Normal?

alanna550 (@alanna) 8 years, 10 months ago

I just turned 20 a month ago. I’m a girl. I lead a pretty regular social life (nothing too isolating, but also not super anything super busy either). Lately I’ve developed this irrational fear of time passing, and of growing older. I’m constantly thinking about what I’m doing, and I find myself wasting more and more time just thinking about how I feel like life is moving too fast. I also feel as though I haven’t had certain experiences I perhaps should have had by now, or would have liked to. University has been more stress than fun in the past 3 years, and I have never been in a relationship. I feel stagnant and have felt like this since the age of 18. I fear that I’ll waste my youth worrying and not accomplish anything/ experience a meaningful relationship/ build a memorable experience. I also find myself struggling to understand if I should be focusing more on myself as a person (education/work/hobbies), or on being more social and on developing my social relationships? A bit irrational, I know, but I can’t help it, I’ve developed obsessive thinking about this. I dropped out of school this semester – I’m living at home and working so I can save money to travel as soon as possible. And then I will most likely return to school in September. I dropped out because I felt I needed to do something dramatic to break out of this rut. Having self doubt about that too since it will prolong my degree. I don’t know, I’m just spewing at this point, this isn’t even coherent. Any suggestions or related experiences to share?

January 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm
carfer (1) (@carlonzas) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna maybe we just need to lower the volume and just listen to the only important voice…. don’t let it get lost in the noise

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Anonymous (328) (@) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, You are a romantic is what you are. Feel the urge to do something? do it. Be spontaneous. Do creative stuff you always wanted to do. Most of all, DO NOT BE SCARED. Don’t lose your sense of responsibility though, very important.

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Anonymous (216) (@) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I did the same thing.

I say go travel and make that trip unforgettable. Traveling a lot gave me a stronger sense of freedom and boundaries, and how to capitalize on opportunities.

Seriously, enjoy yourself!

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Tim64 (1) (@tim64) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I’m a 20 year old man also in my third year in college, and i can tell you that at 18, i would have never guessed i would be majoring in what I am now. That may not be your case, but i can tell you if you want to take a chance at something, go for it. We are too young to be planning the res of our lives. Do as much as you can.

“He who leaves nothing to chance will do few things poorly, but he will do few things.” Edward F. Halifax

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zach (3) (@zman) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I would suggest focusing more on the moment. I had, and still have somewhat, the same problem as you. I was always looking at how much time I have less. The problem with this is that then you will never appreciate what you are doing now. Also, if you want to do something, do it. I am going to travel instead of college, and yes it is hard with all the opposition/worries, but if you don’t follow what you deem is right then who is going to tell you what is?

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Anonymous (177) (@) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, You wrote: “I’m constantly thinking about what I’m doing, and I find myself wasting more and more time just thinking about how I feel like life is moving too fast. I also feel as though I haven’t had certain experiences I perhaps should have had by now, or would have liked to.” GREAT advice from the other responders to your post here! If I may humbly add: (A) maybe TOO much thinking! It’s like sitting in a rocking chair: you’re doing something but you’re not going anywhere. You are not your thoughts. Don’t live in your head. Live in the world. (B) WHO says you should have had “certain experiences” by now? Your thinking head made that up and you believe it to be true. Naw. Your inner Self has already told you what to do, which you are doing as to saving your money and traveling. And don’t even put a schedule to that. WHO says you have to? Heck, you may take off and never come back. :0) Peace, Love & Light ~ ricky

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Anonymous (177) (@) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, Here’s an article on obsessive thinking – short: http://www.puresilence.org/obsessive_thoughts.htm

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parsons51 (0) (@parsons51) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I would like to share a few ideas because I know some of the emotions you have experienced by reading that short paragraph. I am a 22 year old male, have also felt anxious about time passing for similar reasons. I am quite a high energy person and over the past 18 months or so I’ve really discovered things about my past, about how I think, and I’d like to give you some insight.

My main problem is that I have analyzed my memories and dwelled on the mistakes that I’ve made over and over again. I’m (or used to be) constantly in a self-reflecting state. This has created a lot of anxiety for me in the past. You say you spend a lot of time “thinking how you feel”. I know that this can sometimes be hard not to do but it usually doesn’t get anyone anywhere. That’s because negative thoughts create negative emotions and visa versa.

I read a quote that described how your actions are the manifestations of you thoughts. After reading that I could see my problem. My thoughts have no way to be expressed into physical world around me. I was thinking of things that have already been “acted”, actions that had already had their space in time. So how could these thoughts become actions if they had no was of making them materialize into the immediate world around me?

This past fall I was having tremendous trouble sleeping because I was largely disconnected from my body. I was living in my thoughts, judging, analyzing, getting angry at people. I spend a lot of time analyzing my past and trying to paint a pretty picture of my future.

You should also make note that the present moment is often never as colourful as we imagine it. Maybe this is why we spend as much time as we do planning for the future and thinking about the past. It’s like we let the “now” slip on by without giving it much attention.

There’s a lot of things you could try to bring yourself into a more grounded state:

First listen to @zman and focus more on the moment. You need to bring yourself into the now. This way your thoughts are more likely to be related to the things that are in your presence.

I find things like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation really helpful for me to manage my energy and thoughts. I would recommend that you try some of these. I find it helps me bring my energy down and ground myself when I start to get anxious. Body Psychology is something I have recently discovered and just deep breathing alone over the past two weeks has done wonders for my mind and body.

Do you have a creative outlet? This may be a better choice for exercising your highly energetic thoughts instead of using your time and energy pondering and thinking about how you feel.

I hope I helped! I find my thoughts bounce all over the place when I’m trying to express ideas but I hope you could get some important ideas out of my experiences.

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Teresa (24) (@foxmind) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I’ve been there, and done that.
Good things come to those who wait. Don’t be anxious about your future, over thinking won’t take you anywhere. Go with the flow, wherever it takes you, the path is made while you walk.
Every moment comes with the opportunity to appreciate it. Look at the sky above you and observe the clouds. Have you ever realised each cloud you see, is there only once, in that same shape and colour. More than that, only you can see the clouds like you do, and they are so amazing, aren’t they?
Just like the clouds, each of us exists in a moment, so unique and perfect there won’t be a repetition for it. Enjoy your life as it is and be grateful for it, one minute at a time, simply because it’s so good and you only live it once!
Wish you love,
Teresa

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Edward Bernays (131) (@edwardbernays) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

I know where you’re coming from, right now it feels like I’m always going to bed like thats the only part of the day I’m in, the rest is just a blur. I’m a 21 yr old male, 4th yr college. Stop worrying about wasting your youth, this is just fear. Just live, and don’t over-analyze. Have fun traveling!

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jasonthomas.me (0) (@promotiveconsulting) 8 years, 10 months ago ago

@alanna, I think it’s great that you are thinking about this now. Too many people wait until they are married with kids and stuck in some job to start questioning their life. A friend of mine is a Marine Vet and he has this saying of, “It’s not that I fear death, but that I fear dying and never having truly lived.”

Your post reminded me of his quote. I think it’s awesome that you are having these concerns so young. I used to wake up in the middle of the night often, gripped with a fear of dying and having wasted my life. I was about 25 years old and I had them until I started living my life purposefully.

This is my opinion but I’d suggest discovering what your strengths are, and then asking yourself how you can use your strengths to positively impact the lives of those around you. I’d actually put this in a journal and spend a few weeks exploring this.

Positive Psychologist Professor Martin Seligman refers to this as the meaningful life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flqx4zjLljI). A good lead on your strengths is the Virtues in Action Survey. http://www.viacharacter.org/

Also, there are certain aspects of your life worth focusing on to bring you sustainable joy. Those are strong relationships, a spiritual practice, overall health (both physical and emotional) and a life purpose. Life purpose gets back to what I said about discovering your strengths and using those strengths to make life better for others. Sonja Lyubomirsky discusses this in more detail in her book “The How of Happiness.” Barbara Fredrickson touches on it a bit as well in “Positivity.”

Lastly I’d add I think it’s important to be worried about the direction of your life. However being a prey and paralyzed by negative thinking is counter-productive. One of the aspects I mentioned to focus on was a spiritual practice. Personally I’ve found meditation to be the most effective spiritual practice for making sure I drive my thoughts, versus them driving me. Professor Jon Kibat-Zinn gives both a good overview of insight meditation as well as the benefits to taking up a presentation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwwKbM_vJc

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