How to keep going?

artwork by Günseli Sepici

Ok, so a little something different today. I want to talk about something with you, maybe it’s still my existential crisis talking here, but I still want to get this out there. Currently, I am in pursuit of living my best life. Life is short, time flies past and everyday we are the youngest we will ever be again. Maybe this fear of losing grips on the here and now, is partly fed by a question I got a few weeks ago: are you afraid of growing older?

Well, am I? At first, I said no! Absolutely not. I think I feel grateful to be able to age older, be healthy and get a brand new day everyday to keep going. But then it started to sink in. Is time running out (slowly and steadily)? Am I really getting “too old for this shit”? Mind you, I will become 25 this summer and I know this is not “old”. But it’s the oldest I’ve ever been. It’s a quarter of a century. Maybe I’m already halfway of the time I have in this life?!

I interpreted these things in two ways. Let me explain. I am currently in pursuit of living my best life. I’m aiming for the things I think I want to do. I’m working hard to get food on the table, and maybe a little more. Like owning my own table in my own home, as I’m currently living with housemates to keep the cost of rent low. I’m struggling, but I’m learning and growing as a person to become better.

But at the same time, everywhere around us we see people who are more succesful than us. I mean, they’re everywhere. And it’s hard not to compare myself with them. And with the comparison, crippling doubts and fears creep in. What if…? Is one of the questions I loathe most.

I know comparison in the thief of all joy. I know it’s not fair on myself to ask ‘what if…?’.  And I know that I shouldn’t do any of it, that’s it’s an ongoing process, that I should practice, that I should do a lot of things — like being compassionate with oneself. I know there are good days, and there are bad days. Most times I’m good and jolly, like right now that I’m writing this post. But sometimes my brain doesn’t really do what I want. And then sometimes it happens that I don’t practice the things I should, or that I can’t seem to be fair on myself…and it’s shit. But I know I’m not the only one.

Mind you, I don’t think this is about growing older. Though I don’t really know what it is about to be honest. But here’s my question… how do you keep going? How do you keep going day in day out. What do you do that keeps your mind at ease? And how do you cope? What keeps you motivated?

ps. one of the things I like to do when I feel it’s not going to plan: I blog, or I visit my favourite blogs.
Or I cook pasta. And maybe listen to actual 30’s jazz.

  • If I had a dollar for every time similar thoughts ran through my head. In this situation, I usually find something tangible I can do to alleviate my anxiety about the passage of time. A lot of my own fear of getting older is a fear of squandering my youth so I try to be productive, in one way or another. An altogether thoughtful post, Louise!

    • Thanks Alyse. I definitely agree, but up to a point where I feel the need to be productive non-stop and don’t feel I have time to relax or chill out. It’s definitely something I’m working on, haha. :) Thanks for your honesty!

  • first of all, I’m happy that you’re in pursuit of living your best life.
    Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with growing old. I don’t think of it as time running out but, running out of things to do with how much my body could take (did that make sense?)
    I think I get what you mean when you say that everywhere around us we see successful people. It’s frustrating especially when you think of how did they do that? In that age? S/he’s the same age as me, if not younger.
    As for ‘What ifs’, as much as i loathe them, I try my best to look at everything with optimism (which I really can’t do because I overthink and blah blah). But I see what ifs as two things, one is a door that I left opened/unopened. A door that I could come back to. Or two, a bridge that I crossed that’ll just be a part of who I am today.

    Honestly, I don’t know how I kept on going. So many times, I just wanted to disappear and just burst like a bubble but somehow can’t. I think its just because I know (even though I doubt this most of the time) that there’s someone out there who’s listen to me and take my mind off the things that’s drowning me inside my head. Thinking about it now, I don’t think I cope… it’s more like I live through it and hope that things’ll get better. Dreams, dreams motivate and drag me down but in the end the possibility that it might come true makes me live through.

    Mia, Chaotic Tales

    • Ugggghhhh yes! Definitely agree. Last week I had this terrible urge to do a forward roll (a roly poly — not sure what this gymnastics move is called in english) and it hurt my body for 2 days. Something so simple I used to do so much when I was >14. I felt SO OLD.
      Also, overthinking is a bad habit of mine too. But I like your way of thinking it being a door that you left opened/unopened. It keeps it way more in between than a thing of the past you can never return to because circumstance is not allowing it anymore. ……or something like that.

      But man, your honesty on coping is so good. It’s so sad and depressing as I feel the same way with a lot of things. Dreams are always the answer. Dreaming on and on. :)

  • I have a lot of these same thoughts. While I don’t hate growing older, I hate the shift in thinking that comes with it. It’s getting less and less easy to say things like:”I’ve got time. I’m still young. It’s OK to not be settled, yet”.
    It also gets easier, especially in this day and age where everything is shared, to see just how much I’m failing (compared to others). Those days are probably the toughest, and when I stop and think if I need to make a change.

    Some days I don’t feel like trudging on. I feel like I should just give up on my goals, and settle for what I have. But thankfully those days are overshadowed by the better days. When I wake up and I’m glad I do what I do. It’s these days that keep me going during the dark times. It’s that sliver of hope that makes me think there’s a chance.

    Anyway, thanks for the post. Glad I’m not alone in this thinking lol

    <3 Gemma |

    • And thank you for your honesty Gemma! :) I think you mention a very valid point, slowly reaching my thirties (I’ve still got time –!!) I feel like all the impending doom is coming closer. I.e. relationships, settling, do I want kids? While I’m also still feeling like a 16 year old from time to time. And then you see people around you who settled or are getting settled and “getting serious”. All the while, it’s not like I’m not taking life serious!? Oh, the shit we get when we compare ourselves with the people around us.

      I think having a positive outlook definitely helps tons with keeping sane. It’s so weird though, how everyone struggles, yet we fail to speak up and act like it’s all fine. Happy to hear the good overshadows the bad. :)

  • This post resonates with me so much. I know that life is short and yet sometimes it feels that I put unnecessary stress by constantly checking if I am living life to the fullest and then worrying when I am not.

    To answer your question on how to keep going, I just do. Suicide is not on the table so all that is left is to just keep living. But to break the whole feeling of ground hog day, I do enjoy going on walks around the neighbourhood or having things to look forward to (trips etc).

    I have been enjoying your blog posts a lot lately :)

    • That means a lot to me, Natalie! Thanks for your honesty. I don’t think suicide is an option ever. But I like that you say “so all that is left is to just keep living.” which is so true and basal. Ground hog day is definitely something I want to avoid at all costs. Travelling really is the answer, isn’t it? :)

  • Totally relating to this Louise. I’m probably in the middle of a quarter life crisis right now – I strongly believe in doing what makes me happy but the thing is I have no idea what will continue to make me happy in the future! I think seeing my friends to vent and commiserate together keeps me going.

  • Oh man, I could totally relate to you. When I was turning 25 I had all these questions too in my head. and of course, I did the most mature thing you can do when you’re 24. I called my mom. haha. As I grow even older than 25, the truth is, this questions will never stop. All the what ifs and what’s that. I think no one really knows what they’re doing – in a sense. my family and the people I love really play the part in keeps me going. because I have reasons to keep on going.

    • Agreed! That’s something I finally realised as a 24-year-old: nobody knows what they’re doing really — and that is actually ok. I found it so frustrating to learn this when I knew it was kind of true, but I also really built a lot of my beliefs and opinions on the fact that there was a solid fundament in society. I’m really learning now to built more on my friends and family and things I can actually assume will be more… trustworthy (?). I don’t know. I’m still learning haha!
      Thanks for stopping by and your honesty! :)

  • I definitely felt this way when I was 24/25 and into my mid-twenties, so I think it’s totally normal to question what you’re doing with your life and if you’re going in the right direction. I think for me the biggest thing is to decide what you want out of life and who you want to be, and then work out how to close the gap from where you’re at now to that place you want to be in, and then slowly work toward that. Whether that’s changing your job (which you’ve just done) or moving somewhere new or taking up new hobbies or planning travel or working on a financial goal, just deciding what it is that you want out of life and making sure you’re taking steps to get there is what helped me stop feeling that way.

  • Nancy Wilde

    I’m approaching the feared 30s and it feels like there is a pre middle age crises already creeping in alright. Comparison ruins any possibility of self-accomplishment or satisfaction and the more I check other people’s Instagram moments or wanderlust goals achieved… the more I want to hibernate and induce coma until I wake up happy, successful and self-confident. Still figuring out what to do but I guess that at the end of the day things could be so much worse… I try to cheer myself up by thinking about my fantastic friends, my loving boyfriend, my brand new scented candles, my perfectly cooked steak, my pint of Guinness after a bad day, my parents who care so much about me and make sure there is a feast at the table waiting for me whenever I go visit them in Portugal… Some days are shittier than others. Today it’s sunny and I’m off so I feel less miserable – I do believe that we should live the present, one day at a time, and indulge in the simple pleasures of life. Maybe I’m not living the dream only because I’m too obsessed over the fact that everyone else is… Great post. And remember, age is just a number, if you keep your spirit young and open. xxx

    • Ahw, thank you Nancy for this incredibly thoughtful and eloquent comment. I think I agree that being thankful for all the things in life definitely helps a lot to combat the negative feelings that can come with the fear of growing older without ‘accomplishing stuff’ –or whatever I feel a fear of.
      I really, really appreciate it. :)

  • i dreaded getting old but i know the older i am, the more i have better perspective of things. sometimes we are at an age where things seem so bleak and dark and you feel like getting nowhere. but in the future you look back and think, hey i survived that. i can survive things, then. i dreaded getting old because i’m going nowhere with my life when people half my age able to go places, travel the world, and i feel left behind. but i guess, better late than never! maybe i’ll be at the right place in the right time in the right age someday.

    (but then it also poised some question what if i never get there? but eh, in later time)

    i know so many people would tell otherwise but age does bring you wisdom, my pal. i think it has something to do with your body as it slows down, your hormones aren’t raging anymore, you take things with double take just to make sure. and you do things better. yes you still make mistakes but now you will take it as lesson instead of be burdened by them.

    i wanna tell you that it’s okay to be doubtful of yourself. just think of it as a reality check. as if your mind sends warning sign to make sure you will do the right thing. to ensure you take the right path later on. and to make sure that you will live your best life from now on xx

  • Fransisca Angela

    Hi Louise, thank you for writing this post. I’ve never thought the day of me start questioning everything would come. At first I didn’t take the so called quarter life crisis seriously. But after getting through it for quite some time now, one thing that I keep in my mind is that: Everything take much longer time than you think (be it career, personal development, problems, friendship, etc)

    And I think it’s good to have that question in our life, because it means that we don’t want to take our life for granted and be useful. I personally want to contribute my life doing work that I truly believe in and to spend more time with people that really matter. So recently I take actions by doing so and start getting rid of negative vibes from people and things. Hope this helps, we’re all in this together :)