It’s okay to be scared of the future

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I should really title the article, β€œit’s ok to be terrified by the future” but I didn’t want to frighten you anymore than you already are.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while but because I knew it would be such a difficult one to put into words I delayed it. However I’m seeing too many friends (and readers) go through this right now so thought I would face my fear and write a post that scares me…

It’s ok to be scared of the future. Honestly. You know everyone around you who you look at and think ‘I can’t believe they have their shit together and I still feel like this’? Well, newsflash, they don’t have their shit together; they’re just better at faking it than you. They are still awake at 2am like you or having a panic attack at the bus stop because, in terms of numbers, they’re an adult but they truly have no idea what they’re doing with their lives currently; they’re scared of the future just like you.

The problem is, we equate routine and comfort with happiness. We see people with their 9-5 jobs and their families and think ‘they’ve got it together’ but we have no idea what’s really going on in their lives and heads. They could be thinking about the business idea they’d really like to chance but are too scared to. They could be thinking about leaving their unhappy marriage (which is perfectly happy on the outside). They could be wishing their lives away on dreams they’ll never chase because they never question themselves or their lives hard enough to try and achieve what they really want.

Being scared of the future means that you are questioning yourself and your life and whilst it can be extremely painful to do, it means you are seeking understanding of everything around you and attempting to learn from it which can never be seen as a negative thing despite the often negative feelings associated with it so please, take some comfort in your strength to challenge yourself no matter how weak the fear of the future makes you feel.

We learn far more from our suffering than we ever can from happiness despite how much we chase the latter.

I wish I had the answer to stop your haunting feelings. I wish I could take away your anxieties that creep in when you least expect them or want them. I wish I could give you the direction you so desperately crave but I can’t. All I can do is offer you the small comfort that you’re not alone. That there are more of us out there than you realise. That even the people that DO have their shit together still get moments of panic wondering what the future will deliver other than uncertainty.

All I can tell you is that it’s ok to be scared of the future. It’s not comfortable and it may make you upset or depress you but there is a piece of advice that might help:

If you’re going through hell; keep going – Winston Churchill.

There is nothing else you can do but take it a week, a day or even an hour at a time. Be kind to yourself. Don’t allow your thoughts to tell you that you ‘should’ have your life together, allow yourself to feel the sadness and let it out. Tell your friends and family how you feel, tell ME how you feel, surround yourself with things and people that comfort you and if you need to, have a fucking good cry. As my mum always says; it’s better out than in.

And please don’t think that because I’m the one that’s writing this that I am exempt from these feelings. Over the past year, I have lost count at the amount of days I have spent in a mindless haze or crying until I can’t breathe worrying about money, wanting a family, what I’m going to do for the rest of my life and countless other issues that terrify me about the future ahead of me. I have been crippled by fear recently, truly unable to move from the spot terrified that I’m not going to live the life I want and need and that I’ll never be truly happy.

People try and tell you that you need to trust in the Universe, be positive and that the future is yours to write etc but you know what? When you feel like shit and you’re scared, lost in a world of hurtful anxiety and you feel so isolated by your thoughts and feelings, those words do nothing but make you feel guilty that you can’t be ‘better’, ‘stronger’ or ‘more together’.

So I’m going to say something shocking here:

Fuck it! Fuck the world! It’s terrifying, truly and it’s ok to be scared by the future but as I always say to my friends:

Take baby steps. They won’t get you there quickly but you’ll still move forward.

The future scares us because society tells us it’s scary. It tells us we should be married with children and a house with a car in the driveway that our careers pay for by the time we’re 30 and if we don’t have those things or aspire to get them, we’re weird and because society doesn’t inform us of alternative ways of living, we feel like instant failures wondering how we are ever going to be happy or supportive ourselves. So we begin to doubt ourselves to the core. We feel inferior to the world and inadequate. That we’re somehow weak because we don’t know what we want in life. But you know what? Whilst you may not know what you do want, I’m pretty sure you know what you DON’T want and that’s one hell of a starting point despite how little comfort that may offer you at times.

Everyone is different. Some of us worry what we’re going to do with our lives in terms of a job or a career, some of us worry we won’t have a family of our own, some of us worry we won’t ever be truly happy and then there are some of us that worry about it all simultaneously and totally fuck ourselves over in the head (me included).

As I said above, I wish I had the answers for you to help you feel a little less scared and a little more direction but I don’t. All I can do is be here and offer you words of advice to let you know that you’re not alone and tell you that if you started being more honest within your social circle about your anxieties and fears, you’d find that there are many more of us out there than you realise. All you/we want and need is someone to start the conversation. To sit down, say ‘I’m scared about the future’ and allow us all, one by one, to share the grief that we feel about uncertainty; the same feelings you have.

We’re here.

I’m here.

You’re not alone.

51 Comments
  • Fabio

    Reply

    Hi Toni, this post really spoke to me. Thank you for writing it as I found comfort from reading it.

    I have suffered from mental health issues for many years and I kept convincing myself that I just needed to settle down with a great career, get a car and a house etc before I would find happiness because you’re right: it’s exactly what we are told we NEED every day. I thought I was the weird one for not being happy when I had all these things. It’s just a constant cycle of getting more and being told you need more. None of it makes me happy.

    This year I decided I’d had enough. I was hit with the very real shock that I would continue my life in this manner and never be happy, constantly thinking life would just get better somehow. I gave up the career I had no love for and the every day life that wasn’t giving me any joy. It was a terrifying thing to do, but the thought of being 50/60/70 years old and regretting it all terrified me more. I have absolutely no idea what next week, month or year will hold for me, but as you’ve said in this post I now know what I DON’T want, and that’s giving me some joy in itself.
    Fabio recently posted…In search of positive momentsMy Profile

    • Toni

      Fabio – THANK YOU for being brave enough to share your story and your fears; it takes real courage!!

      I absolutely agree with your statement that it’s a constant cycle of getting more and being told you need more. There’s a great website/blog called Becoming Minimalist and I think you’d find a lot of comfort because it’s based around your exact thought.

      You sound incredibly brave to take such a huge step knowing that it just wasn’t working for you and that you wanted to seek more than what society told you to. Round of applause to you! It’s so very hard to go against the norm, to constantly be doubted by the people around us when we seek a new direction but it sounds like your head and heart are in exactly the right place!

      Thank you so much for taking time to comment Fabio and I hope your journey, though it may be tough, continues to lighten your emotional and mental ‘burden’. I’m here if you need me.

      • Fabio

        Thank you very much Toni, I really appreciate that. I’ve been hiding behind a mask for most of my life, but over the past few months I’ve started to open up by talking about things more and also seeking some help. I’m very much seeing this now as the start of a new journey for me.

        You’re right there is this strong culture that society (although I can only truly comment on the UK) tells you that you need to have certain things by a certain age and if you don’t then you need to question your commitment. I’d had enough of it. I think there comes a time when you just “snap” and you need to start taking control. I guess those who don’t snap are already in control and are genuinely happy with their lives.

        I can definitely see the joys of a minimalist lifestyle, I didn’t even know it had a name until a few months ago when I started researching people who have gone against this “need” culture. It seems like there is so much out there and it seems like a great community. Thank you so much for recommending Becoming Minimalist, I spent a couple of hours on it last night!
        Fabio recently posted…The many joys of Surabaya, IndonesiaMy Profile

        • Toni

          Fabio – Oh we all wear masks so I completely understand where you’re coming from! I’m so, SO glad to hear that you’re beginning to open up; that’s a HUGE step to take but it’s a necessary and fantastic one to take so good for you!
          I wouldn’t necessarily say that they are in control and therefore snap, maybe more that they’re actually happy with the ‘norm’ and there’s nothing wrong with that at all; it’s when you want to go against the norm that the troubles begin so I commend you for pushing through!
          I’m so pleased that you enjoyed the Becoming Minimalist site too! I don’t always agree 100% with it (we’re all different after all) but Joshua writes some incredible pieces πŸ™‚

    • Maria

      Same thing here,Fabio.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Maria

      • Toni

        Maria – you’re very welcome. Thank you for reading!

  • Kelly Blackwell

    Reply

    Toni, I just loved this especially this part: “Whilst you may not know what you do want, I’m pretty sure you know what you DON’T want and that’s one hell of a starting point despite how little comfort that may offer you at times.”
    That is a great starting point for us all. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Oh, and your photos are quite lovely! Hard to feel fear when we take a moment to appreciate the beauty around us (at least it works for me).
    Kelly Blackwell recently posted…Day Two of Intentional Blogging – or β€œGood Lord what did I get myself into?”My Profile

    • Toni

      Kelly – Thank you for your lovely words and for taking the time to leave a comment!! xx

      I think working out what we don’t want or need in our lives is often the quickest path to discovering what we do!

      I wish I could take credit for the photos but sadly I found them online; still beautiful though and that’s all that matters πŸ™‚

  • Lorelei

    Reply

    Hi Toni. Thank you thank you. Youre right about starting the convo about how scared you are of the future because not many people are willing to do it. I’ll share my story: Im a 28 year old virgin female and I fear I’ll never find my man. Well, I found him but he loves someone else and it’s ripping my soul apart and I dont know what to do. Worse, I worry I’ll have to have tons of very bad experiences before I find the right one. I look to the future and all I see is painful loneliness and rejection so I keep trying to take it one day at a time. I’m a very anxious person… I dont want anyone else to suffer what Im going through but it’s nice to feel like youre not alone. Anxiety/depression is a real sickness and a total bitch.

    • Toni

      Lorelei – I’m so very sorry to hear of your fears hun. I get it, truly I do. The thought of not finding a husband and having a child together keeps me awake at night so I understand where you’re coming from. It sounds like a very weird suggestion, so bear with me, but have you tried virgin dating sites? I know that might freak you out but at least you’d have the ‘biggest’ point in a relationship already covered and wouldn’t have to explain yourself etc. Try and be proactive if you can despite your anxieties. I know that’s so much easier said than done but sometimes (when I had the energy) I often did things or met up with friends despite the anxieties and though I was exhausted afterwards, I never regretted it. I really hope you keep managing to take it one day at a time xx

  • Wendy

    Reply

    I just read this and it so hit home!!

    When I was 23 I found myself divorced withstood year old son.
    Somehow I made it through that struggling time.

    Now at 2 months shy of 55 I find myself in a divorce situation again after almost 28 years of marriage. He was my best friend the love of my life. What happened??? Shit happened life, medical issues with me. I got scared this is all my life is going to be. I shifted and realized I had no dreams and when I found one he did not want it. Said no to selling our house and buying a small condo close to the beach. I tried to stuff down my needs as I always had but I couldn’t. We stopped communicating or did I finally start standing up for what I wanted in life?? Well now I am moving Sunday to a small apartment by the ocean. The house will be sold. It’s a no win situation. It’s scary to have been with someone for almost you whole adult life and then alone. But I know I will have times when I will be stuck, times I want to scream, fun with friends. I am scared but at the same time I know this anxiety will bring me exactly what I need in life.

    • Toni

      Wendy – Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story with me; I feel honoured! I’m so sorry to hear that after a lifetime together it has ended. I’m sure obtaining your dream of an apartment by the ocean (a dream we share!) comes with little comfort when the worries of the future kick in. I wish I had some answers for you but I don’t. I think a lot of the time in life we simply have to accept the incredible uncertainty that lay ahead and find a way to keep going as best we can.
      You show such incredible strength to continue to chase (and achieve) your goal despite everything! x

  • Kate Love

    Reply

    Toni,

    I found this entire article spot on and brilliantly brave in a much needed way. This paragraph felt like it was written just for me:

    “People try and tell you that you need to trust in the Universe, be positive and that the future is yours to write etc but you know what? When you feel like shit and you’re scared, lost in a world of hurtful anxiety and you feel so isolated by your thoughts and feelings, those words do nothing but make you feel guilty that you can’t be β€˜better’, β€˜stronger’ or β€˜more together’.”

    I’ve spent the past 16+ months processing and beginning to heal from an assault and have felt so unheard and re-victimized by the message that I just need to trust the Universe to give me what I need because, damn it, I did not need NOR did I attract that event into my life.

    I’m gentling with myself more and more in this healing journeying and realizing it is ok that I’m scared this will always be something that has the power to reach out from the past and effect my life again and again and again.

    I’m glad I found my way here today.

    Thank you.
    Kate Love
    Kate Love recently posted…My Mission Statement for 2015My Profile

    • Toni

      Kate – I’m so very sorry to hear about your assault hun; what an awful thing to have to go through, not helped, as you say by feeling so unheard πŸ™ I think the problem with The Universe bit is that you flip it around and think ‘well I believed in the Universe last time – why did it decide I needed to be assaulted’ and then everything feels out of your control and as though you somehow ‘deserved’ it which is bullshit.

      Why did I deserve to have an incurable illness of the liver? The Universe has been so very kind to me now that I’m back in Sydney but jeez it can be a total asshole so I get why you struggle to hear that line!

      There will be situations that bring your fears back into the forefront of your mind but if you can be aware of them but keep moving forward then you will achieve so much. But you’re doing it right by being kind to yourself. Keep moving forward at the speed and the direction you feel comfortable in because only YOU truly matter.

      Thank you for having the bravery to share your story with me! xx

      • Kate Love

        Thanks Toni.

        Allowing myself space and time to move authentically through this healing journey has been key every step of the way. I have used this process as a stepping stone to develop greater awareness of Now — it’s been beautiful to move more into a space that allows me to release the future enough to consciously connect with my life in the present.

        I am grateful to be alive.
        Kate Love recently posted…Hibernation, Books & BreathingMy Profile

  • Lily

    Reply

    Thank you so, SO much for writing this!! This was exactly what I needed to read right now, thank you so much! I laughed out loud with relief reading this, it hit the nail on the head for me in so many places. It’s so indescribably comforting to read this – almost everything you said in this article put into words feelings I’ve had for ages but couldn’t label or articulate. Thank you thank you THANK YOU, you wonderful person, for writing this article. I can’t articulate how much you’ve helped me.

    If you don’t mind I’m just gonna have a verbal dump here and get it all out, because I need to vent someplace and there’s no-one around me to really listen. Please don’t feel obliged to read all this.

    I’m in total limbo right now waiting to go to university, and am crapping myself that it’s not the right thing to do. Whenever I think about it my brain just goes off on one about how it might not the right path for me/won’t make me happy/I’ll never achieve my dreams and live the life I want/I’ll never meet the right guy and never have kids and will be living in my parents’ basement with fifty cats when I’m thirty and yeah, kinda freaking out here. My friends all went off to uni straight after high school – I didn’t ’cause I didn’t know where I wanted to go/what I wanted to study etc, and while I’m glad I waited a couple years, I miss them all like crazy and am kinda terrified about moving to a new city all by myself. Also, they’re all doing great and I’m terrified I’m gonna flunk my course and humiliate myself.

    Another (major) problem is my lack of identity – a LOT of big things kinda imploded in my life all at once when high school ended, on top of my friends leaving, and it was like all the components that made up my life all fell apart in one go. I haven’t really had a strong sense of who I am since, which has really damaged my ability to make decisions and relate to other people – I don’t trust my own judgement, and I’m constantly worried about people judging me when I’m talking to them. I sounds crazy to say that, as I’m usually quite a confident, opinionated person, but these last two years all that seems to have gone out the window big time.

    Losing my identity, on top of the whole what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life thing, has made me feel pretty depressed, to the extent that I can’t really motivate myself to go out and do anything besides work. I don’t know if it’s actually depression, or just paralysis because I’m so goddamn terrified of screwing everything up the minute I try. Add to that the fact that I can’t really talk to anyone around me about this, and…yeah, the last two years have been about the worst in my life, to be quite frank.

    My big fear is, I go off to university and things aren’t any better than they are now. I’m pinning all my hopes for putting my life back together on moving away and starting fresh…and I’m so, SO scared that I’ll get there and all the crap I’m dealing with right now will be right there with me. I’m scared it’s not gonna get any better, any of it, ever. And even though I know that isn’t likely…it doesn’t stop me feeling so anxious I could puke. I just wish I could know that everything’s gonna turn out okay, I guess…But hey, where’s the fun in that, huh? I guess all I can do is the best I can, with what I have, and just see what happens. (Still be nice if I could force myself to believe that some divine entity has my back though…)

    Thank you so, SO much again for writing this – I’m bookmarking it to come back to every time I get a panic attack about everything. THANK YOU!!! *hugs*

    Lily πŸ™‚

    • Toni

      Lily – you’re so very welcome hun and thank you for both the wonderful comments you’ve sent my way (I’m blushing!!) and for having the courage to share your story!!!
      I’ve sent you a little email so look out for it (possibly in your junk folder!) xx

      • Lily

        Hi Toni! πŸ™‚

        Please, don’t thank me – any and all compliments you receive are hugely deserved!! And thank *you* for reading that crazy-long word-vomit comment of mine in the first place! I’m sorry I haven’t been able to reply to your longer email before now, but work and life in general have been *ridiculously* hectic the past couple weeks. Please know that I’ll respond properly just as soon as I can!

        Also, in case you couldn’t tell from the slightly hyper tone of this message, I’ve had a breakthrough of sorts in the sorting-everything-out department. Couldn’t have done it without you – thank you. The world needs more people like you in it. πŸ™‚

        Lily

        • Toni

          Lily – you’re far too kind!
          I’m really pleased that things have moved forward for you in a positive way! Don’t worry about my email – just reply if and when you want to x

  • Roberta

    Reply

    I totally needed this today. Thank you.

    • Toni

      Roberta – you’re very welcome! πŸ™‚

  • Joe

    Reply

    Thank you Toni. As I was reading this, all my stress and anxiety surprisingly disappeared. I’m currently in college and left my old job to go to a new one. I can never go back to retail. But this new job that’s surrounded towards my career made me feel like I won’t be able to be in the career I’m heading to because I feel incompetent about myself. I’m scared that I’ll graduate college but won’t be able to obtain a job. When you said “Fuck it. Fuck the World” it has given me motivation to keep going. Thank you. And God Bless.

    • Toni

      Joe – Thank YOU for your wonderful words and for sharing a little of your story. Can I ask what career you’re aiming for or why you don’t feel competent enough to complete it? Don’t feel pressured to answer…I just like to get to know my readers. I really hope everything works out for you in the immediate future Joe so that you can live the life you lead but remember…we change our minds and life happens so what might work for you now may not necessarily feel the same way in the future πŸ˜‰ x

      • Joe

        I’m majoring in Kinesiology and want to eventually become a Physical Therapist. It’s very competitive at my college. The new job I obtained is at a gym just supervising weight rooms and I also wanted to be a personal trainer. As I see my co-workers (who are personal trainers), I get discouraged because I feel like I am not like them. That I don’t have the personality etc to be a personal trainer. I like to plan ahead. I pictured myself becoming a personal trainer by the end of my sophomore year (sophomore now), making good money to save for grad school. And on top, my girlfriend obtained a secure job that pays well and I felt like she has something to fall back on if college/degree earned doesn’t work out. While my future is uncertain. I guess my biggest problem is self-confidence. Thank you for taking the time to read this, feels good to vent to someone who understands.

        • Toni

          Joe – That sounds like a lovely career to aim for!! Excuse the bluntness I’m about to hit you with but…GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK! Oh my lord you’re what, 19? 20? You already know what career you’d like to aim for, you’re in college trying to achieve it and you’re working in a gym to get your foot in the door and gain some experience!! That’s an incredible amount of simultaneous achievement!!! What kind of personality do you think you have/see your colleagues having? Your future is uncertain for the moment Joe but what’s to say that your girlfriend won’t experience those uncertain feelings in a year or two because, perhaps, the job isn’t what she thought it would be or her colleagues aren’t nice to her? She’s managed to get a job sure but that doesn’t mean that employers won’t want you when you’re ready! The best advice I can give you is this: be aware of your self-doubt (which you already are – that’s amazing in itself) but move forward anyway. Tell your fear and lack of self-confidence to get lost and keep moving forward one step at a time. It’s not going to be easy and there will be times where you are paralysed by self-fear and doubt but when you feel you have the strength, take another step forward. Speak to a personal trainer or kinesiologist you admire and ask them for advise and pointers…I find people are far nicer and open than we give them credit for! πŸ™‚

          • Joe

            Hahaha, thank you I appreciate that Toni! I see them(personal trainers) as outgoing and very well spoken while I see myself a timid person. One step at a time. I’ll make note of that! Thank you for everything Toni, if we ever do cross each other’s path, I’ll make sure to give a a big thank you hug. And I’ll try to stop by here with a comment later on the future to tell you how far I am going along and hopefully be able to write, “Toni! I am graduating college!” πŸ™‚

          • Toni

            Joe – It depends on the type of personal training you aim for…if you ultimately want to work for yourself and not in a gym, I think your personality could be a big winner because I, for me, find the ‘outgoing/sales trainers’ intimidating at times. I would rather have a quieter person would who listen to my needs and encourage me gently that a ‘drill sergeant’! Definitely keep me posted either on here on email whenever you like (even if you’re going through a ‘self-doubt phase’!) πŸ™‚

  • Matt

    Reply

    Hello,

    I don’t often do things like this, but after reading your article I felt the need to comment. Thank you so much for writing this post! I have been experiencing feelings of self doubt and jealousy recently and this is something I really needed. To give a brief backstory, I am 27 years old and just married my high school sweetheart in July 2015. I am currently working at a major financial institution, but my position is shaky at best mainly due to the company outsourcing many of the jobs. My wife is still a student so we aren’t exactly bringing in a ton of income. My younger brother seems to be gaining more success and recognition in his field by the day and I feel stuck in a career leading no where. On top of all that, my friends all seem to be buying homes and have settled careers and even starting families. I want all of that so badly for me and my wife that I would do almost anything to achieve those goals. Obviously, this is what is stemming my jealousy issues. I know that I am fairly intelligent and could do great things if given the opportunity, but after searching for quite some time that opportunity hasn’t presented itself yet and the feelings of self-doubt and not being “good enough” have begun seeping into my mind. I know that I am doing the best that I can and I am just trying to take things day by day. My wife is always the one giving me positive reinforcement, but I don’t want this to weigh on her much longer either. If you have any advice for a guy like me, other than the beautifully done article I just read, it would certainly be appreciated. Thank you thank you thank you!

    Matt

    • Toni

      Hi Matt,
      Thank you so much for your kind words and for having the courage to share some of your story with me. My first, right out of the gate, piece of advice? Get ahead of that shaking position you have at work. Either find a way of tightening it up there, find another institution with more stability (though I would argue that finance isn’t that stable on the whole) or change your path completely. If you’re constantly worried about your job security, you’re busy missing out on everything else.
      Here’s a typical piece of wisdom to read (not advice); sometimes life is purely down to luck. It’s about being at the right place, at the right time and having the right kind of conversation. I’ve seen it time and time again. It’s lucky opportunity that some people get to push the ‘turbo’ button whilst others, like me, are still trying to get the car to even start. Your feelings of self-doubt and jealousy are natural given the circumstances you find yourself in; we are in a society that is always chasing the next ‘life goal’ so when it doesn’t come in the right order or time we think it should, it plays on our minds.
      You gave yourself your own best advice Matt – ‘doing the best I can and I am just trying to take things day by day’. Sometimes, often for a while, that’s all we can and should do. I know the self-doubt must creep in because you want to be traditional in the sense of ‘being the bread winner’ and providing but sometimes life throws us a few curve balls and all we can do is dodge them until we’re ready to bat the hell out of them!

      So after saying all of the above, here’s my ‘advice’:
      Make a plan and don’t over think it. Often with plans we try and make them so perfect that we never attempt them in the first place for fear of failing. That’s a big one; you are never a failure for trying and even if you fail, your wife loves you and you can say that you tried instead of singing your ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’. Is there any way you can increase the stability on your job ie by adding a qualification to your resume? Or perhaps look at extra ways to make money in addition to that job; following a passion perhaps that could eventually lead to a self-employed status?

      I’m sorry I can’t give you all the answers or take away your pain Matt but please know that you’re not alone. Sometimes a random conversation can spark a new way of thinking!

      Take care πŸ™‚

  • Ann Whitley

    Reply

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I am 59. My husband died in 2006 and I have not replaced him. My son is 30, in graduate school and lives with his fiancee. I am going back to school for my second career and just recently had trouble with me car. A transmission problem left me stuck at home for 2 days and I realized that I am scared of my future. I do not want to be alone the rest of my life. I want meaningful work, a relationship and possibly even marriage again. Yes, like the rest of you, I have anxiety and take medication for it. We all want our lives to be O.K. I am doing the best I can, and I know that all of you are as well. I do think that we have to take it a day at a time, sometimes an hour at a time, and sometimes a minute at a time. Usually, the things that we are scared of do not happen, but we still worry about them anyway. Thank you all again for sharing your stories, and thank you for creating this website. πŸ™‚

    • Toni

      Ann – Thank YOU for sharing your story; it takes a lot of courage so thank you for that. And a huge congratulations for going back to school! That’s incredible! I think you said it so perfectly – the things we are scared of do not happen but we will still worry about them anyway. I think you’re incredible to keep going and striving for the life you want; that takes so much bravery and I commend you! I hope things turn out so well for you! πŸ™‚

  • Jordan

    Reply

    Toni,
    Thanks for this it made me feel alout better about my future because I’v been worrying alout lately at the age of 15 like should I go to college/university, what will i do for a job, should i leave my hometown, etc and it is really scaring me because no body in my school or class really is worrying about stuff like that I feel like I’m the only one, but this helped out alout. Thanks again
    Jordan recently posted…The Suicide DoorMy Profile

    • Toni

      Jordan,
      Thank you for your very kind words πŸ™‚

      Firstly, I would absolutely beg of you not to try and think of all of those worries at the same time; that is so overwhelming for anyone, never mind someone of your age.

      Believe me when I say that you really aren’t alone in your worries and I can guarantee that a lot more of your friends are worrying about the same things as you are; they are perhaps just not as vocal about them. I think it’s absolutely courageous and commendable that you’re attempting to think ahead about your life but please try not to be so busy thinking of the future that you forget to enjoy the present.

      The first question I would suggest you ask yourself is not what you think you *should* do i.e move hometown/go to college etc but ask yourself, if there were no consequences, what would you LIKE to do?

      As always in life; start with the things that you like and find a way to keep those likeable things in your life!

      Much love to you hun; I’m here if you need me! x

  • Amir

    Reply

    You know there are like a million responses to “I’m scared about the future” and when you google this question it simply means you feel absolutely freaked out and no one around you to help. When I google it, I didnt expect the first link to be what I’m looking for but it was, thank you tony. I’m imagining the day you have written this post, and I dont know how you felt about it, and you might not know who important its role might be for some people but the fact that someone else out there says, well have this fear and “its okay to be scared about the future” will remove some of the weight. Thank you tony…

    • Toni

      Amir – You’re very welcome. I’m so sorry you’re going these emotions; they’re so hard to deal with especially when you don’t feel you have anyone to talk to about them. I do hope it gets better for you!

  • Elsa

    Reply

    Hi Toni,
    Thank you for this. It all applies to me perfectly. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for over 3 years. It started when I got back from my year abroad, which was the best time anyone could ever have. It has been downhill from there, or have I juste lost the positive, curious, adventurous person I used to be? Will I find her again or is she gone forever?
    I’m just out of college and starting my career feeling like it’s one big canyon of emptiness that I’m falling into with no chance of a smooth landing. Any way I look at my life in the future, it terrifies me.
    Family. No family. 5-9 office job. Creative, high energy, challenging job. Difficult first years. Trapped in my home city. Abroad, away from my loved ones and comfort.
    Choosing stability seems like choosing boredom; sitting at an office job makes me feel like the life is being drained out of me. I always wanted an exciting, creative life, but I have absolutely no idea where to start and the risk of failing is huge. I’m impatient, but i’m so, so scared. I need independence, but I easily feel lonely. I never pictured myself as a functioning adult – high intelligence, adhd, unconventional; I never seem to quite fit in – and sometimes I feel like I never will…
    Particularly tonight, your article made me feel better. I feel like I’m going around, but I’m probably going forward in my path to dself-discovery. Thanks!

    • Toni

      Elsa – I’m so sorry you’re going through this turmoil; I understand it completely. More than I can express. It feels like, whatever direction you look in or path you take, that you will always be struggling and find the world painful. Could you choose a stable job but then chase your creative hobby in your spare time? That’s what I’ve done though I appreciate that I still haven’t made this website successful so maybe don’t take my word for it lol.
      But just so you know, there are a huge amount of us that don’t feel as though we ‘fit in’ and you know what? You don’t have to. The world is changed by individuals that break boundaries, not from the majority that stick to their comfort zones xx

  • Maria V.

    Reply

    Hello,
    I just wanted to say that reading this meant a lot to me. I was lying in bed at midnight feeling literally paralyzed by a sudden fear so I picked up my phone and started googling things and this came up.
    I’m in college but I’m questioning whether or not I really want to continue on the path to becoming a research chemist/geneticist , or if I want to go off in an alternative direction of living in a van and traveling the country, working seasonal jobs in outdoor adventure tourism and painting, which is what I’m really passionate about: nature, art, and travel.
    I feel like whichever I decide, either way, I will miss out on something else. I’m still scared but after reading your post and the stories of everyone else who commented, I feel better knowing that there are others out there. I mean, I always knew it in theory but it’s easy to forget.
    When I speak to my friends, the ones who are in college with me call me crazy and the ones who always led the non-traditional lifestyle tell me to not worry and go for it but I feel like they don’t get how scary it is to have to make a decision like that. I feel like this post really gets it, you know?
    I guess just because you might not have one life experience in the same way and at the same time as some one else doesn’t mean you’re missing out, it means you’re finding your own way, which is also an important and transformative experience. I hope that didn’t sound to generic, but that’s just how I think about it…..
    Anyway, thanks for the post πŸ™‚ , I appreciate the honesty: you get real.

  • Cross

    Reply

    This article choked me up and had me crying at my desk. I’m someone who’s always been afraid. My life seems like a chaotic, miserable blur up to this point and right now I’m completely crippled by my fears. I’m nearly twenty two years old and I still feel like a kid. Worse yet I’m horrified at the idea of working some awful 9-to-5 job not being able to do anything besides slave away doing scut work. I’ve always wanted to be a writer but every time I try to finish a story or get SOMETHING finished my fear chokes me up and I just shut down, stuck where I am like always.

    Reading this article really helped make me feel better. You nailed down what this mental mess feels like Toni and you have no idea how much I respect you as a writer for being able to communicate that so well. Just being reminded that I’m not the only one who feels this disoriented and afraid is nothing short of a relief.

    Thanks to you and this article I think I’ll finally be able to get back to my writing. So thank you, Toni.

    • Toni

      Cross – I’m so sorry you’re going through this lovely. It pains me to know that you’re only 22 and feeling like this. You and I are very similar so please know this; it’s possible to find a balance. I’m currently working a 9-5 job that I enjoy and try and focus on my writing outside of that and you know what? It’s not bad so please don’t allow your fears to tell you that the rest of your life will be awful.
      I get crippled by so many fears but I have learnt through the years to just keep going despite what my heads says.

      Thank you SO much for your beautiful words too; they had ME crying at my desk!!! You really aren’t alone…we’re all just afraid to admit our struggles out loud. You CAN do this; you just have to keep telling yourself that you can still move forward even if you don’t believe in yourself because your fears almost never come true despite how loud those fears are!

      My email address is always open if you need it lovely πŸ™‚ xx

  • Zoe

    Reply

    Sat sobbing with piles of tissues beside me, panicking about my future and what I want to do with my life, I decided to search fears about the future and came across your read! I just want to say thank you, your words have comforted me! – I’ve always been a worrier, but since leaving University, I’ve recently realised i have been beating myself up about not ‘having it all figured out’ and having a plan at the age of 22. It’s gotten to the point where it’s affecting my relationship, which has me panicking all the more. My partner has always said to take one day or week at a time, but I find it difficult as I’ve always known (up until leaving Uni) what I will be doing a few months or a year down the line..
    But I have found some comfort in the knowledge that, from your article, I am not alone, that this fear is something that everyone experiences, and that talking about it is a better option than holding it in and crying about it alone – THANK YOU for making me realise this! X

    • Toni

      Zoe – Oh sweetheart, my heart breaks to know how much you’re hurting but I get it; truly I do. I wish I could say that you will discover your path but truthfully, some of us don’t and THAT’S OK, you hear me? It’s ok if you don’t always have plans or a direction. Sometimes we all need to be a little lost, centre ourselves and then take a step in any direction just to see if that’s what we want.
      You’re 22, you’re not supposed to have it all figured out; you are still so young and though that won’t stop you worrying, hopefully it will help you realise that you have time on your side. Time to go in a direction and then change if you want to. Time to just ‘coast’ a little and enjoy the hear and now.
      We’re all scared; even those of us who look like we have our shit together – we don’t! A lot of people feel the way you do after Uni because you’ve gone from a daily schedule that you have no real choice in to having, almost, too much choice which can in itself be overwhelming but all you need to do is take that first step in any direction. Once you do that, you will know if you want to continue in that direction or change course.
      Deep breaths lovely, you really aren’t alone xx

  • yuji

    Reply

    hi, i just googled a sentence like “have you ever been scared of your future?” and Google showed me this website at the first. as you easily guess that I’m the one who’s really really scared of my future right now. I’m going to talk about myself a little.
    After going through the university, i went abroad while most of my friends were looking for a job. To be honest, the reason I went abroad wasn’t for studying English but I just wanted to run away from the real that I must get a job. I’d been following somebody’s advice since I was a kid because I hadn’t known what I wanted to be down the track until now. I’m living like that so far. I don’t know why I’m scared of it right now, I feel like I got a hole on my heart. when I’m in my room alone, I can’t get rid of contemplating about my future, I realized that I don’t have anyone who I can consult about it and I’m not sure whether here’s the correct place to say what I worry about, scared of or depressed in. I just needed someone who can encourage me because now I don’t have anyone who can stand by me, recently I broke up with my girlfriend and I addicted to being with her. There’s always her that’s why I could get over a lot of difficult problems. I know what I should do but I have no energy to do anything. Your article helped me out a little. Thank you for writing it. Yuji

  • Sarah

    Reply

    Hi Toni,

    I’m scared of the future, not because of a career or marriage or whatever but because the political situation and climate change nightmare on the horizon make it seem like there’s no reason to keep living. Like, I’m at the start of a good-looking career and I’m sure I could get married and have kids if I wanted to, but what’s the point? Every day the world looks worse and worse.

    • Toni

      Sarah – I can absolutely empathise with your fear of the future because of climate change and politics etc; I have those same fears…that we are killing our wildlife etc so what kind of world am I continuing to live in. It’s a difficult anxiety for many people to grasp but one I completely understand. I wish I have the answers or could offer you some hope but all I can say is that we’re here, you’re not alone and we’re all trying to get through this together xx

  • Paula

    Reply

    Hello Toni,
    I’m gonna start university this week, so although i shouldn’t worry about my immediate future, i do worry longterm. You’ll see, before graduating school i always wanted to leave my country (colombia) to study abroad and i choses london. My parents loved the idea, i was loving the idea but after time passed i started to get discouraged and i wanted to throw it all to the bin, and i did

  • Paula

    Reply

    I don’t know if it maybe was seeing all my friends getting ready to start uni here or the fear of disappointing i just threw it all away.I travelled in europe for awhile and realized that i loved life in there, but that there was no way back. Now i’m back about to get serious but i can’t help thinking i just missed the biggest and most important chance in my life. I don’t know what to feel .

  • Utkarsh

    Reply

    I have this feeling that I might lose my loved ones when I grow up. But the concerning thing is that I am only in 8 grade. I feel scared that one day I will not meet my mother again, I may not see my sister or my father ever again. I feel like I want the time to stop and never go a minute more. I just want to be with my family for ever.

  • Fernando

    Reply

    Hi, i am really thankful for you words, i am 26 and i think i am a failure you see, i am your everyday looser, although i did finish college, i suck at relationships, i fail in every job, and i am the worst of my brothers and yet i still think i am going to become wealthy and have a nice life because that’s my biggest dream…still unemployed and still no plans but you gave me courage my friend.

  • Ayushi Saxena

    Reply

    Hey toni,

    I feel exactly the same . I don’t know should i be happy or upset i got a new job planning to move but still feel scared m i taking right step i feel I don’t want to get into worst leaving something good.. sometimes fear of losing my boyfriend with this job change and I really don’t know how to calm myself.

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