I don’t think I’m alone when I say that, since leaving high school, I’ve felt somewhat overwhelmed trying to adjust to ‘adult life’ and managing the responsibilities and social pressures that accompany it. As a 16 year old, I only concerned myself with trying to fit in with the other kids and maintaining adequate marks in my classes. Admittedly, this time had its own pressures – popularity being the most salient element of day-to-day life. Who did you hang out with at lunch? Were you invited to the latest house party? Did you have a girlfriend yet? Whilst this was stressful in itself, I was aware that everyone else was in the same boat and my group of tight knit friends kept me in check.
Things have changed from (what I now realise were) the stress-free school days. Sticking to the same analogy, we have now ‘abandoned ship’ and I found myself struggling to stay afloat without the safety raft that was Craigmount High School. Seeing those with whom you shared a classroom, travelling the world, getting married and achieving success in their respective careers is of course wonderful; however, it serves as a constant reminder of the progress you have made in the period since. As someone who has lacked a calling in life, I always harboured a fear of falling through the cracks in society. I do appreciate that I am not an anomaly, in fact, more likely a stereotype of my anxiety-riddled generation. In a world where we now aspire to ‘Instagram influencers’ and have reality TV show stars as our role models, it’s important to remember that social media is not an accurate portrayal of an individual’s real life.
Whilst I understand my perception of everyone’s “perfect life” is a delusion, it can be difficult to avoid comparisons and to stay focused on myself. I have found it far too easy in recent years to live by my own misguided mantra, “if I don’t try, I won’t fail” and avoid taking any risks. The bucket list that I created as a teenager remains largely untouched whilst I count the years tick by. (Older readers will roll their eyes knowing that, at the time of writing, I’ve not long ago celebrated my 26th birthday). The emergence of Covid-19 has not helped in any way as any spikes of motivation have been promptly quashed by the latest government rules and restrictions. However, the feeling remains and I understand that, to overcome this feeling of being overwhelmed, I need to work on my motivation and mind-set in general. I need to do what I want to do, eliminate the fear holding me back and commit.
So, I’ll leave you with this. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Let’s make 2022 a year for doing.