I used to think that life would be more entertaining when there is so much going on around you and hence, believe that embracing a still life is a dull way to live your life. I enjoyed the thrill of making sure my brain is always one step ahead of itself. When I was a teenager, I love being the event planner and, thus, the person responsible for bringing everyone together.
I am a detail-oriented person. Therefore, interacting with people who sees the whole image instead of the individual pieces that make up the image makes me uneasy. I would inform them why they should stress about the details despite knowing very well that, most likely, my voice will go unheard. Safe to say, the “go with the flow” philosophy is something I am still working on.
Eventually, though, my views started to change. The chaotic lifestyle that I used to thrive off of wore me down, both mentally and physically. I was not getting enough rest, and I was able to sense that my mental health was plummeting. Before it was too late, I had to make changes in order to save myself before I completely lose myself.
Unquestionably, some circumstances are unavoidable because the future is unforeseeable. If everyone knows precisely what the future holds, then life would be boring. Over time, I discovered that most of the time, because I tend to overthink even the simplest of matters, I made things more complicated and chaotic than they needed to be. I soon food myself adrift in an ocean of chaos and constantly struggling to find balance in my life.
If this resonates with you, check out the following ways on how to remain centered in our chaotic world:
1. Make your boundaries clear and be brave to say no.
For many people, acing this test is a challenge because most of us have this inclination to put others before ourselves. In other words, we are conditioned to be people-pleasers and not let others down. Over time, however, I learned that I have to take care of myself first before I can take care of others. That means fulfilling my needs and becoming the best version of myself first before tending to others.
“I’ve learned to set boundaries and know when to say, ‘I just need to rest.’ I’m good at listening to what my body’s telling me.”Kourtney Kardashian
If I am aware that I need a night to recharge, I have no hesitation to abort dinner plans with a friend. If a social event is going to make me feel uneasy and tense, I would just stay at home. Many may see this as an act of selfishness or insensitive to the group’s demands, but nothing is more important than health. If I need to rest at home instead of attending a party, I do not have an issue doing so, simple as that.
Think about it: who wants to have a dinner date with a sour-looking friend? There is nothing with putting yourself first. When you learn when and how to help yourself, only then can you do the same for others.
2. Disconnect yourself from your typical timetable.
In a world filled with chaos, it is common for people to establish a strict routine to introduce some sense of clarity and stability into their lives. Then again, I learned that if something in my timetable changes, I have difficulty figuring out what to do next. So, I tried to make my schedule as flexible as possible so that when something unexpected happens, I have some room in my schedule to accommodate it.
This step requires patience and practice. Yes, this is a difficult step as we are creatures that live on short-term pleasures, but I assure you that it will be worth it. Currently, I am still sharpening my time management skills but compared to day one, I have made tremendous strides in forcing myself to accept changes that are beyond my control in day-to-day life.
3. Approach one day at a time.
“If people just took it a day at a time, they’d be a lot happier.”Richard Bachman
It is exhausting to approach one day at a time if you are a person who has an anxious brain like me. I always zoom out to see the big picture and struggle to be present. And that is important because when we give ourselves time to think about the crucial aspects of life, the only thing we are guaranteed is this moment. That said, it is imperative to cherish the beautiful things around us and not worry about something that may or may not happen in the future.
My anxious self will denounce what I will say next: it is liberating to live in the present moment. After years of trial and error, I have learned to channel my anxiety through healthy activities such as exercising and journaling. Do not be confused here, I am not advising everyone not to think of the future and work towards their goals – what I am emphasising here is that when we allocate so much time staying ahead and not ground ourselves to the present, we starve ourselves of the magical present moments.
Final 2¢: The world is not chaotic, our thinking is.
The journey of life is a difficult one, and I would argue that the journey is even more challenging for twentysomethings. Think of our twenties as a second chance at puberty: we have to be responsible for our own growth and identity.
Life does not come with a rulebook or a manual guide. Even if there is one, the book would be filled with blank pages. So, it is up to each of us to determine what we want to write on it, and that is the beauty of it: we get to decide how to live our lives. Each of us has to lean on our own experiences to make it through the journey. We may not have control of the chaotic world, but we can control how we see it and how we let it affect us.