So yesterday I spent the afternoon relaxing in a park in Berlin. It was the first day of sun in ages and there seemed to be no better way to spend the day. A lot of other Berliners had the same thoughts and between 3pm and 6pm (when I left) the crowds grew exponentially.
I sat on the grass, taking long gaps in between reading to sit and contemplate life. And as I pondered, I thought about how easy it is to get trapped in negative thinking patterns.
I think that a lot of people, especially those in their late twenties and early thirties, can relate to this.
We live in a world where we have access to so much, and have so many choices before us, that we actually feel overwhelmed and sometimes anxious about whether we’re doing the right thing.
Should I take the job that offers me security and stability or should I go at it alone? There are risks on either side. I could have freedom and be self-determined but then I might have times when I am worried about money or fear that if something doesn’t work out then it’s all on me.
Should I stay with my partner and make a commitment for the rest of our lives or do I need to spend time alone in order to discover who I am and what I can achieve on my own? A lot of people are focusing on their careers right now and it takes a lot of energy and passion to keep pushing and making something of your business. So much so that there is very little time and energy left to dedicate to a relationship. Do you sacrifice the relationship in favour of your career or do you compromise and find a way to strike the balance? What happens if you get your dream job…in another state or even another country? Do you relocate? Do you ask her/him to move with you?
Should I stop partying so much now that I’m working and have a good job? I used to go out all the time but now I can’t afford to fall asleep at my desk on a Tuesday morning? Am I getting old and boring if I can only manage one night out a week? What if my friends forget about me? What if I never stop partying and I end up like one of those wizened middle-aged people that you find on every dance floor? If I don’t stop partying now, will I ever stop?
These are thoughts that I know many people at this age have.
And sure, some of these questions are important and need to be answered but I also think that one needs to find a way of stepping out of that frame of mind, giving yourself the day off, stopping to enjoy the experience and allow trust to fill your heart. I have written about this before and I will say it again. You never know what your choices will mean for your future. You just have to feel your way through it and trust that whatever comes your way, you can handle it and you are perfectly capable of making all your dreams come true.
In a way, this is like a mindfulness exercise for the quarter-life crisis
1. Stop. Breathe. Are you healthy? Do you have food on the table and do you have at least one person who you can call right now and share your thoughts with?
If yes, then sink into gratitude. Say it out loud or in your head. THANK YOU for my life, for this moment, for this sun on my face, this wind on my skin. THANK YOU for my talents and skills and my ability to think and to feel, and to be honest with myself and others.
2. Do you feel stressed out about the future? Well stop! Put all your thoughts and energies into imagining a future filled with happiness and glowing light. Does your future hold the promise of love, of dinner parties with good friends, of long summer days, of getting caught in the rain but enjoying it, of finding a job that makes you happy, of finding peace in your heart? Well, make it so! Build that vision of the future, design its every detail, and see it in your mind.
3. Now think about the present moment. Where are you now? What do you see around you? Is there peace and love in your vicinity? Try and catch sight of a parent playing with their child, a group of friends sharing a laugh, or lovers entwined in a steamy embrace. The world is full of love and no matter who you are or what you have or don’t have, you can always have access to these things because they are universal, they are you and me and everyone we know.
Now, are you still worrying about that job, that city, that girl, that boy? Are you still nervous about whether you’re getting it right? Because you needn’t be. You are safe. You can manifest your dreams. But right now all you have to do is enjoy this moment.