Why do so many of us feel like by the time we're in our 20s, we should have it all figured out? Nothing could be further from the truth. At some point in all our lives, we have to start over with nothing.
It's so easy to compare ourselves to others. I blame social media. People only share the highlights reel — all the pieces of their lives that are (seemingly) perfect. In reality, they don't have all the answers. Nobody does. Did I have all the answers when I started dating the guy I met online who still had his ex-girlfriend's shampoo in the shower? Negative.
We all encounter bumps along the road. In other cases, we encounter enormous potholes that send us spinning in another direction completely. Whether it's a soul-crushing breakup, losing your job, and something else entirely, as some point, we all have to start over with what feels like nothing. It can seem like the end of the world.
You're not alone here. The women of Reddit weighed in what it was like when they had to start over. Rest assured that while it might not be fast or easy, you will make it out of the storm eventually.
1. "I was a grown woman and needed to learn to be independent."
Feeling like you have nothing can be terrifying — but it can be liberating, too. As cliche as it sounds, it's true: you're the creator of your own journey. Make it a great one.
2. "One thing at a time."
When you start to feel overwhelmed, break everything down into tiny pieces. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other, and you're already working toward your next destination. Baby steps are key
3. " ... it’s always tough at first..."
Be comfortable with the fact that at first, it's going to feel really uncomfortable. It'll pass — give yourself time to grow.
4. "I mostly focused on work because it was the only place I felt in control."
When everything feels like it's spiraling, remember there are still aspects of your life you have control over. Focus on those.
5. "Say yes to everything."
You'd be surprised what amazing things can happen when you just say yes. Say yes even to new things you think you won't enjoy.
6. "Just be kind to yourself."
This is everything. We tend to think we're the only ones who feel completely lost in life, and this simply isn't true. We're all on our own journeys of discovery and learning.
7. "I’m just taking it one day at a time."
It's ok not to think about next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Focus on right now.
8. "You need a lot of grit and determination."
Starting over might be challenging, but once you get through it — and you will get through it — you'll see how strong and capable you really are.
9. "Just one foot in front of the other and keep going."
It's crucial to be kind to yourself. You might feel like you're failing, but remember that it all starts with self-love.
10. "In your 20s, always pick experience over anything else."
We were given this life to live it. Work hard, of course, but remember to have fun and experience new and exciting things.
11. "None of it was done overnight."
When we're going through hell, we obviously want to get out of it as fast as we can — but it rarely happens as quickly as we'd like. Have patience.
12. "Every last terrible thing without exception was in the end a very, very good thing."
It might be hard to believe in the moment, but one day, you'll be grateful for even the pain and challenges you went through. They make you smarter and tougher.
13. "... my depression was too strong and I had some issues I hadn’t addressed."
Your mental health matters. If this suffers, so will everything else. Your happiness matters more than a job, school, and grades.
14. "I decided I could either wallow or not."
One thing we're all in control of? Our own attitudes. Take time to hurt, but don't wait too long to realize you're more powerful than you might think.
15. "After being severely depressed and anxious for the majority of my 20s, I'm finally trying to turn my life around."
Finding what works best for you can entail some trial and error. This. Is. Normal. As long as you're trying to feel better, you're on the right track.
16. "... I feel like the author of my story. That's worth a lot."
It's your story, and you decide how it goes. If you need to feel more empowered, there you go.
17. "With a real sense of joy and liberation."
Instead of looking at it like a horrible ending, see it as a fresh start. Everyone loves a fresh start. It's a chance to do things better.
18. "I was so consumed with making life perfect that I wasn't enjoying it."
What does "perfect" mean, anyway? If it means comparing yourself to others who you believe have it better and deciding that you don't measure up, stop.
19. "Hell, I’ve been doing this at least once a decade and I’m 52."
Just a friendly reminder that age is nothing. Twists and turns can happen at any corner, and that's okay.