Nothing is scarier than not knowing your next step. In life we’re naturally placing one foot in front of the other hoping that it hits solid ground, helping us get one step forward. The past four months I feel as though I’ve been taking those steps in complete darkness, hoping that I’m moving closer to where I wanna be and landing on a surface that’s sound.
This is the first time in my life I’ve had to worry, what’s next? Every stage of my life before this I’ve had a plan but here I sit in my final year of undergrad not knowing where my life is going next…and it’s really damn frightening. As someone who is a planner and has always been a little too ambitious, it’s been hard. There are some days the anxiety of it all has left me sick to my stomach. However, each time, I have had to get rid of the pit in my stomach and focus on the difficult truth:
You’re not supposed to know what’s next.
Life brings opportunity, hurdles, and gifts every single day.
All we can do is exist in the present moment and think of what we do have and work the best that we can for we want. So when these moments of fear and anxiety hit me I think of all the reasons I should feel lucky in that moment. I zoom out of the nearsighted fear and look at the unknown as possibility rather than a dead end. Today I choose to focus on:
- The fact that I got to wake up with 21 years of life this morning. One of my best friends and I always share a quote with one another when we feel like life is getting tough: “If you are reading this, you have survived your entire life up until this point. You have survived traumas, heartbreak, devastation, the elements, different phases of life, and here you are. You are awesome.” I have survived 21 crazy and beautiful years and that is something to feel lucky for.
- You’ve lived a damn good life Lauren. There have been difficult moments, as everyone experiences, but I have memories and stories about traveling the world and life that are worth writing in journals and saving to share with my grandchildren – what more could you ask for?
- The world is yours. As I was stressing over the choice to take a year off or apply to law school this year a wonderful friend of mine explained to me, “ You are so young, the whole world is yours and you can do so much in that time. Explore the world, experience things and then decide what path you want to take.” With no roots planted into the ground, all of us nearing post-grad. life have the world at our fingertips. Now is the time you take the take the plunge and move to a place you’ve always wanted to live. Take that backpacking trip to Europe. Apply to the job you’ve been thinking about for some time now – even if you think you have no chance. What do we have to lose?
- You’re surrounded by beautiful people. I get to wake up to an array of incredible people that make me smile. Those who share fun times, hard times, and unexpected shenanigans with me on a daily basis. I can truly say that my heart is full when it comes to the family that supports me and the friends I have been crazy enough to claim me through the years. Life is truly worth it when you share it with people who would go out of their way for you, just as you would for them. You all are the best.
- I am healthy. Growing up watching the person I loved most battle illness has engraved how important it is to remember this is something to feel lucky for every single day.
- Because it’ll all workout. Up to this point life has kept going, whether I’ve been ready for it or not things have had a way of just happening. Giving everything you all and taking the chance will lead you, even if it wasn’t where you originally thought you wanted to go. Focus on optimism, it will always work.
No matter how worried you are about what’s next, think of what you’re lucky for right now. In hindsight we’re all just trying to figure life out but we can’t let it be wasted on worry or fear of where our foot is going to land when we take the next step. Do the best you can and focus on what’s important; you’ll hit solid ground.
And remember, the world is yours.