We’ve all had those moments of sheer panic. The moment you realize that you’ve left your interchangeable adapter plugs in your London hotel while you’re unpacking your bags in Paris. When your teacher announces that he wants the class to pass hard copies of their essays to the front of the room; meanwhile you had emailed it to him the night before. And then there are moments that are, and sometimes not, seemingly life altering.
When I was 16, my best friend, who was an exchange student, moved back to Italy.
When I was 18, I got denied from my dream school.
I have had many more moments through my 19 years that have caused anxiety and fear to run through my body but these are just a few of my most memorable ones that I have either witnessed or been through. Now, up until this point in my life, I have never really sat down, sipped some tea, and really thought about these events, whether big or small. I mean sure forgetting adaptor plugs was awful in the moment (this happened to my best friend Gabrielle while we were stumbling our way across Europe) but looking back on it in the scheme of things, it had no major effect on her life. The small moments of panic, where it seems the world is ending for a few minutes, most of the time make for a good story years later; if you’re lucky, one day you’ll even be able to see the humor in it.
The larger moments, the ones that can define you if you let them, are much more complicated. When I got denied from my dream college, and all my other top choice schools, I felt like an utter failure. I cried for longer than I’d like to admit. I remember the feeling of immense pressure all around my body; I honestly thought the world was caving in around me. Since my whole plan for my future was suddenly turned upside down, I felt so lost; the feeling that came over me is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. My paths for my life that I had planned since I was in middle school were erased completely and I stood there in front of only a single path and it was one that I didn’t want to take. I was only 18 and I felt like my whole world was falling apart yet I hadn’t even begun to create it. I honestly thought that I would never overcome those feelings of confusion, sadness, and disappointment. I saw my world crumbling before my eyes and all I could do was watch in awe.
Now that I’ve told you one of my “end of the world” moments, I want you to think about one of yours. The one that stands out the most to you. No matter how painful it was, or still is, I want you to sit and think about. Think about how it made you feel and then remind yourself that you made it through that moment. You thought your whole life was over and you cried out of pain and even fear, but here you are today. Maybe you went through a bad breakup or got denied from your dream school or you moved across the country because your parents got transferred at their jobs. Whatever it is, you deserve to be proud of yourself because you survived. Even if you didn’t thrive for a while, you still survived and lived to tell the tale and that’s a beautiful thing.
If you’re still going through one of these times, I’m right there with you. And guess what? There’s a high chance that someone you know is having one of these panic induced moments and maybe you can find someone in your life to talk to about it; if not, you can comment down below and I’ll be here for you. Whether you’re trying to make an important decision or are adjusting to major changes, I promise you that your world is not ending. It may seem like it is, I know I feel that way, but you must trust me when I say that it’s not ending. You may be at the lowest point in your life so far; you may even surpass rock bottom. I believe that every single human can survive these moments. You must find one thing, just one. Find that one thing that brings you hope for the long term. It could be anything: a significant other, your dream career, your favorite hobby. Once you find that one thing, write about it. Draw it. Create a vision board. Tell your best friend or significant other. Find quotes that you relate to. Do anything you can to express that one ounce of hope so you can always remind yourself that it’s there.
Maybe as we get older we will all get better at handling these moments. Maybe after a certain age we learn how to not spiral into the “end of the world” crisis. Whether or not we learn how to properly handle these moments, the one thing we must learn is that right now is just the beginning. These scary moments are what shape us as people and our paths to our goals, as much as we might not want to admit it. Even if you don’t handle your rock bottom well to other people’s standards, you are learning in the process and that’s all that matters.
So here’s to beginnings. Here’s to learning. And here’s to surviving and thriving.
Until next time,