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Are You Waiting for Your Life to Start?

“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them.” ~Denis Waitley

Even though I am just 20, I’ve always been one of those people who is constantly waiting for my life to start. “When I’m older I’ll do this” and “In a few years I’ll do that.”

My Dad took his own life when I was very young. Due to my age and the fact my family struggled so much with the loss, I grew up thinking he died of natural causes and learned the truth by accident when I was a teenager.

At the time I told one friend, who was my age. In hindsight she was too young take on my burdens as well as her own, and I was too young to know how to handle finding something like this out. The way I viewed my family, my Dad, and myself completely changed.

For a few years I dealt with it very destructively.

I couldn’t make sense of all these new feelings I was experiencing and constantly viewed myself as worthless and unattractive; in my head I must have been if my own Dad could leave me like that.

I suffered with depression and an eating disorder that would continue for a long time.

A lot of my friends never knew about the way I felt. I was always “the funny one” and became loud and overconfident to mask what I was actually feeling. Food became comfort for me, and always in the privacy of my own room.

High school soon ended, and I welcomed that with open arms. I saw the next stage in my education as a new beginning. I loved my friends with all my heart, but I thought a change of scenery and a chance to meet new people would help me change the way I looked at myself and my issues.

But nothing really changed.

I met some amazing people, discovered my love for music again, and had some wonderful times. But I was still burying issues and hiding behind jokes and overconfidence.

When I didn’t get the exam results I needed to progress onto college, I started heading toward that horrible place again. I felt worthless and anxious about what I was going to do with my life.

Soon enough I found a job to get me earning money while I decided what I wanted to do in the future. The job gave me freedom, independence, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

The role, however, was target-driven. Although I enjoyed this pressure, and the money it gave me at first, it slowly began to creep up on me.

As that year progressed I slowly sunk back into my old ways and I was suddenly taking my performance at work incredibly personally. Everything I had felt over the past four years crept up on me and I eventually hit a wall.

I left my job, abandoned the amazing plans I had to travel the world, and became the old depressed me. I was never suicidal, but I stopped caring about whether I was living or not.

I was at an ultimate low for a good few months when an old friend reappeared. Despite four years of not seeing each other, she knew something was wrong and immediately suggested we meet up for a coffee and a catch up.

When we met, we chatted for hours about our lives. It felt wonderful to get these feelings off my chest to someone who was impartial and who wasn’t judging me, and it also felt good to listen to someone else’s problems for once. Then she said something that I will never ever forget.

“This too shall pass.”

My friend told me about this phrase that she found so soothing and how relevant she felt it was to pretty much everything. I immediately fell in love with these words.

I realized all the horrible feelings I was feeling will eventually go away.

I needed to stop feeling so sorry for myself and actually want to change. I was an incredibly lucky person who had come from a family who loved and supported me my whole life.

I had to be the one to make the decision to change my way of thinking.

I also came to understand the other side of these words. All the good things and all the wonderful people in my life would pass eventually too. While I was feeling miserable, my life was still going on and I was missing out on appreciating those precious moments.

I’m not saying I magically became a happy and healed person that day. I will always struggle with self-esteem issues and my eating disorder still rears its ugly head at times. I will always love and miss my Dad and have to deal with the way he left us.

But we all have horrible things happen to us that will affect each of us differently.

The important thing to remember is that our problems aren’t what define us. What defines us is how we deal with what has happened to us; how we change the way we think about it.

We can either let it become us or we can use our new found wisdom to change the little bit of world around us all.

I now realize those things aren’t what make me who I am. Nothing about my past is any different, but I have changed the way I think about myself and my surroundings.

There’s something much bigger than us and our problems. I think it is always important to remember that there is always someone who is in a position much worse than our own.

Nevertheless, I am well on the way to becoming the person I want to be and I have goals and expectations of myself. I am now aware that my life has started.

It started twenty years ago and it’s not nearly over yet. It’s happening right now. Yours is too.

Photo by Only Sequel

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  • http://IrvingsJourney.com/ Irving Podolsky

    Dear Girl of Twenty,

    I’m going to give you some insight that I learned when I was seven years older than you, when I looked like the graphic of Irving Podolsky. Irv is the way I still feel inside, but with added experience.

    Dear Twenty,

    You are much older than you think you are. You are much more expanded than you think you are. You are NOT who you think you are.

    You are a multi-dimensional personality living many lives simultaneously. And what you wrote here on this site was inspired and channeled by an older YOU. By a thin you. By a male you. By a motherly you. By a fatherly you.

    You access these other YOU’s through dream consciousness and with spontaneous bursts of insight. People call this an enlightened moment, or entering the Zone.

    It doesn’t matter if you are aware of this process or know how it works. What counts is whether you are LISTENING or not.

    Dear Twenty, you are listening.

    Follow your inner Voice. Respond to your FEELINGS. When things feel RIGHT, go with your decisions. When an idea feels BAD, don’t go there. Your feeling is the language of the Soul, and your soul is connected to All-There-Is.

    There is a saying for this process. It’s called: FOLLOW YOUR HEART.

    Following your heart won’t steer you wrong. Listening to you heart won’t feed you lies.

    And never, EVER, toss away your power to someone who doesn’t align with your convictions.

    Be kind, give what you can, and look at the world from many points-of-view. Only then can you love with conviction. And be loved.

    Irv

  • Tony

    Dear friend,       thank you for being you and for making a difference
             : )  …… Happiness to you…… ( :

  • Lv2terp

    Very inspiring, thank you for sharing your story and journey!!! :) Wonderful wisdom and perspective!

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.stott3 Andrew Stott

    I’ve waited,all my life,for MY life to start.I’ve tried all my life to do the right thing.When a doors been swinging I’ve held it open and let others pass only to find there is no room for me in there now.I’m not waiting for my life to start I’m waiting for mine to be allowed to finish.Not to spite anyone who would be left.Just for me.Once my Parents are gone there will be no reason to be here.And there is nothing wrong with me I’ve asked many times for help usually being fobbed off or just ignored.The last episode after 4 weeks of pointless stupid questions and put downs I was told” I don’t know why you are here,I don’t know what you want,you have beaten me”.I’m not even here,not seen,not heard not needed wanted,Not started.

  • http://jaredakers.com/ Jared Akers

    Amazing article. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I could so relate to many emotions and periods in your life.

    Like “I was always ‘the funny one’ and became loud and overconfident to mask what I was actually feeling.”

    This Too Shall Pass is also one of my favorite things to remember. I used to think the way I felt would go on forever.

    It’s amazing you’ve reached this point at such a young age. I struggled with this for many years. And you’re right, it’s all about perspective. That things happen in life around us, not “to” us.

    A great turning point for you I think was “I had to be the one to make the decision to change my way of thinking,” as it was for me as well. Thanks again for sharing and best of luck to you.

  • RMSmith

    Thank you for opening yourself up in this post. As someone just now digging himself out of depression, I find great insight here.

  • Thy Bartice

    Thank you so much for sharing.  This is very inspiring!

  • me, Wendy

    Andrew – I am so glad that you found this site and post. However, it makes me sad.
    I “hear you” although I don’t know you.
    Help comes in many forms..
    Perspective is like an attitude-adjuster and I have to remind my own self constantly.
    Look for your own light…it is there…flickering but there.
    Never live just for someone else. You are valuable as you are…

  • Jumpin In

    Thinking of you Andrew Stott with love … spend some time listening to your heart; at first if might be a little sad, but go with the tears for a little while, and like a cloud obscuring the sun the sadness too shall pass and the sun will shine on you. You need to be aware of happiness – it’s like the quiet cousin at the back of the room, staying out of the way of the noisy sad, angry and nasty cousins! You might never get to know her unless you put your attention there and make the effort to ignore the others :)   Sharing is the start – now take it to the real world Andrew 

  • Tinarose29

    Errrm why are you writing about me?? LOL, this article speaks to me in ways that you cannot even imagine, I love it and I wish you all the best!!!!

  • http://www.jaynekopp.com/ Jayne Kopp

    It’s been a long time since I visited this site unfortunately.  I am so grateful a friend posted this link on FB to bring me back.

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything the author has said in this post about taking responsibility… and that mistakes do not define who you are.  I am  just in the midst of publishing a book on the topic of letting the past go and bouncing back… and bouncing higher than before, so reading this is very timely. 

    The way I look at it is, life is a journey.  sometimes we take the wrong road, other times we take the right one… but at the end of the day, it’s all good.  We must focus on the present and everything we have to be grateful for. 

    We only have ‘NOW”  … the past is gone and the future hasn’t happened yet, so it’s up to us to be present in today and do the best we can to create our future. 

    I have always said we need to live with our eyes wide open so we don’t miss out on all the awesome possibilities that lay before us … as well as the things we currently have in our life to be grateful for. 

    I am so pleased the author of the post was able to reap an epiphany when her friend said ‘this too shall pass’  and it’s obvious she or he has turned things around and is at least heading in the right direction. 

    we only get a very short time to dance on this cool planet… we  need to make the best of it NOW because we certainly won’t look back when we are on our death bed and wish we hadn’t. 

    Thanks so much for posting this.  It’s just awesome. 

  • Fiona

    This article was like reading my own diary, with the only exception is I’m 18 and my Dad is still alive somewhere. He just left when I was 11 (with our money…) I’m always referred to as the loud, fun-loving one who people dump their problems on. And you go along with it because they’re not bad attributes, and if only on the outside, it provides some comfort. From the constant anxiety and depression. I focused only on my grades and got into University, hoping my life would get amazing. But nothing really changed at all. In fact, I only felt more lost, dedicating my life to the computer screen hour after hour, only getting grade after grade. It meant so little, I realised, in the long run. But I realised, slowly, last year, after hitting wall after wall that I had to change, because I was living, but I didn’t feel alive. And I couldn’t take it anymore.
    I can happily say that I’m slowly getting there. Very slowly. It’s not easy, though. I make bold decisions about my life and as soon as something goes bad I go that low again. And I still suffer from my eating disorder, but not as much. I do trip, when I’m stressed or feeling down, but I never fall. Falling’s never an option. It always gets better in the end.

    I was coming out of a low when I read this article. Thanks :)

    Fiona

  • http://nochnoch.com/ Noch Noch | be me. be natural.

    i am attracted by the quote. we have to accept responsibility for changing things within our control and stop blaming people
    Noch Noch

  • Nicalva

    Andrew Scott…. You do have a reason to be here, and it is not just because your parents are still here. I dont know your age, but I will say I am 27 and have been struggling tremendously with trying to fight though sometimes debilitating anxieties (which have recently caused some feelings.of depression) Debilitating because I allow it to become that way… Like you, I often try to call on other people for “help” whether it be advice or just to listen and like you I have had times where I felt dismissed. I realize it is not because these people don’t care, but when you have internal conflicts you have to remember other people do not feel what you are feeling they only hear what you are saying…. In other words, it may be difficult for someone who does not have the capacity to fully understand to help you. I know it is discouraging….. But, I have come to the realization that these feelings will not stop on their own and and the only way “out” really is through. It is not easy and I falter often. I hope you can find the support you need to get through this, even if that support lies soley within yourself. You deserve it.

  • Bjz

    Wow, Irv…that was beautiful and clearly heartfelt. Thank you for your inspiring words.

  • Lubabradford

    What a beautiful post….whoever wrote this, may your life be blessed with all the love and happiness you deserve.  May all your dreams come true and the stars meet you half way so that you don’t need to reach too high….you’ve certainly had your fair share of challenges in this lifetime.  Lots of love and hugs to you.

  • melody

    thanks for that, im struggling with life at the minute and seem to be trapped but that has helped. 

    Im attempting to get real with myself about life and deal with reality which i have always ran away from.  this is the hardest thing i have ever tried to do but i know its the only way forward so at least know the direction im headed.

    its a really good point about has your life started cos i feel like i am constantly trying to get off thte floor, but i think ive made a huge realisation that as long as i am true , and get real about what is really going on for me then my life HAS started and is being lived and i will be getting somewhere however slowly

    thank you for your share

  • Tinarose29

    So well put Melody, I think I will be doing the same as you. I too need to realise that life has started, the hardest thing for me is accepting where I am at the moment. But as you say its a slow but inevitable journey and we will arrive x

  • lbur

    Thank you for this post. What you said in your above post resonated with me because i am currently going through a similar situation. Its comforting to know that others have gone through this as well. Thanks again.

  • guest

    Irv, wonderful words I will remember.
    Love, girl of twenty x

  • teresa

    It’s posts and responses like these, that remind me that we are all struggling through what is the human experience. That we are all evolving, but we are not alone in this evolution.

    Your post is beautiful, and truly one written from the soul. I admire your courage to live. You are blessed. You are enough. I hope you continue to live in freedom. Namaste.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    Thats a beautiful post Jumpin in. 

    Andrew Stott we all have been in a similar position to you and we are rooting for you

  • Qwerty

    Thank you so much for this. From the bottom of my heart. For the past month or two my mind’s been slipping into this comatose kind of state. I won’t call it depression, because they say depression feels numb, and I don’t feel numb, just tired with my life I guess. That’s not a good thing to be at 15. But you’ve reminded me that this will end, and not just when my life finally ‘begins’ if/when I go to uni. That this can end now.
    Thank you. For everything.