After turning 21 earlier this year, I’ve seen a lot of really big changes happening in my life. I’ve gone through struggles with panic attacks, dealt with the challenges of university, lost and gained friendships and had the standard ‘situationship’ issues. All of these things have been massively humbling to me and have really forced me to look at my life and decide what I want from it. The last time I went through so many life changing circumstances I was 7 years old and my parents were breaking up. Now, fourteen years later, I’m learning to navigate these changes as an adult.
University has been one of the biggest changes in my life and moving almost five hours away from home for uni has definitely taken its toll on me. I struggled a bit during my first year but over the last year it seemed to all be coming to a head. I started having panic attacks every day and was constantly worrying about everyone at home; everything just seemed to be piling up. I was stuck in a rut for a while and didn’t really know where to go for help. I spoke to a lot of friends that have had similar issues and asked what they did about their problems. Almost everyone told me that it was time for me to get help and speak to someone; so that’s what I did.
After seeking help and talking about the issues I was having, I began regaining control of my emotions; I was so much happier and healthier. Once I had more of a stable mindset, I was able to think about what I actually wanted from my life. I decided to take an ‘it is what it is’ look on life and take everything as it comes. I had been so used to worrying about things before they even happened, I didn’t leave myself time to live in the present.
This new outlook on life has forced me to grow up and make real adult decisions. I’ve learned to let go of situations that aren’t benefiting me anymore and I’ve started being less reactive to things that would normally cause me to have an instant reaction. Some of the choices I’ve had to make have been extremely difficult for me but now that I’m past it I’m glad I’ve made them.
Becoming an adult isn’t something that anyone can really prepare for, even if you think you can. More often than not you’re thrown into situations that force you to grow up and make real choices about your life. Don’t think of these things as threatening or consuming issues, see them as a challenge for you to learn to tackle. You don’t always have to be hasty with your decision making either. Take time to think about what you want to do and how you want to navigate this challenge.
One thing I’ve learned so far this year is that the rule book to life doesn’t exist; none of us are on the exact same path. As much as I welcome advice and guidance from people, I’ve had to learn to take everything with a pinch of salt. What might have worked for them may not necessarily work for me and that’s okay, it’s all part of the process.