There are few things better than sitting down with a good friend over a latte and just chatting. I’ve always loved connecting with people over caffeinated musings, and it’s almost always my go-to suggestion for an outing. It’s a practice that’s both relaxing and invigorating in nature. Since I already treat this little piece of internet like I’m just sitting down with a cup of joe and writing directly to all my closest friends, I thought we might as well just call this post what it is. Coffee talk. 🙂
I’ve been thinking a lot about how much has changed in a year. I remember this time last year. I was still at my old, crappy job. I wasn’t making any real moves to get on track to grad school or further my career and I was so bored and unhappy. Things started to look up once I switched jobs and started working at my current gig, but for a while I still felt like I was in standstill. Until Christmas holiday, when I got some of the best life advice I’ve ever received.
My sister, who is ten years older than me and one of my life’s greatest teachers, was listening to me vent about how lost and scared I was. How it felt like I was paralyzed and couldn’t make any progress in anything because, well, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted. So she told me to ignore the impulse to commit to a huge plan and just “nudge myself along”. Simple as that! Step by step, even if they’re small steps, nudge myself along each path that interests me and eventually, something will become clear. Something will click. It resonated deeply and has since become a sort of daily mantra for me.
I’m not alone in harboring this fear, by the way. I actually read this quote in an article a while back and it was so reflective of how I felt that I copied it to a notepad. I’ve since forgot the source. If you know it, please tell me!
“One woman told Forbes, ‘You can’t see the end of the tunnel because there are so many twists and turns. It’s hard to look just three to four years in the future. They don’t know what they are striving for, which makes it really hard to move forward.'”
You see, I’ve always been a big picture, big planner, grand scheme type of girl. Remember freshman year of college when your academic advisor urged you to plan out the next four years of coursework so you knew what needed to be done to graduate on time? I lived for that. I had mine done in an hour and I kept it folded up in my planners over the years, steadily checking off things from the list. I like having a plan and sticking to it. I like knowing what to expect. I like structure. And unfortunately all these things I like aren’t really in abundance throughout life, let alone your twenties. In fact, I’m realizing that letting go of structure and embracing the chaos is sort of what your twenties are all about. Boooooooooo. 😉
My sister’s advice is actually helping a lot with accepting this. Instead of feeling paralyzing fear due to my lack of a big, encompassing, definite life plan, I feel calmed by the idea of consistent and intentional progress in what brings me joy. This is why I think her advice is so, so valuable.
Because really, what it boils down to is a practice of mindfulness and patience. Mindfulness, to be able to identify what excites me and what I feel willing to work for. To prevent myself from doing anything because it’s what I think I should be doing despite if I actually want to or not. And patience, because some things just take some damn time. It’s the age of instant gratification (thanks, social media) and I think people, especially people my age, forget that all of life doesn’t fall into place with a snap of the fingers. And then we get discouraged and scared and stunted! I also think people my age tend to rush into things because they want to be as successful as everyone else appears to be (thanks again, social media). Nobody is practicing as much patience and mindfulness as they should be. I’m determined to change that.
So I’m nudging along! For me it means taking classes to further my path in veterinary science and actively pursue my more creative passions. And while the original conversation with my sister was about my career, I’ve started to apply the theory to other aspects of my life as well. Like my health and relationships. That’s the beauty of The Nudge. It can apply to most everything if you think about it! It’s really working for me and I think it’s something that could translate well for so many people. So you should try it.
Whew. That felt good to talk about. I hope it didn’t suck to read. Pretty much, I just can’t wait to be thirty and have my shit together. Who’s with me?!