I’ve felt this lost, this confused and conflicted about how the future was going to go. For months, I’ve been having a hard time not feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed about what’s going to happen in the next few years. I’m about to be a senior in college and I still have no idea what I really want to do. Sure, I’ve got some vague ideas, but nothing concrete. But then it makes me think about how I felt four years ago, in this same position as a junior in high school—going through weeks at a time where I could barely get out of bed because I didn’t feel like it was even worth it. Going through such a dark time that no one’s really ever fully known how badly I was really doing inside myself.
In retrospect, I’ve gone through some of the best times of my life in the past few years. I’ve made some friends I know I’ll keep close for years to come, I’ve fallen madly head over heels in love, I’m enrolled in college and taking steps to actually do something with my life. When it comes down to it, I feel like I should be truly happy. And I am on some days. I’m so grateful for what I have and the people around me, but in the back of my head, I can’t help but constantly be dreading the thought of graduating from college and everything just falling to pieces. Or something just really, terribly wrong happening. It’s been itching my brain since I was kid—something just really terrifying is going to happen at a young age. At thirteen years old, it’s to the point where you’re so convinced someone’s going to take you from your own home that you proceed to check the doors multiple times a night and refuse to sleep until the sun’s up.
As I got older, the fear got louder, stronger, like it was going to happen soon. It’s like waiting for tragedy ready to pop around the corner in an instant. And then it does. Something so vile it took a part of you with it that you’re never going to get back. In lieu of it, it’ll be a constant thought each and every day since then. As hard as that hit me, I couldn’t help but feel like it fulfilled my fear and with that, I could put it behind me. My misfortune had struck and it would be a while before the damage was gone, but I didn’t have the cloud of fear surrounding me anymore. I’ve seen more personal growth in myself in the last two years than I thought was ever possible. I find myself feeling like I have a purpose in this world and I’m so grateful for being given the chance to make that a reality. I look and feel like a completely new person.
But lately, I find that fear whispering in my ear again. Like I need to be on my toes for what’s to come. On some days, it gets me motivated to take life by the horns and then on others I’m back to not wanting to do anything productive in the least, wasting the little energy I have to stay in bed and stew about things I couldn’t possibly accurately predict. And then these past few days, I’ve thought back to me back then and realize that although misfortune hit, I still have the best memories of just living life to the fullest both before and after it struck. It makes me ashamed of the days I’ve wasted doing nothing with my life, the days I just blew off school to doing something stupid, the days I dreaded today because I was too bothered worrying about tomorrow. It’s made me take a step back and realize this entity once called fear is truly a motivator and should not be something that’s powerful enough to keep me from living life. It gives me a reason to want to make every day count because you never know what or when the next hardship’s going to hit.
It sounds so cliché: make every day count. But when you truly honestly put such simple words into practice, good things can happen. Life changing things. Things that you will remember for the rest of your life. I find myself realizing that instead of stewing about the unknown, I want to be making memories. Because eventually, that tragedy’s going to hit for everyone, followed be another and another. And I can accept that. But I refuse to spend any more of my energy tormenting myself with thoughts about things I couldn’t possibly know will or won’t happen within the next five to ten years. It sounds so silly and so simple, but I feel like today I may have actually made a breakthrough within myself and my fight with anxiety and that means the world to me.