I know that the title of “The Best Advice I’ve Ever Been Given” carries a lot of weight. And you should understand, first and foremost, that I am… bad at taking advice. (Take a moment to let my mom laugh out loud, and comment that that is an understatement. I know!)
I was an independent kid, who grew in to an obnoxious teen and adult. I’ve kind of always done my own thing, but usually not too recklessly (correct me if I’m wrong, naturally).
But over the years, I have actually listened to the advice that’s been given to me, even if I haven’t followed it. Not necessarily practical advice; I mean, I’d rather figure out how to do something by myself than have someone tell me. But when it comes to being a mature, properly-functioning adult… at this point, I’m all ears.
To be quite honest, unlike the usual ascending slope of maturity, I’ve grown increasingly anxious and nervous as I’ve gotten older, always second-guessing myself and losing a lot of confidence I feel I had when I was a teenager. I used to think I could do absolutely anything, but now… ehhh, I’m not so sure. Failed relationships and friendships, bad jobs, careers that went in opposite directions than what I’d anticipated… all of that kind of added up and now I’m here, often wondering if what I plan on making for dinner is the right thing or not or maybe I should go grocery shopping or uggghhhhhhhhhhhh.
So, whenever I start to have feelings that I don’t like or can’t control, I remember the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, from a friend’s mom.
Feelings aren’t good or bad, they just are. What you do with them is what matters.
Feeling stressed isn’t bad. Feeling lonely isn’t bad. Feeling like you’re better than everyone else at something isn’t good. Don’t judge yourself based on how you feel– it’s what you do with those feelings is what counts.
As I sit here, I think about my last few years. I did a negative thing a few years ago, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed and depressed– I quit a bad job with no notice and no plan. I should have given my employers a week’s notice and had a back-up plan, but I didn’t. I spent six months basically mooching off of my parents’ and boyfriend’s generosity, and I still feel bad about it to this day.
Then, I got a job doing something that wasn’t in line with what I want to be when I grow up (… she says, at 30). I did that for ten months, and met some really fantastic people at the job. But then I moved to a small town and, even though I could have continued doing the work from my home, I quit that, too, and took a year off to finish my book.
I don’t feel bad about moving on from that job, but I do feel bad that my book basically hasn’t gotten anywhere. My boyfriend doesn’t seem to mind, but again: the feelings of inadequacy are there. What am I going to do with them?
This is basically the most aimless I’ve been since I was 15 years old, when I decided I was going to go to Emerson College, major in writing, and then become a great big famous writer. Fifteen years I worked really hard at one goal, and now I feel as though I’m not doing it, or anything to help that goal. All of my feelings right now are of being disoriented and, quite frankly, a bit scared. A smidge useless.
So, keeping in mind my best life advice, I won’t feel bad about my feelings. But now I’m looking for more advice: what do you think I should do?
(all images taken from pexels.com)