21 and scared of screwing up my life

Postby gornallea » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:25 pm

I'm 21 and feel like I have never 'lived'. I have done some interesting and some plain stupid things that I am ashamed of, but have always been dangerously in denial about the future and have never done anything constructive to set up a life for myself as an adult. I am on my third year of a four-year languages course but am panicking because I chose it as a default option for lack of knowing what else to study and chose it so I could keep my options open, I also have never done the things that people should have done by my age, i.e. been in a long-term relationship or been in a job. I feel so behind other people and completely out of touch with the world we live in, and completely isolated from other people. I know I need to drastically change and 'get a life' basically, but am feeling completely stuck and don't know how to start doing this now I've committed myself on this course and am so used to living 'in the shadows'. I am afraid if I carry on like this I am just going to completely screw over my life. I feel like a child in an adult's body, just completely irresponsible and fraudulent. Even admitting this to other people would just make them laugh because I sound so pathetic. Does anyone have any advice about re-connecting with the 'real world'?
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:43 pm

Languages? Which languages are you studying?

gornallea wrote: I also have never done the things that people should have done by my age, i.e. been in a long-term relationship or been in a job.


You are in luck. There are only two things you need to do and life will be much better.

-1- Question what you believe: Where or from who or how did you ever come to believe that by the age of 21 you should have been involved in a long-term relationship or had a job? Did a parent tell this to you, a friend, or is this some conclusion you derived from an aggregation of Facebook posts? Where did you learn to believe that life is a competition where you are suppose to following the same path as friends or people in your age group?

Your beliefs sound reasonable to you. Someone has planted these expectations as being the "norm" or some type of important metric. They are wrong. You are wrong and I would encourage you to take some time to reexamine your beliefs and why you believe such nonsense. Who is this authority that is shaping your beliefs?

-2- You are inflicted with the dangerous disease of futuritice: It is an unfortunate affliction where a person spends too much time imagining some future that has not happened. They worry about the top of the mountain, spending tons of time thinking about the view or how they will possibly make the climb that they avoid living in the present. It is a dangerous disease, because it is self-fulfilling. The person spends so much time living in their head in some future state, that they fail to get off their a$$ and start making the climb.

Once you begin questioning your beliefs and stop living in your head, life will get much, much better. As you begin to develop new beliefs, beliefs that are actually productive or functional in the real world, you will want to establish your goals, set short term goals and focus on them in the present, not some imagined future.

The reason I asked about the languages is because it can be a very liberating and economically rewarding path depending on what you want to accomplish in life. If you want to use the degree to travel the world you can. But, if you are more interested in staying in one city then maybe begin to look at other opportunities. Regardless, you are only 21 and what you have learned during the last 3 years will be of value in the future.
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#2

Postby tijmenklip » Mon May 01, 2017 8:04 pm

I want to add to Richard's story: there are no defined checkpoints you have to mark in life. Despite what you may have learned, your peers or culture tells you. As you grow more aware, you can define what is important to YOU, not to others. And can make the life you want.
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#3

Postby clarecui » Wed May 24, 2017 2:04 pm

First, I want to tell you that it's normal (especially if you tend to be a little anxious, like me) that you're feeling panicked. When we think about the future, that is exactly where anxiety lives. The wonderful thing is that we are here right now, the future hasn't happened yet, theres plenty of time to work on your goals!

have never done anything constructive to set up a life for myself as an adult. I am on my third year of a four-year languages


I feel like 3 years and almost completing a 4 year course in language is AWESOME. That is a huge accomplishment, and what a great step into moving yourself forward!

I am afraid if I carry on like this I am just going to completely screw over my life. I feel like a child in an adult's body, just completely irresponsible and fraudulent.


Feeling like your screwing up your life by taking your time and thinking over your decisions seems a bit harsh doesn't it? When we get into comparison mode, "She/He has this girlfriend/job/house", it takes away from our joy. It's really hard to move forward if we live in a state of comparison or fear of not getting what we think we want, versus giving yourself a lot of love for putting the effort in right now that will absolutely move you forward.

What is your biggest goal right now?
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#4

Postby gornallea » Wed May 24, 2017 10:06 pm

Thank you for your responses. I have recently come to realise that the only thing getting in the way of moving forward is me telling myself that I'm already beyond repair and unable to change, which is some ridiculous self-fulfilling prophecy I know. I recently read a book that said that the more you dwell on a problem the more you become the problem rather than actively solving it, which has stuck with me as I know that it is time now to work out what I'm aiming towards and aim towards it rather than just berating myself for not being like everyone else. Easier said than done and I'm going to have to break a lot of bad habits (not commucating effecively and not setting boundaries mostly, ironic in that I am doing a degree which is all about communication in a foreign language). I guess doing a French degree is quite useful after all, it just feels like a waste now I'm on my year abroad and feel like I've been resisting change too much to learn from any life experiences that have come out of it..
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed May 24, 2017 11:19 pm

Cool. What book did you read? I always like adding to my reading list.

Heck yes French is valuable...or it can be depending on how you apply it. It all depends what you want to do. Obviously if you end up not traveling it becomes less valuable.
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#6

Postby clarecui » Thu May 25, 2017 11:57 pm

gornallea wrote: the more you become the problem rather than actively solving it, which has stuck with me as I know that it is time now to work out what I'm aiming towards and aim towards it rather than just berating myself for not being like everyone else.


Absolutely! Think of a zit....if you put your attention on it, touch it, pick at it, it's never going to heal or get better, in fact it typically gets worse. That is so great that you are realizing that berating yourself or not being like everyone else is not only just plain mean, but it's not moving you towards where you want to go

Easier said than done and I'm going to have to break a lot of bad habits


It may not be easy, but it will be worth it!

I guess doing a French degree is quite useful after all


Being multilingual is a HUGE benefit! You can continue your education in something else (like business or technology) and people will pay large amount to have someone with a bilingual ability. You're doing great!
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