Hey guys, Jessi here, back from a mini-hiatus. Me and Kelly have both been super busy and we let things around here slip a bit. Kelly is figuring out how to balance her time as a Mom with a full time job, and I've been I have been dealing with (another) not-even-mid-twenties-never-mind-mid-life crisis.
It's been hard for me to concentrate on writing useful, topical, interesting, and well photographed posts lately. I have been a little stuck in my head, trying to figure out what I want out of life. Lately I have been questioning a lot of my choices and behaviors. I'm getting to a point in life where I am experiencing first hand what a free for all it is in the adult world.
I am slightly terrified of the fact that I am ultimately in charge of what my future looks like. I see my life going in a million different directions, and I don't have the slightest clue as to how to choose from them. I'm not sure that it is even possible to make a good choice when you don't know how things will turn out. When faced with a tough choice, do people just pick something and then later justify it by saying things turned out well, or can you actually make a good decision in advance, based on the cards your currently holding?
I know this is very vague, and that's because I don't want to share too much. I'd rather not go into the ins and outs of my various personal issues, but I do want to share and reach out to people who might be feeling the same way, stuck. I know I feel stuck, like I don't know how to proceed with things right now. I have felt like this before too, whenever I am faced with hard choices.
In an effort to rally and take charge, I have come up with a few tips to help myself and others who might feel stuck in their lives, living in stasis, unable to decide how to move forward.
1. Give yourself a break!
This may sound simple, but it isn't. If you feel like your life is a mess and you can't figure out how to proceed, you are probably spending most of your waking hours obsessing over it. Weighing choices against past experiences, and trying to come to the most logical and obvious conclusions. This obsessing can go on indefinitely. I know I tend to stew on things, my brain doesn't stop working from the moment I open my eyes until I fall asleep, and even then I'm dreaming and working my way through my unconscious mind.
Obsessing sucks, and after a while it can wear on you, forcing you to make choices to simply relieve the pressure of having to think about things anymore. Making a decision based on the never ending obsessive narrative in your head can be disastrous. You need to let yourself think about something else. Go on a walk, play a game, neurotically create a Pinterest board filled with everything you could ever want in your dream home, whatever it takes. Just take a step back from trying to solve all of your problems and just let yourself be. You'll find once you have stepped away from obsessing that things will seem less dire and more clear.
2. Make a Pro Con list!
After you have given your self some breathing room, it is time to get back to business. For me, I have to organize my thoughts so I can see (more) objectively how I feel about things. I find making a simple Pro and Con list is best suited for decision making. First I draft up a table, and start scribbling. I list every possible Pro and Con imaginable. Once I feel like all my feelings about something are down on paper, I start my first round of editing.
Combine any pros/cons that are similar( for example if you deciding weather or not to move abroad and you have 'art' and 'culture' listed as pros, you might want to combine them, but that is entirely up to you). If there are any bullets that don't ring entirely true to you, get rid of them. Narrow your list down as much as possible so that you can see the themes of your decision. You might notice that the things your excited for or the things you dread can be boiled down to one emotion or idea.
Once you have your list made up, look at it. Analyze it. How does it make you feel? I notice when I am doing this step that sometimes I argue with myself in my head. I might look at a con and be able to say that it's not entirely a negative, that there are more than one side to things, that it can't be boiled down to pro or con, that the truth ultimately lies in both. If you find yourself doing this, don't become disheartened or chuck out your list. Being able to see that every decision we make will most likely have a good and bad side to it will help you to be more objective about your life and your feelings. The idea about the Pro/Con list isn't to make a decision for you, but to give you a visual way to lay out your thoughts, thus giving you a new perspective.
3. Get Creative!
Time to get creative. I don't mean a creative thought process that is going to help you make a plan to get unstuck, just plain old creativity will do. Make a collage, sew a blanket, paint, take some pictures. It doesn't have to be good, or complete, or original. The point is to use the creative parts of your brain and making something with your hands. For me, I like to get my tablet and pen out and doodle. One thing I have noticed when using creativity as an outlet for obsessive thoughts is that it helps me to step outside of myself a little. As I draw I can hear all the obsessive thoughts in my head, but they seem distant. I am more focused on the action of my hands than my issues. I can allow myself to observe my thought process more objectively rather than anxiously stewing.
If you try this tactic, you may be surprised by what comes out of you. You might realize that you have emotions you aren't expressing or frustrations you aren't allowing to vent. You might create something dark and ugly, or delicate and stunning. The idea is to get out of your head and start making things, even if you find it is hard and that you have no inspiration. Sometime's I just scribble words and shapes, and in the end I am left with a useless scrap of paper. If this happens to you, don't chuck it out, look at it, that's you right now. That is where you are, that is your starting point to figuring things out.
4. Reach Out
Ok, you have tired everything at this point and your still stuck and don't know how to move on. It's time to get out of your head and connect with someone. Choose someone you trust, as well as someone who you can take advice from. This can be a friend, family member, therapist, bartender (jk - kinda), and generally anyone who fits the requirements. Buy them a drink or some supper and unload (a note on friend-etiquette, don't just dump on your friends and walk away, they are people too and you should be there for them as much as they are for you). Explain what is going on with you, and tell them the full scale of the issue. Once you are done venting, it is your turn to listen. Sometimes people just don't get you and so they give bad advice, but in many cases they give you good advice you just don't want to hear it. Hear what they have to say to you and give it a thought.
One thing I notice when I go to others for help is that in explaining things to them helps me to see how I truly feel about something. The person I am talking to will often ask me questions about what is going on, and when I reply it is like hearing my own thoughts out loud. I start to realize how deeply I may feel about something by how I respond. Try to observe your conversation without judgement, you might start to realize your true feelings and desires about things. Even if you don't get anything new from having a conversation with someone, I can guarantee you it will be to your benefit to express yourself with someone that you trust. Sympathy and understanding can go a long way in helping you to feel hopeful and optimistic!
Those are my tips! To all those family and friends that read our blog, I'm sorry that I am being so vague about what's going on. I know if I wanted to keep things private that I don't have to post about it, but at the same time, this is my stage to be my most authentic self and it doesn't feel right to not share (at least in some way) how I feel. To everyone else who may have stumbled here by ways of searching for some advice, try out my tips. No amount of internet searches is going to help you make a decision, it's time to get off the computer and do something (unless your reaching out to a friend that way, of course). Take one step forward, even if that is all you can do. Being stuck can make it feel like your life is standing still, but it isn't. The only way to get to be where you want in life is to face your problems head on and fight the whole way through.
I hope that this has been helpful to someone, and as always, feel free to connect with us over any of our social media accounts. One of our goals as a blog is to reach out and connect with others in a positive way, and I hope by sharing some of my struggles I can help you with yours! Talk to you soon,