In Limbo- Knowing What To Do Next

We’ve all been there, sat wondering what on earth we’re going to do next. An ever-growing list of tasks we can’t decide where to begin from, leaving college or university with no plans for the future or being in a perpetual cycle of singledom we can’t seem to break. It can all be incredibly frustrating.

This uncertainty is likely not new, but something we have learnt to accept and work through from a younger age. Upon leaving school, college or university, we’ve all had that moment of suddenly realising that decisions are our own and everything we do is laying the foundations for what is to come in our adult life. 

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Some have been able to answer the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question since childhood, continuing on that path until they reach their dream job. Others have an abundance of interests but cannot focus on one to passionately pursue, whilst some feel stuck in unfulfilling jobs merely to pay the bills (see Passion Over Pay: Careers For The Modern Generation).

Similarly, we may remain in dissatisfying relationships for multiple reasons, without knowing the best way to make a change. Alternatively, we may be single with no idea how to navigate the minefield that is the modern dating scene. The good news is that everything can change with a little courage to face the unknown.

Think of what you no longer want to accept in life, what may be holding you back or making you unhappy. Focus on the end goal that will resolve the issue and then work backwards to determine the steps required to reach it. Such actions may not be ideal now, but if they are directing you onto the desired path, then maybe scrambling through a few brambles will be worth the grazes. 

It is imperative, however, that you do not dwell solely on the vast distance between you and the goal. Be prepared to bear with a little discomfort now to reap the rewards, but don’t spend years sacrificing happiness to reach an end goal that may not be as wonderful as you anticipated. 

Overthinking and analysing whether something is right to do one way or another leaves you sitting on the fence, putting off decisions and making it more difficult to come to a conclusion. There is a fine line between being analytical through considering options, and then creating so much worry that anxiety seeps into other aspects of your life.

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Through concentrating on what could happen, you’re in fact inventing scenarios that may not even come to fruition, causing yourself unnecessary internal torment. Go with whatever happens knowing that it is possible to change course later.

Begin by taking some action, even small steps, and the picture may become intelligible. Make pros and cons lists, talk through your deliberations out loud, with a friend or family member. Laying everything out in black and white or getting a second objective opinion can help to focus your thoughts and make decisions clearer. 

You can even research online or in books for guidance, as there most likely is someone out there who has faced similar quandaries. Knowing you’re not alone in this dilemma can be the first step towards moving forward.

Then comes the age-old wisdom of trusting your gut feeling. When there is a war in your mind, a battle between your head and your heart, believing in what your instincts tell you to do can be the answer. All we have is time, so don’t waste it to the point that you miss opportunities and look back with regrets. You won’t regret attempting things and failing, but you will regret not at least trying.

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Life is full of uncertainty; every decision poses a risk as you traverse unexplored paths leading to unknown destinations. You may stumble along rocky terrain, get lost as you go off the beaten track, but eventually you’ll get there. It may be the desired destination or somewhere completely unintended, but that new horizon may just be an undiscovered wonder.

Written by Hannah Bird, who may be found as @thehbird on Instagram.