I recently turned 30. (Woohoo!) The start of my new decade came with a couple of weeks of depression. (I’m good now.) It didn’t have anything to do with me turning 30. Rather, it was the idea that our society gives of where we’re “supposed to be” when we’re in our thirties, of where our future is heading, and how impossible it feels to keep up the pace of life.
This societal notion is enough to make most of us feel inadequate and trigger an anxiety spiral. There’s a lot of pressure (unspoken or spoken) to do the things — get married, have kids, own a home, have a “real” career, a couple side hustles, some stocks, and a backup savings account. By the time you hit 30, you’re supposed to at least look like you have it together, right?
The push to hustle, get the things, and be successful is exhausting, a little ridiculous, and for many of us impossible. We’re not all wired the same way. We’re gorgeous, one-of-a-kind creatures with different needs, who move at different paces. And that is okay.
If how our society runs is giving mass amounts of people crippling depression, anxiety, and a lack of hope for the future, we need to do something different. This is more than a personal issue. It’s a collective issue. Expecting people to move forward with “normal” is not healthy.
Normal is a crisis. Let's refocus and start meeting people where they are at and put ourselves in the best possible space for growth. Here are some ways we can get started.
Centre yourself first.
When you feel yourself spiralling out of control, find your centre (literally). Focus on your core, where your breath goes as you breathe in and the release as you breathe out. Regulating our breath helps regulate our nervous system. We could solve or avoid a lot of problems if we simply take the time to breathe. When we centre ourselves first, we can help stabilize situations and others around us.
After observing my own patterns, I’ve realized that YES what you focus on mentally will affect your physical realm. When you’re in the depths of a spiral, pulling your thoughts to a different space isn’t always easy. Start small by focusing on your breath or an object in the room. Then shift your focus to bigger things — say, life goals. Imagine yourself achieving your dreams. Imagine a beautiful future where we’ve finally solved the issues we’ve struggled with for years. Imagine happiness. Tell negativity disguising itself as realism to get lost (or use harsher words😉).. Let’s manifest goodness.
Listen to yourself.
What do you need? It’s hard to know what you need if you’ve silenced your inner voice to put others first. Take the time to find your inner guide. Even if you feel silly or weird, you might surprise yourself with the wisdom that you carry within. What pace do you need to take? What changes do you need to be more at peace?
It’s easy for me to say that we need to slow down. I am at my best when I take my time and not hustle through my week. But not everyone benefits from slowing down. Some of you need the hustle and are at your best when you take the lead and run ahead. Both paces are okay. We each need to set the pace that we can be our best selves in.
So, here’s permission for you to take the pace that you need. Whether it’s slowing down or taking the lead — you are free to be and move at the pace that you need to. It’s not always easy. Stand tall for yourself and pave the way. I would love to see our society shift to matching individual pace and promoting putting our well-being first. We’ll get there, we just need to make a case for moving at our pace.
May your winter holidays move at the pace you’d like them to. Whether that’s slow and cozy, or full of fun events, we wish you joy, peace, and a happy 2022!
Jade is a writer, potter, and gardener living in a sleepy town in Northern Ontario. They love growing food, creating functional stoneware, and hermiting with a book as much as possible.