Just now, when I was busy decorating my bullet journal with washi tapes and calligraphy, I received the news of one of my old friends from junior middle school.
She said she got into University of Essex in Britain.
Be it pride or whatnot, the first thought that went through my mind after congratulations was, “I was better at my English back in junior high school than she was.” After that thought, though, the next thing that came was, “oh crap (this is a civilized version of what I actually thought), what am I doing with my life???”
And this sent me into a spiral of anxiety.
As of right now, it feels like a lot of my friends, whether better or worse than I was during middle school, are doing so much better with their life than I am with mine. They have all kinds of work experiences that they got from their mentors or student groups; they have internships during summer; they are steadily approaching their goals. Whereas me, I am still sitting in my little dorm room, struggling to get through an essay for my English literature course.
And it’s not like I don’t have a goal for my future; I do. I want to find a career in the media — newspapers, magazines, or even radios. But right now, I feel like I’m on the wrong track because I’m not studying journalism. In fact, ironically, my university doesn’t even have a journalism major. What’s worse, it isn’t easy to even find a summer part-time job in a different country than the one I grew up in, let alone an internship.
Which is why I’m panicking. I realize that uncertainty and instability frightens me. I cannot do anything substantial without any kind of planning because in my dictionary, no plans = insecurities. One quick example is that right now, I’m waiting for an email from school residence, telling me to move to my summer accommodation. Said email was supposed to arrive last week, but due to the workload the coordinator is having and the tight schedule of the residence office, the move-in is delayed; as of now, I still haven’t received anything, thus affecting all my prior plans: they either get delayed as well, or cancelled. While everyone in my life are scurrying on the right path towards their dream schools and ideal careers, I’m facepalming over my lack of schedules and directions.
And it doesn’t help when I have really talented idols as well. Sure they do encourage me to chase my dreams and fulfill my life the way I want to, and they are indeed inspiring; but on the flip side, somehow, during the five minutes of my panic attack, they also make me realize just how talentless I am.
Which is why a couple months ago, I started telling myself to learn from the best.
I still have panic attacks, of course, but I try not to let my anxiety seeps through the five-minute boundary. Ten minutes, at most. And then after that, I’ll put some really cheerful and really upbeat music on and jump-dance around in my room singing at the top of my lungs (I’m so sorry to whoever lives neighbouring me…). THEN I’ll sit myself down, take a deep breath, and sort out whatever I need to finish at hand, one after another.
Anxiety still gets to me, time and again, like just now when I saw the update from my friend. But the five-minute rule kind of works. Now I’m singing again, and ready to start the first essay for my English course.