I log onto Facebook or Instagram and someone else is married, getting engaged, having babies, graduating, or getting their dream jobs. Everyone seems to have their life together and have it all figured out. Everyone except me.
I probably look like I’ve got it all figured out from my Instagram account and Facebook posts, but I don’t. And the reality is that most everyone else doesn’t either. No one wants to talk about it, though. Everyone wants to hide behind an Instagram filter or a long Facebook post about how great their life is going.
I’m here to talk about it. Because I’ve spent way too long feeling like I’m the only person who doesn’t have it all figured out.
My name’s Ansley, but you probably already knew that. I just turned 23, and I will be the first to say that I do not have everything figured out. My life is not perfect. In fact, sometimes it sucks. But that’s okay. I know I’m going to get there.
Time for some real talk. In high school, I thought I was going to go to college for four years, live with my best friends, get a boyfriend, get married right out of school, and live happily ever after. HA! High school me was funny. In reality, I went off to college, and things started going downhill immediately. I had no idea what I wanted to do (I changed my major five times over five semesters), and I was living with three of my best friends. My first bit of advice: don’t live with your best friends. We had all known each other for years, and when we went to school, we all grew up in different ways. It wasn’t long before we were fighting all the time and going entire weeks without saying anything to each other (WHILE WE LIVED TOGETHER). I wish I could say that we were able to work things out and stay friends, but we didn’t. But that’s a story for another time.
I transferred schools after a year. I moved back in with my parents, and I started going deep into a dark hole. I have anxiety—severe anxiety with panic attacks that make me feel like I’m dying. It started getting really bad my freshman year of college, and I couldn’t do anything to keep it from getting worse. My anxiety just kept dragging me deeper and darker. I stopped hanging out with any of my friends, I cut out everyone in my life, and I started having thoughts that no one should ever have to have. I was having panic attacks every single day and was barely able to leave my house without going into full hysteria, so I had to drop out of school. I got my Associate’s degree in journalism (my fifth major change) and got out.
The past year and a half have allowed me to grow a lot. I’ve concentrated more on myself and realized that trying to make everyone else in my life happy wasn’t making me happy at all. I’ve accepted that anxiety doesn’t have to be a part of me, and it doesn’t define who I am. I don’t hide in my closet to have panic attacks every morning before I leave my house. It’s hard. Every day is hard, but I will continue to fight it until I’m happy and able to live the life I want without panic attacks and my own personal raincloud of doom. I’ve made amazing friends that have my back no matter what, love me despite my extreme nerdiness, and support me even when anxiety makes me feel like I’m crazy (I love you guys). I let myself trust someone and fall in love—another story for another time (shout out to you—you’re my favorite). I’m going back to school and plan on pursuing my dream of becoming a New York Times Bestselling Author until it comes true.
Even with all of this, I still don’t have it all figured out. I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next five years or where exactly I want to be when I’m 30. I’m still figuring things out. I’m sure you don’t have everything figured out, either. And that’s perfectly fine. It is totally okay to not have your entire life figured out right now. But we will. So here’s to finding yourself, finding happy, and living your best life. See you next week!