The Calm After the Storm: Coping After a High in Life
There’s always going to be storms in your life: a surge of events that leave you feeling on a high, excited, passionate, and even fulfilled. And inevitably, that also means there will be calms that will follow: seemingly endless periods of quiet, stillness and even boredom.
We experience these highs and lows in sequence in the form of life events (related to our relationships, jobs, hobbies and health) and we tend to emotionally rise and fall with them in direct correlation. You may not be able to pin point what stage you’re at in life right now, or whether you’re actually somewhere in between, but either way, you probably understand what I mean when I say that life ebbs and flows. And if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that sometimes, it really sucks when we’re not in the midst of a storm.
Right now I’m experiencing one of these lows. I have just returned from three months of action-packed travelling through Australia and Southeast Asia. Each day offered new experiences: new friends, new interactions, new food, new events, and new chances to redefine myself and what I love. Everything about my trip was exciting and invigorating. Sure, it was filled with crappy moments too, where I missed home, felt lost, or became frustrated with aspects of my surroundings. But regardless, these experiences were still new to me. Not one day was the same as the last and I truly and genuinely felt like I was fulfilling my purpose: to experience the world and share it with others. And I did all of this with deep passion and an eagerness to see and do more each day.
As with any trip, there was an incredible build up to my departure day: all that saving, hard work, planning and preparation and then BAM, one day it was there. And of course, it passed with a blink of an eye. I know they say that life passes by quickly, but those three months were honestly some of the fastest occurring of my life so far.
It was as if it never happened at all and that all of those enriching moments had disappeared into thin air, out of my grasp, never to be experienced again.
No matter how much I denied it all being over, I still had to let go of the last three months of my life that I felt defined me; a part of me that I would only get to re-experience in virtual forms and journal entires.
So you can only image that now, after this buildup, climax and return from my trip, I am feeling not only lost, but exceptionally useless. I have no job, no direction, and no clue how to transform my passions into a career that will both make me money and make me happy. I’m living at home, relying on the generosity of my parents and praying that I’ll figure out something soon.
I transitioned from an extreme high to an extreme low in a matter of days and as the last three months came to a sealed close, so did my aspirations for the next month. I didn’t know what to do with myself and feelings of anxiety began to overwhelm me. Unprepared to handle the stress of coming home, I let these feelings consume me: I’m not good enough, I’m not employable, I don’t know what I’m passionate about, I don’t have the right skill set, and on and on and on. It was an endless cycle of negative thoughts that I actually started to believe.
It’s been one month since I’ve been home and I can finally say that I am seeing my future with more positivity and a lot more patience—with myself. In the midst of all that worrying, I failed to realize that I was bringing my self confidence down to the point where I wouldn’t have been able to find a job or a purpose even if they had come knocking at my door.
The point of all this is to recognize that these highs and lows are not abnormal, they’re completely and 100% human. And regardless of how many people admit that they’ve experienced either, we all experience them. We’ve just become exceptionally talented at hiding behind the screens of our phones on Facebook and Instagram. No one wants to be seen as vulnerable or boring, we want to appear alright when things are so far from alright they’ve practically hit rock bottom.
Ride the low, and you’ll quickly find yourself climbing back up. Be patient and kind with yourself and you’ll be better prepared to cope with the negativity and uncertainty that often accompanies this kind of experience. Talk to others and be open with your struggles. And most importantly, tuck your positive memories in your back pocket solely as a reminder that you’ll be back up soon. Hanging on to the past is okay, but hoping that it will come back will only keep you from moving forward.
Wish me luck on my job search, it’s safe to say I’ll need it.
Sending love and positivity your way,