Life Lessons in Fear Fighting Mindfulness

I Have a Hangover.

I love this title because luckily I’m not sitting on the couch, curled in a ball with a tall glass of OJ and an Aspirin.

I have a different kind of hangover.

An expectation hangover doesn’t begin with any Cranberry Vodkas and Champagne. It begins with tiny seed thoughts planted into your mind.

I first read about this concept in one of my favorite books, The Twenty-Something Manifesto.

It’s when you live your entire life thinking you need to follow a certain path because, well, it’s what everyone else is doing.

And then one day it hits you. These aren’t your expectations! This isn’t what you wanted at all. Yet here you are, basking in them, finally having that college degree/house/job you THOUGHT you always wanted, somehow feeling a pit of emptiness lingering.


It hurts. It’s confusing, and your head is spinning with possibility. If this wasn’t your path, what is? You think, “How can I be (insert age here) and still not have it figured out?”

You stumble on this hangover, so you try explaining it to a friend.

“I think I’m meant to do something more with my life. I think there’s something else out there for me.”

She squints at you as if you’ve just grown an additional head, but manages to spurt out something kind-hearted. “Well, what is it you want to do?”

“Um. I’m not sure exactly. Maybe something with children, or writing. Or maybe lobbying? Maybe a non-profit. Yeah. You’re right. This is weird. I have no idea what I’m saying. Nevermind.”

I’ve been lost in this expectation hangover for a while now, but The Universe has given me an amazing gift.

The Universe has connected me with new friends, old friends, and random acquaintances who aren’t following those rules. I’m meeting people like me who understand exactly what I mean when I say everyday life isn’t for me.

Tonight, through a series of coincidences, I reconnected with a friend from High School who recently spent 6 months in Africa. She and I sat in the booth of my local coffee shop, something I’ve done every day since I was in the tenth grade.

Here I was, in that same booth, listening to her tell stories of a place and an experience I couldn’t begin to visualize.

Surrounded by my comforts, I suddenly felt the thrill of the same possibility that terrified me before.

I told her about my expectation hangover, and her eyes said she knew what I was talking about.

She followed with one piece of advice.

Jump into something you love, do it with passion, and wherever that takes you is where you should be.


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