Not everyone has their shit together, and the sooner we all come to this realisation, the happier we will be.
I touched on this in my 27 Things I Learned by Age 27 list a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to elaborate a little because, as some of you have probably figured out by now, I like to ramble. 😉
Last month, I sat down with a friend and had a good long catch up. We talked about life and all its ups and downs and, naturally, work featured a lot. I’m feeling pretty disenfranchised with the whole copywriting thing at the moment, (mainly because I just want to write stories all day and get paid for the pleasure – oh, how sweet would it be?!) and needed to vent about how I felt like I was several steps behind, chasing my dreams and figuring out what my lifelong career will look like, while all of my friends seem to have theirs figured out.
My friends are awesome, inspirational, hardworking women. They all – from the outside looking in, at least – seem to be in fantastic jobs and feel fulfilled in their careers. Me? I’m just doing a job that I kind of fell into, by accident. Sure, I’m self-employed which is a bonus, but I’m not as financially secure as I’d like and I’m not anywhere near as fulfilled as I want to be with the work I do day to day.
And then my friend dropped a bombshell. She recently accepted a new job offer and is excited about the change. But she admitted that if she doesn’t enjoy the new position, she’ll have realised that she’s in the totally wrong career. And if she doesn’t stay within that particular career, she has no idea what she’s going to do next.
All of a sudden, I realised that I was far too absorbed in my own career crisis that I failed to acknowledge my friend had been struggling with one of her own. All of a sudden, I realised that when others look like they have it all figured out, they probably don’t. All of a sudden, I felt far less alone.
We live in an era in which, aside from the close friends we hang out with regularly, we see much of the lives of others through the rose-tinted lenses of social media.
So many times, I’ve scrolled through Facebook or Instagram and seen folks from school or university living the life of riley, travelling the world, achieving awesome career dreams, and looking nothing less than perfect in the process. Everyone looks like they always have their shit together and have achieved everything in life that they could have ever wished for.
But now, I realise that’s probably not the case.
I don’t post on social media regularly, (save for Twitter, which tends to be reserved for #amwriting fun), but when I do, it’s only ever the positive stuff. I don’t announce to my Facebook friends that I’m fed up with my line of work. I don’t post selfies on Instagram of my puffy, pink face when I’ve had a little overwhelmed cry about how desperately I want a career that, sometimes, feels totally out of reach. And neither, probably, does anyone else. We tend to reserve that stuff for figuring out privately with the help of only our nearest and dearest.
We’re all hiding our lack of shit-togetherness
Coming to this realisation has made me feel like it’s all okay. It’s okay that I’m not in a dream job by the age of 27. It’s okay that I’m not as financially comfortable as I’d like. It’s okay that I’m not sure where my career will take me. I mean, I have several decades of life left (at least I hope) to figure it all out. Plus, so many others are in the same boat.
And it’s not just career, anyway. Life is always going to kick up a vast array of other curve-balls to make you feel like your shit isn’t together. Relationship problems, financial problems, health problems, mental health problems, roof-over-your-head problems… you name it, everyone has at least one pressing issue to worry about at any one time. It’s all part of the rich tapestry of life, because if we didn’t have crappy things to deal with, the happy moments wouldn’t feel anywhere near as valuable.
The huge pressure to be as successful and content as others is made a little bit lighter when you realise that, actually, we’re all just kind of bumbling by. We’re all figuring out what we like, what we want, and what’s important to us in life. And we probably always will be. After all, that’s what makes life interesting, right?
If you feel like you haven’t got your shit together, know you’re not the only one. You’ll figure it out eventually, and when you do, something else will probably come along and unravel your shit once more. So don’t worry about it – it’s all part of the fun.Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com