What if What?

I don’t normally post such in-depth personal struggles of my life.  That isn’t to say I don’t have them by any means (because I have plenty), I am just a pretty quiet person in regards to that sort of thing.  So know that I toyed around for quite some time whether I wanted to post this.  I think a lot of people probably have similar situations (especially those who have just graduated college, going to graduate soon or are really uncertain about their lives…hey that’s me).  It’s no secret that I don’t have the most exciting life right now, I’m a year out of college working a part time job (and hoping to pick up a second) living with my parents.

The other day, I had a very deep conversation with my parents about living in the future.   

Right now I am struggling with living in the present day.  Instead of thinking, oh today will be good…I think what’s going  this weekend…this month…after the summer…next year.  My head is looking so far into what if and hypothetical situations that who even knows will or will not happen.  It seems so silly to type it out but honestly when you are not living in the present you can’t enjoy present moments.  Worrying about things that may or may not happen has just continued to stress me out even more.

What if my great aunt Mildred came to visit in late October when I have to work and I just can’t get off work…what happens then?

What if my hours for working two jobs have to overlap and my bosses aren’t understanding that I’m working two jobs?

What if I never move out and live with my parents forever?

What if I move halfway across the country for a job?  What if I just move half way across the country without a job?

What if I chose to go to college 700 miles north of my high school five years ago not knowing anyone and or anything and not worrying?

What happened to that?   I don’t regret going so far to college but in my current mindset I don’t know if I would have made the same decision.  I truly loved my choice in college but it was a huge risk.  A huge change.  In my current mindset of continuing to look past the present, I cannot tell you if I would have made the same decision that I made five years ago.

This summer my goal is to not worry about what happens after the summer.  That seems really (well duh) but considering both my jobs right now are temporary, I still have them right now and in the present.  I am still enjoying myself right now in the present.  I am enjoying hanging out with my parents.  Hanging out at local road races.  Hanging out running.  If you ask me point blank why I should be stressed at this current moment in my life…I don’t have any answer because I’m not stressed.  If you asked me are my stress levels through the roof thinking about the future…well yes, yes they ar.  If I continue to worry and not enjoy the moment, I continue to stress myself out.

Everything will work out and I’ve made that promise to myself.

Question for you: Do you tend to look towards the future? 

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  1. I used to be a giant pile of stress and worries until I moved to NZ where everyone is totally relaxed all the time. At first I wanted to shake that calm out of them but then I learned to worry less too and it’s really done wonders for my stress levels. Things aren’t going to sort themselves out any faster just because you worry. And it’ll all work out anyway so there’s really no point stressing about things. One day at a time. 🙂

  2. Remember that time I was 27 and quit my career to move back in with my parents? Yeah… I was working temporary jobs but obsessed with everything happening 6 years later, it got me nowhere but stressed. If I’ve learned anything in the last two years it’s things can change very quickly and for someone OCD like me it’s hard, but embracing the changes as they hit is the way to roll

  3. This sounds somewhat like me. I always seem to look at how I can improve my current situation, or what I should be doing to move forward with my life/career/etc., instead of enjoying where I’m at now. I attribute it to my perfectionist state of mind, I guess. Nothing’s ever perfect, though, and I’ve been trying to drill that in my head lately.
    I’m two years out of college, with a full-time job, and still get confused on the daily about where I’m going/what I should be. Not to mention…I worry entirely too much for my own good!

    1. Exactly, I think part of the reason is that I worry about everything and how it may or may not affect me…for absolutely no reason at all LOL.

  4. Newsflash! You’re normal. It’s a good thing to think about where you want to be in life, but the only thing you can control is the “right now” and making decisions you think improve your chances for a better tomorrow. From my perspective – having hit a MAJOR LEAGUE reset on my life about 7 years ago when things were pretty terrible – I look forward to the future and plan for it, but I try to live in today as much as possible. Some days are really sucky, and I am glad when they are over. However, even those days can have something redeeming about them. I just never want to regret missing out on things happening now.

    I figured a while back that if I spent my time living too much in the future that I would miss out on what was happening in the present. Because the worst thing that could happen would be to be in the future sometime regretting not making the most out of time you can’t get back.

    Sort of like the Andy Bernard line near the end of The Office finale: “”I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”

  5. you need to relax and enjoy this summer….seriously everything will work itself out. One thing I do know about your future, its going to be fabulous.

  6. I can certainly understand your anxiety. I have a not-so-wealthy family, and growing up I constantly worried about the future – would I have enough money? Would I have to go into debt? Would I get a job out of college? etc. It took years for me to settle down and stop framing everything in terms of finances. Enjoy your summer. You have two jobs and a happy family: it will work out. Even if this is temporary, it is resume-building.

  7. First of all, I love that you opened up about personal stuff. I know it’s not easy to do in blogging because you don’t always want everyone in your business. So, kudos to you on that Hollie! Anyways, I am so with you… I am always planning what’s next instead of enjoying RIGHT NOW. It’s something I am always working on!

  8. I do this on a day to day basis. Actually, I do it so much I’ve gotten myself into a huge hole of anxiety and now have panic attacks every so often. It’s terrible when you cannot calm yourself down. I really worry hour by hour about my future because of my whole knee business. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’m starting to panic right now typing this comment. My whole future is on the line if this thing doesn’t heal and I have pretty much $2000 saved to my name. Obviously, my student loans are coming in and I can’t get a job because I’m practically disabled. Whomp, whomp. My mom always tells me to take things day by day but I know it’s hard. It’s just something you have to keep reminding yourself. <3

  9. I can relate, I’m always subconsciously a big ball of stress. I lived w/ my ex-boyfriend of 4 years, whom I just assumed I’d marry for two years before making the big decision to break up and move out on my own for the first time ever. I barely had the money to do it — I’m glad I did,but that caused me a ton of stress and still does since I’m still recovering from that financially and it was 6 months ago. After that happened in December, I kind of gave up thinking about all the what if’s and future things. I try to remain positive, I keep running to clear my head, and I just think about the strong community of people I’ve grown to know and love on the internet, as well as all the people I know IRL who are here to support me if I ever need it (also a huge issue — I’m too independent and won’t ask for help!) Reminding myself of these things tends to help ease the stress, but so does talking it out, even to random people on the internet 🙂

    Just remember, everyone has phases like this. You can’t control what you can’t control and you have to take everything one day at a time. I hate cliches, but what’s meant to be will be. And something about if everything is okay, it’s not the end yet. Blah blah blah. I don’t know if I believe in any of that, but sometimes it helps lol.

  10. I think this is completely normal. Don’t feel like you’re alone. I think the biggest thing is to stay positive and know that you’re exactly where you need to be, around those whom you should be around and are moving towards your next step in life. 🙂 When the right opportunity presents itself- you’ll know it!

  11. I’m very much in the same boat. I used to be a lot more easygoing, and then for some reason I decided it would be a good idea to start worrying about the future 😯 I joke, but it was seriously a big problem for a long time because I ended up being so consumed by “what if” thoughts, that I basically became paralyzed. I had all these ideas and dreams that I could never actualize because I was shooting myself down before even giving them a chance. Was I safe and comfortable? Sure… but I was bored and stagnating. I recently took two huge leaps of faith, and while they’re all sorts of terrifying, at the same time I’m really excited about the changes that they’ll bring. The thing that helps me the most when I start to worry too much about the future is remembering that no matter what happens, you WILL find a way to deal with it. No matter what. Some outcomes might obviously be less ideal than others, but it’s never the end of the world, and nothing is written in stone.

  12. I totally related to this post, Hollie. Right now, I definitely feel like I’m hanging out while doing the whole working/training thing, and when I look one week, one month, one year down the road, I have absolutely no idea what’s coming–and that makes me anxious. I’ve always had a plan, and this is the first time I don’t have anything remotely close to a three- or five-year plan. I guess that’s what makes life worth living.

  13. I did this a lot when I was younger. It’s pretty typical for anyone post college and anyone in a transition state- I actually felt the same way one year ago when I moved down here.

    You are right- it is hard to open up on a blog about life. Especially if you have a running blog and mostly running friends and people read those posts, it almost seems like you figure it’s your life and it’s not exciting and you write for the readers (even if you do write for yourself… you kinda know what people like to read… we have Google Analytics to thank for that). So, great job for opening up about the struggles.

    I really think we’re programmed to think toward the future when we’re in school… and you’re still a pretty recent grad. We have to think about the next grade, the next year, high school, college, then after college… the future. After college there’s no next step and “the future” we’ve been hearing about all those years is here. I do hope you can have a great summer and enjoy it and not worry so much- I’ve worried way too much over the past 5 years since I was in your shoes (1 year post college) and really… it’s just not worth it.

  14. I think it is awesome that you have recognized this and set it as a goal to work on. I think you’ll have a great summer!

  15. I really empathize with you on this. I find myself worrying so much about the future that I’m unable to make a decision and move forward. And that is really not helping at all. I don’t have any words of advice, other than I think it’s normal, especially with so many things up in the air and partially out of your control.

  16. I have this problem too. I worry too much about the future, and it causes me anxiety, when I should really just focus on the present. I’m working on this too. I need to let go of my need for control!

  17. I sometimes catch myself doing this too. I start thinking 5+ years into the future and planning out the next 3 summers of my life and my plans for such and such. Then I tell myself I just need to stop and relax! What happens will happen and things don’t usually go according to plan anyway. Better to just enjoy the present moment!

  18. I can relate so much. I am always concentrating on the future and trying to plan it out, I really need to focus on the now. I still live my parents and I often wonder the same thing, but I know the future will work it self out eventually. For now I am going to try and stay in the present like you.

  19. Ah, totally been here. After I graduated from college…basically all of 2011, I was just lost. Med school didn’t work out, grad school didn’t work out, I moved back with my parents and didn’t even have a job. I spent a lot of time worrying about what on earth I was going to do with my life and it was the most stressful, miserable year of my entire life. Even now, though I have a really specific plan for my life that I’m excited about, I sometimes find myself thinking stuff like “what if I fail out of grad school?” or “what if I am too poor after this to support myself?” or “what if something happens to me and all I ever did with my life was go to school?” But in reality, it’s not the epic things we do with our lives that make them great….it’s how we live in the day-to-day, what we make of all the little moments. So…living in the moment and enjoying it is really all anyone can do! Sometimes its hard not to let your mind wander there, but it sounds like (to the outsider at least!) you’ve got a lot of great things in your life – the possibility of two jobs, awesome parents, running, friends to chill with etc. rock on my friend 😀

  20. I am completely with you here Hollie, like 100%…. although I think your in both a healthier physical and mental state than I am! I also am living at home at this time and as you know, the nursing school debacle occurred and now? Oh lawdy what in the hell am I going to do? What if I am stuck living with my mom the rest of my life? What if I never find a job I actually like? What if I never really DO anything?
    All of these are surging through my head as well… and like you, my daily life is not too stressful, but it’s the whole future crap that sends me a downward spiral.
    I also need to work on living in the moment.. to not only calm myself down right now, but to also ENJOY what I am doing at this time,, because it really is ok. Plus this is a time to improve my life, physically and mentally HEAL

  21. You know I look way too far into the future. And by doing so I am continually disappointed with life. But when I take a step back and look at what I have right in this moment I am surprised at how awesome I live and what I do. But I too cannot help planning far into the future and worrying. But we have talked about this. Looking into the future makes life move too fast and pass us by because are not focusing on enjoying life as it comes

  22. I would say that since getting injured I am struggling a bit with this. I keep thinking “When will I be able to run again?!” and I am totally fixated on it. I actually drove yesterday for the first time and being able to do that made me feel a heck of a lot less stressed. Being 25 and totally dependent on other people to get from point A to B was a little tough for me. I know the best thing to do is live in the present and cherish all the moments while keeping an eye on the future. Easier said than done though right?

  23. Yep, I do it. I actually think running marathons makes it worse for me. I’m constantly looking forward to the race, and I’m always counting down during training. I’m like that if I plan an exotic vacation too. I wish I could just sign up for things last minute, but most of the time, that’s not acceptable.
    I too need to learn to live in the moment more……..

  24. Yes this is how my life has been since I graduated college so I feel you. I moved to Seattle from Ohio with no job, no friends, no money – just Jeff. I was living for the future during most of my time there and it wasn’t very satisfying. I kept thinking… “when I leave Seattle, my life will be like this…” But we were there for 5 years (well, he was there for 6) and I often think of how much time I wasted worrying about the future.
    Now you know we are moving to Pittsburgh, but have no house and no real plan and I don’t care as much as I probably should. I just think things will work out because they always do when I live for now. So yes, I will be married with a child, another on the way, 32 years old, and living with my parents for awhile until we find a house we like. Things could be worse though. 🙂
    Yes, I’m also creepily commenting on all your posts I couldn’t comment on when we were traveling and I didn’t have a computer. I hate commenting on my phone!

    1. LOL, Jen your comments always make me happy. You could comment from them in a year and I wouldn’t mind! That actually makes me feel a lot better. You know basically my entire situation and you are right. They could def be worse.

  25. Everyone’s lives are different and no one should ever tell us what we should/shouldn’t do! There is no ‘one path fits all’. I moved back in with my parents after college thinking that I would move out shortly, but ended up sticking around for 2 years now because I wanted to save money for grad school. Just remember that everything happens for a reason and life has a funny way of making things work out just the way they’re supposed to! Good luck girl 🙂

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