any means, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement for me.
- My job allows me to save money. It seems silly, but as a millennial I know how rare this can be.
- I have solid and supportive friends (plus Matty) who listen to all my whining nonsense.
- I can visit some amazing parts of the world in under two hours. Next month it’s Thailand.
- I have time, work doesn’t consume everything anymore.
So there it is. I’m lucky and maybe next time I feel like I’ve done nothing in my twenties, I can look back on this list and gain some much needed perspective.