To Those Who Have Anxiety About The Future: You're Not Alone

Before I begin, I just want to apologize first for this organized mess of thoughts-turned-sentences you're about to read (pretty much symbolizing my mind in itself as well). I am definitely writing this as a form of self-therapy but I truly hope it does make others who feel the exact same way as I do feel not alone in their own minds.

To start, worrying can be a healthy habit for those who don't really think about the future, but it can be very toxic for those who constantly live in it. It's also no secret that I have always been the worry wart in the room- focusing on the tiniest details like splurging the littlest bit of money when I go to the mall, to measuring safety precautions wherever I go; I would always be the one to dream up the outlandish "what-if" scenarios in my head, about merely everything, all the time.

These worries that filled my youth have evolved over the years, as you could imagine, into bigger dilemmas that probably everyone else can relate to: always wondering if I'm at the right school, what if my outfit isn't up-to-par on a given day and even taking public transportation can send me into a downward spiral of thinking the worst can happen at the end of it. And now that I am halfway through college, life seems to be coming at me in full swing- or so that's how I feel- and worrying about "my path" has become an obsession and everyday feat for me.

Looking back, I specifically remember one night during the fall of my senior year I was hysterically sobbing about not knowing if I was applying to the right schools or if I even liked any of them myself. I cry when I'm frustrated or angry (a true Cancer trait), and so I kept going on and on for two hours to the point in which I was seriously scaring my father and went to school with puffy eyes the next day.

I look back on that all-telling experience now and I realize that it wasn't the fear of rejection or even going to college that made me so overwhelmingly upset in the first place, but it was the fact that what I might have been doing would throw off my whole "journey" altogether.

I admit that I believe in a higher power and that there is a plan for me that is set by that power, a.k.a. everything that is meant to be will be no matter what. Contrary to this popular belief (a belief I preach to every single person in my life, might I add), I am still the one to overthink that statement and worry if my actions steer me on a rougher path that will not allow me to achieve my dreams after all.

Let me give you a somewhat brief summary of where I want my path to lead me:

To put it simply, my biggest dreams include finding true love, starting a family and being a successful performer for a living. The odds of all of that happening in my one single lifetime are pretty small, but I believe from the bottom of my heart that I can make it all happen for myself if I believe in it and work hard towards it.

And that's the part that gets me every single time.

I worry if my definition of "working hard" is even working hard at all: I try to practice for my vocal lessons every day as well as sit at the piano and pick up my guitar once in a while. I'm minoring in musical theater still and I'm taking an on-camera auditions class next month. I plan to audition for shows at least twice within the next year as well as go to open-mic nights and post on my singing page on Instagram when I can. In the meantime, I'm working part-time to make enough money to afford studying abroad and going on a fun vacation for my best friend's birthday all next summer, gearing up for my position on the NSLS Eboard for the fall semester all while planning when to apply for two more internships before I graduate.

I also have the mentality (which I advocate against to everybody else but cannot process for the life of me myself) in which I believe that I need to achieve this success by a certain age. I would love to be touring the country in five years time, married by 30 and have kids in a timely fashion.

But what happens when I'm still in college, haven't done anything major in music in almost a year and currently am not interested in the dating life whatsoever?

Anxiety sets in. Big time.

I love being productive, but I get way in my head about whether it follows this big plan of mine. From little things like making sure I'm practicing my music "correctly" to making sure every Odyssey article I write I'm passionate about, I always worry about utilizing every single moment of every day to its fullest potential. It can drive any person crazy, hell, it probably isn't a good way to live, but maybe I just hold myself to a ridiculous standard.

So as you can see, my brain is a jumble of overthinking and worrying about achieving everything I want in life when I haven't even hit my 20s yet. I've bottled up my fears all of my relatively short life, feeling super selfish whenever I vent to my closest friends and sisters about these existential worries.

It wasn't until I finally vented to my mom about all of this in a state of messy and random crying with my planner in hand (how poetic is this picture?) that I realized that worrying is going to get me nowhere- it's only going to keep me stuck in the same place rather than forward. My mom reassured me that I'm too young to be doing this and that as long as I'm doing what I love it's okay to even change my mind about my dreams (and that sparks a whole other part of my anxiety) because everything is really going to be okay.

Having someone else say that out loud that this is all a product of my anxiety honestly made me feel so much better and showed me that I have to just do instead of worrying about what I'm doing on my path to achieving my dreams. Of course I still need to work hard and get out of my comfort zone a bit by trying new things as time goes on, but maybe I am on the right track after all; there's an idea, huh?

So if you have the same worries as I do and are constantly falling down the "what if" black hole, seriously try to to talk to someone about your worries and receive their input on it. Live in the moment and stop worrying so much because it's going to get you nowhere.

Like my girl Ariana Grande once said, "Just keep breathin'," because like I said, "Everything is going to be okay in the end." We have to have hope in that, at least, because then what else do we have left?

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