If you’re someone who has had an epiphany about your life this year, you aren’t alone.
Maybe after a few weeks of working from home, you woke up one day and thought to yourself, I cannot imagine returning to this job, I cannot imagine going back to that office.
Maybe after being quarantined with someone, you began to realize that without anything to buffer your fundamental incompatibilities and thought, this relationship is not right for me.
Maybe after being unemployed and given a lot of time to reflect on your life, you realized, I haven’t actually taken care of myself in years.
Maybe as you began seeing shops and stores reopen, you got invitations from certain friends and thought, I cannot imagine hanging out with them again.
Maybe in the absence of normal day-to-day distractions, the witnessing of injustice and inequity triggered you to finally think, change must come, and it must come now.
Maybe in the midst of such unprecedented uncertainty, you were forced to reconcile or at least consider your aspirations and ambitions and discovered, my true desires have been buried beneath a success story I bought into as an effort to prove my worth, not pursue my passion.
These problems probably existed all along, the distractions are just removed now.
This year has been unifying as much as it has been divisive.
We are all experiencing the same thing at the same time, watching the differences between how people respond and interpret their experience.
It’s initiated a series of deeper shifts within many of us.
If you are one such person trying to initiate deep personal change amid such intense uncertainty, please know that you are no alone in feeling anxious, stressed, or even worse.
While epiphanies might sound enlightening and exciting, they more often require intense periods of processing to cope with.
Where do you go from here?
Give yourself time to process.
Seriously, give yourself time to cope with your emotions.
We are facing huge, unprecedented unknowns, and uncertainty is one of the most triggering experiences that human beings can face.
Even if you do know that your life needs to change course from here on out, give yourself as much time as you need to grieve, mourn and process everything that’s happening around you.
You are not weak for feeling this way.
You’re probably just paying attention.
Recognize the opportunity.
With anything, there’s always a silver lining.
This one might be that you’ve been given a glimpse into your life, your trajectory, and your place in the world in a way that’s extremely unique. You might not ever get it again.
Many people have taken this time as an opportunity to reflect, reconnect, and make changes that might have been far harder to act on when everything was carrying on as usual.
When everything seems to be coming apart, we have a unique opportunity to influence some of what comes back together.
Can you identify any possibilities that have opened up in your life?
Take it one step at a time.
If you try to fix and change everything all at once, you’re going to be cruising for a meltdown. It’s too much uncertainty for your system to process, on top of what’s already extremely challenging to handle.
Please know that you are not supposed to be optimally functional right now.
Please know that nothing that is ultimately right for you long-term will require you to sacrifice your mental health forever.
Instead of panicking over how your life might unfold over the next five years (especially if you’re someone whose long-term vision has just shifted in a major way) then focus on the day in front of you.
Focus on what the next right step is. As long as you can keep picking that out, you’ll arrive to where you want to be eventually.
Remember how far you’ve already come.
Try to find one smidge of stability through gratitude.
If you’re reading this, you’re alive.
Things might not be great right now, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t get better one day.
Remember everything you’ve already done. Appreciate everyone you’ve known, everything you’ve gotten to experience so far, and perhaps even the ways in which you’ve helped influence and shape the change that is to come.
You’re doing the best you can with what you have.
Give yourself some credit.
Remember that what you’re choosing now is probably what you always wanted deep down.
Instead of thinking that your life has been completely sidelined by external forces, consider that the external forces have simply helped reveal what was true deep down all along.
The truth is that none of this is new.
Our systems were failing before this. Social media was unhealthy before this. Your relationship was incompatible before this. Your job was making you miserable before this. Whatever other realizations you’ve had about your own life probably, somewhere deep down, existed before this.
Now, you just get to see the truth.
Will you use your clarity as a push to take the first step?
Or will you go back to sleep?