Do you ever just sit–at work, in class, in bed, wherever you are–and stare far into the distance, daydreaming and wondering if there’s something else you’re meant to be doing? If you do, then you might be experiencing the feeling of being lost.
I just want to start off by saying that it’s OK to feel lost sometimes. No one would hold that against you. And if they do…well, they really shouldn’t.
Feeling lost is normal: there isn’t a day that’s passed when I haven’t felt even semi-lost. And by lost, I don’t mean the “Oh-no-I-made-a-wrong-turn-where’s-the-map-Siri-tell-me-where-I-can-make-a-u-turn!” lost. It still happens though, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is being rooted to the spot, paralyzed from the thought of performing the same routine day in and day out with no end in sight and not knowing which way to go. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no problem with having a routine; but if it’s something you’re not happy with, then it can really feel like a burden.
On top of that, you start coming up with all sorts of ideas about what you’d much rather be doing with your time. This causes you to become even more conflicted; you might even start questioning your entire existence!
If you don’t experience this, props to you! Trust me: it’s exhausting.
But if you’re reading this, then you probably experience this debilitating phenomenon. So we’ll continue…
On top of being paralyzed, you add on the feeling of disappointment because at 18 you thought you had your whole future figured out: graduate high school, go to university, get an awesome job, have your own awesome place, (maybe) get married and have kids, start a family. Then Adulting ran up to you and punched you in the face to welcome you to the real world.
Yeah, Adulting’s a bitch.
Adulting pulled–or more like dragged–you into a different path you’d wanted to pave for yourself. Sure, you graduated high school; sure, you got a university degree. But where is that awesome job? Where is that awesome place you own for yourself? And if you want a wife/husband and kids, where are they? You’re life’s not heading in the direction you originally thought it would go.
But don’t let that get you down! If you sit back and look at it from a different angle, it’s not the end of the world. Like I mentioned before, feeling lost is normal. It may not seem that way since social media has a way of only showing us the good things happening in other people’s lives, making it seem like they’ve got their shit all put together while you’re still struggling to wake up in the mornings. But it’s normal. It sucks: I won’t deny you that. It’s not comforting to be burdened with uncertainties regarding where your future’s going. You could be in a job where you’re overqualified but underpaid; or you’re in a job you’re qualified for, the pay is alright, but you’re not sure it’s where you want to be for your remaining years. It’s a rough ride.
Just remember that you’re not alone.
When you get stuck in a place that feels like it’s sucking all the life out of you, here’s a few things you can do to combat the hopeless feeling you get when you’re a little lost:
- Get active! Go for a walk, run, or bike ride. Sometimes, the feeling of hopelessness stems from non-movement. I know this happens to me: when I’ve done nothing but laze around, binge watching shows and munching on random snacks, I feel bad about my lack of productivity.
- Read a book: escape reality for a while. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you to plan your next adventure! It’s a thing. When I read a book, I get hooked on a character and that character momentarily becomes the voice in my head telling me to not be such a useless lump.
- Watch TV or a movie. Same as reading: escape reality, maybe get inspired; and depending on the movie, you can also just shut off your brain.
- Go people watch. But try to avoid creeping people out if you can. Smiles are contagious: if you see a lot of people smiling and being generally happy, that could help with lightening your mood. Or you just see someone do something funny and you’ll have something to be amused about for a while. And in case you were wondering, yes, I speak from experience.
- If you can afford it, go on a short trip. Often times, you just need a change in scenery; a breath of fresh air–somewhere else that isn’t close to all your responsibilities.
- Spend time with friends and/or family. Unwinding can be a lot easier when there are familiar people to talk to. I know I’ve relied on this tactic several times in my life. There’s just something about being with your friends and being silly that feels refreshing.
- Talk–or in my case, sing–to your pet (it absolutely helps!). Although they can’t answer you when you ask them about all of life’s mysteries, they’re still there, doing something that will almost always make you laugh.
- Make something: food, crafts, DIY project–anything that’s different from what you’re stressing about to get your mind off whatever’s troubling you.
- Journal. Word vomit, brain dump, doodle, scribble on the page: it helps. I have a pile of filled notebooks to prove it.
- Take a nap. Sleeping shuts the outside world off entirely (and that’s the point, really).
I’m sure you’ve heard all this before, but the important thing you should remember is to just take a break. If feeling lost is starting to overwhelm you, momentarily take yourself away from whatever you’re doing that’s triggering it. It may seem like such a simple thing, but it does help. Otherwise, you’ll continuously spiral into the depths of hopelessness.
Share your thoughts! Do you already do anything listed above: how’s that working out? If you have another way to battle the struggle that wasn’t listed above, tell me about it: I wanna know!