"So what are you doing now?"
For many of us in our twenties, this is the most frequently asked question we hear during the holidays.
It is a seemingly simple question, but one that can be difficult to answer. It is a question that can lead to overthinking, anxiety, self-doubt or frustration. Many, actually, most of us are still figuring it out. And while we want to catch up with our family and friends, we would rather do so without facing judgement on how we're living our lives, what we're doing with our post-secondary degree, the kind of job we have or the relationships we keep.
We also want to do so without having to answer a question that we ourselves don't really know the answer to.
Despite wanting to dedicate quality time to friends and family over the holidays, the past few years have welcomed the feelings of anxiety in the month, and weeks leading up to them. A feeling of uneasiness and self-doubt has nestled itself into my life, and since my final year of university, holiday get-togethers have lead me to feel more anxious than festive.
This feeling crept in during a period of my life that I was, for the first time, starting to take decisions on what I was to do. It was the first occasion for truly independent decision-making, and as such, the first occasion when the question popped up. So, what are you doing now?
Last year was similar - having just left a full-time position and moved back home, the same question was arising. So, what are you doing now?
Over the course of two years I had learned and experienced a lot. I had graduated from university, found my first full-time, 'adult' job and travelled to three new continents. However, being able to answer that question without hesitation, doubt or questioning wasn't something that I had picked up along the way.
This year, after spending the first part of 2017 travelling, a few other months volunteering at home, and then the last few buckling down to figure out the direction I wanted to take professionally and personally, I am anticipating the same question - so, what are you doing now?
This year however, I'm not overthinking my answer, anxious about what people are thinking or frustrated with myself for feeling this way. My life may be filled to the brim with question marks, new projects I want to undertake and paths I can envision walking down. I have never been less certain of the direction my life is going, and while certainty is not the word I would use to describe my life, it is the word I would use to describe how I feel about my answer.
The difference isn't even in my answer, but the importance I am putting on it. Changing my perspective of what people think about it, to how I feel about it. This question might be most prominent during the holidays, but really, it is something I wonder almost every day. And, in speaking with those surrounding me, I don't think I'm alone. So, this holiday season, instead of focusing on what people think I'm focussing on how I feel, just as I do, every other time of the year.
So, what are you doing now?
Anxious - I'll be taking a bath, rolling out my yoga mat or journalling.
Grateful - Writing a letter, or calling up a friend I might not have spoken to in a while.
Excited - Going for a walk or to a new coffee shop with my brothers.
Tired - Putting my phone on airplane mode and sleeping.
Enjoying every day, taking care of myself, learning, and most importantly
figuring it out.