Tell me if this sounds familiar, “Stop worrying, things will happen when they happen.” Hmm? Yeah, I thought it might because I was also told that at least one thousand times and I hated it every single time I heard it. Roll your eyes all you want, but let me tell you something, everybody who told me that was right and I want to explain why you are right where you need to be.
Let me first make sure we are all on the same page if the “stop worrying” line didn’t exactly resonate with you.
You ever question your future? Ever wonder where you were going to go, what you were going to do and who you were going to do those things with? Did these questions ever make you question your entire existence and then put you into a crippling and numbing panic attack? Did I just accidentally make it worse by making you think about those questions?
Well, now you know how millions of people around the world feel everyday, and that’s how I felt coming into college.
High school was hard enough working through my parent’s divorce and my increasing anxiety. When I would worry about my grades, sports or who I would date, I would seek guidance from my parents and friends who would listen and then tell me, “Stop worrying, be patient.” Yeah, THAT made everything better, right? And the problem was only amplified when I got to college, only now it wasn’t just me causing the anxiety attacks.
The cruel irony of the situation was it was your family, friends and relatives now causing the anxiety by trying to question and dictate your life, “What are you going to major in? What are you going to do with that? You should do this instead.” THEN, once you start overthinking and force yourself into a crippling anxiety attack and try to explain to them what you are going through, they turn two faced on you and say, “Stop worrying, it’ll happen when it happens.” (WHAT?!?!?!?!)
THEN, if you were unsure of your future at that point and felt like your life was spiraling out of control, you start to look at your friends’ lives and see all the things they are doing. Some are going to graduate school while others already have job offers their fall semester of their senior year while you’re there now paralyzed because you have been comparing yourself to them.
Here’s the thing though, and I want you to really, really read this once and then another time to understand, you are not them. You are not your friends or relatives. Your life is what you make it. You can not let the way somebody else thinks or does something dictate the way you are going to live your life because you are you, not them.
It wasn’t until my senior year when I realized I was never doing anything for myself and I was always comparing myself to my friends. I finally decided to go against the grain and do my own thing that led me down the path to my future, where I am now a marketing and communications specialist for a livestock feed company, that things started working for me. But it wasn’t just my senior year that put me on that path. It was everything from high school through college that put me on that path, I was just busy looking at everyone else to realize it.
I say this because I was sitting in my car the other night on my way home from work and I looked up at our state Capital building and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of understanding wash over me. All along, I was right where I needed to be in life. I’ll explain.
I didn’t know I was going to work in the dairy industry when I graduated college. Hell, if you asked freshman year Brandon what he was going to be in four years, he would have told you a history teacher, but life had other ideas and this is meant to show you that you are right where you need to be like I was.
Freshman year, I studied at the agriculture library on campus when many of my friends hated it, but I liked it for some reason. Sophomore year, I declared my major in life sciences communication because I liked to talk and write, not because of the life sciences. Junior year, I wrote for a campus newspaper and then interned for Farm Journal Magazine, an agriculture publication. Senior year, I joined the National Agri-Marketing Association and marketing team and found my job in the dairy industry. I may have not known it then, but I was exactly where I needed to be so I could become the person I am today.
What’s my point? As much as it is hard not to do, you need to stop worrying so much about the future, what your parents or friends say, and what your friends are doing with their lives because they aren’t you. You need to start living for you and open your eyes to YOUR future, not their’s. The world is trying to direct you in the right direction, but you have to open your eyes and see where it is pointing you.
I know it is impossible to stop worrying entirely. A little worry is necessary, and that is what will motivate you to keep moving forward. You may not see this now, but I can guarantee one day you will and for now I leave you with this message, don’t worry, you are right where you need to be.